How to obtain an LPC license in Texas

The boards that govern and decoding the lingo

Anyone interested in becoming a licensed professional counselor (LPC) needs to understand that you must obtain a professional license through your state prior to starting your counseling career. Once you've made the decision to become a professional counselor, you will need information on how to become licensed to practice. Without a license, you will be unable to legally provide counseling services. When your decision is made, you immediately need to research what standards you must meet to gain that license. The following is a general overview of who creates those guidelines and where you start in finding out what you need to know to become a licensed counselor along with the guidelines specific to gaining LPC licensure in Texas.

There are three distinctive bodies that govern credentialing for the counseling profession. These are the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), state boards for professional licensure, and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). These bodies have very different functions for the counseling community that range from education in counseling to national registration.
 
The NBCC

The NBCC is an independent, non-profit organization that was established to monitor national certification systems and maintain a registry of counselors nationwide. The NBCC registers counselors on a voluntary basis on a national level. The goal of this national registry is to allow for greater portability and recognition for counselors who may move their practice to another state. The NBCC also assists and allows for graduating Master's level students to join and educate themselves on credentialing in their state. The NBCC credentials counselors as practitioners and for clinical supervisors and technology-assisted counseling and as career facilitators. The NBCC also maintains a national registry of counselors who have voluntarily credentialed with the board (NBCC, 2009).

Why this matters to you? The NBCC collaborates with your specific state to set the requirements that you must meet for licensure. Also, the NBCC has a goal of making licensure portable so that if you move to a different state, you will be able to more easily obtain a counseling license in that state.

CACREP

The CACREP accredits graduate level educational programs in a variety of counseling competencies from school and vocational counseling to counseling education. Many states require or base requirements for Master's level education on the CACREP standards for institutions. The CACREP reviews educational programs to ensure that they meet specified standards in order to educate competent, ethical, multicultural counselors.

Why this matters to you? You want to seek out graduate programs that are CACREP accredited since states either require that you have completed an approved program or base their guidelines on those of CACREP. Although this may not be a requirement in your state, it's better to be safe than sorry.
 
State Boards

State boards, in contract to the NBCC, set forth guidelines required for and provide licensure for counselors to practice in individual states. Counselors can possess every level of education and experience required by the state to obtain a license, but cannot practice legally until they obtain the license through the state board. The state board decides what education, experience and testing is required and reviews each applicant to ensure that they have met all of these requirements before issuing license. The specific guidelines to obtaining a counseling license in your state can usually be found on the internet on your state's web page or by calling your state directly.

Why this matters to you? Your professional counseling license will be given to you by your state and you must meet their requirements in order for the state to issue it to you. You need to know what these specifically are for your area prior to entering graduate school. Most states have a State Board of Licensing Examiners. This is a good place to start.

The Lone Star State
An example of what you will be required to do.

In the State of Texas, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors is responsible for this task. The State of Texas requires that a counseling professional must meet the following guidelines prior to obtaining a license to practice. The counselor must have completed a Master's or Doctoral degree of at least 48 hours from an accredited college or university. The degree program must have specific coursework in abnormal human development, appraisal or assessment techniques, counseling theory, counseling methods and techniques for individual and group, research, lifestyle and career development, social, cultural and family issues, and professional orientation. They also require that the educational program include a practicum of at least 300 clock hours with 100 hours of direct client contact. After graduation and before an intern license will be issued by the state, counselors must take and pass the National Counselor Exam and Texas Jurisprudence Exam. Once these tests have been taken and passed, an intern license may be issued. Interns then are required to complete 3000 clock hours of internship with 1500 of these hours direct client contact. Supervision for this internship must be through a state licensed clinical supervising counselor. Once these requirements have been met, a license can be issued. The counselor then is required to complete varying levels of continuing education (TDSHS, 2006).

What does that all mean? It means that you must have at least a Master's degree and your degree must have at least 48 semester hours required. You must take classes in all of the areas listed above as part of your degree program. Your school should provide you with 300 clock (real, actual) hours of experience with 100 real hours of that being face to face contact with real clients. Once you graduate, you have to pass a test provided to you by the state. After passing that, you must do an internship (paid or unpaid) under an approved professional counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist and half of those hours have to be accomplished by face to face contact with real clients. You receive an Intern License during those 3000 hours and can practice as long as an approved professional signs off on your work. You can then get your license and be on your own. You'll then have to take CEUs (Continuing Education Units) to maintain your license.

References:

National Board for Certified Counselors (2008). National Board for Certified Counselors. Retrieved February 8, 2009 from www.nbcc.org.

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (2008). Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Retrieved February 8, 2009 from www.cacrep.org.

Texas Department of State Health Services (2006). Texas State Board of Examiners and Professional Counselors, Apply for a New License - Requirements. Retrieved February 8, 2009 from
http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/lpc_apply.shtm.

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Comments 17 comments

Michelle 6 years ago

This is the first webpage that VERY CLEARLY states all the steps and requirements for licensure in the state of Texas!!! Thanks! I don't know why the official TX page can't be this concise and to the point before getting into the nitty gritty!


Michelle 6 years ago

This is the first webpage that VERY CLEARLY states all the steps and requirements for licensure in the state of Texas!!! Thanks! I don't know why the official TX page can't be this concise and to the point before getting into the nitty gritty!


Monique 5 years ago

I must say that this website is very INFORMATIVE and has given me all of the steps and requirements for my licensure in the state of Texas!!! Thank you so much for sharing this information with me!! Now, I know what steps needs to be done in order for me to reach my next goals!!


kg 5 years ago

Thank you. Very helpful. Just getting started on my masters and had some questions that you answered here. Good job.


peggy morgan 5 years ago

Can I get a LPC license with some online classes?


shancontented profile image

shancontented 5 years ago from Someplace, Somewhere Author

yes as long as the school is accredited and it meets the requirements set by the state :)


Mary Martin 4 years ago

Do you know what online schools are accredited?


Ruby Glasser profile image

Ruby Glasser 4 years ago from Wyoming

Very well organized and presented. I didn't even know all of this before I started my MA in counseling... d'ohhh!


Anne C 4 years ago

I just need one clarification. When you state "Supervision for this internship must be through a state licensed clinical supervising counselor" does that mean any state or just the state of Texas. I would like to apply for a post graduate program in NYC, but want to be working on my 3000 hours at the same time and I'm not sure if that is possible. Thank you!


adam 4 years ago

i like how u only briefly glaze over the internship process. in reality, this is the step that is the most frustrating, lawless, ridiculous. i completed a 96 hour Ed.S program and i can't find an internship anywhere. im finding that LPCs in texas don't care to help or advocate for newer counselors coming into the field. its a ridiculous process that may spoil me to the field altogether.


shancontented profile image

shancontented 4 years ago from Someplace, Somewhere Author

Anne... I'm not sure actually. You can contact the state board and ask! Sorry. I wish I knew!

Adam... I guess that's environment. I've had a quite a few professionals here offer and be willing. One good thing to do is get a position or volunteer in a mental health center, hospital, or somewhere in the field and make contacts!


MARTHA 4 years ago

PERFECT! EVERYTHING I NEEDED ANSWERED.

THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO POST THIS INFORMATION.


sophie 4 years ago

what is the process to get a counselor licence . if i already have licence from other country?


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Jenn 4 years ago

I have no idea when this was posted but it is NOT accurate as of 2012. The website that is linked to clearly states you cannot start work after passing the NCE until you get your license, while this site says "you receive your intern license during these 3000 hours". You also cannot get your license until you tell the board where you will be getting your hours from. You are in a horrible situation where no one wants to hire you because you don't have your LPC-I yet, but you can't get your LPC-I until someone agrees to be the site you are getting your hours at.


Greerimuh 3 years ago

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Futamarka 3 years ago

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