Licensed Professional Counselor Frequently Asked Questions

What education is required to be a licensed professional counselor (LPC)?

Counseling is a career that requires solid academic credentials. Having the right education provides the foundation for a successful career in counseling. A Master’s level education is the requirement for licensure in every state; this allows you to safely and effectively practice as a professional counselor. A Bachelor’s Degree is the prerequisite for a Master’s in Counseling degree program. It is preferable that you study a relevant major such as Psychology, Counseling, or Sociology during your attainment of the Bachelor’s degree.

How long does it take to become a licensed professional counselor?

From the start of your freshman year to the day you obtain your LPC license takes on average 7-10 years to become a licensed professional counselor.

Does it matter which school I go to for licensed professional counseling?

The name of the school you attend is not important while obtaining your license is, but you do want to make sure that your institution was accredited by the CACREP or an equivalent.

Where can I find CACREP-accredited programs?

You can find your perfect CACREP-accredited university right here at!

What if my program was not CACREP certified?

If your program was not CACREP accredited, then it will be determined by your state board if your program met the same requirements. If the board determines your program was not equivalent to a CACREP program, then additional coursework will be required. In some cases, a Master’s-level certificate may need to be earned.

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you. (It’s fast and free!)


How many hours of supervision is a licensed professional counselor required to have?

The number of hours it will take you to achieve LPC status depends on your state and your level of education. Typically, you will be required to complete 1,000 – 3,000 hours of supervision that will be spread out over one to three years. Check your state board requirements by clicking on the map on our home page.

How do I know if my supervisor is approved by the board?

You can go to to check if your counselor is certified by the board. Additionally, according to the LPC board’s website, individuals interested in becoming an LPC-Supervisor must have at least five years of experience practicing mental health counseling; two of the five years must be post-licensure. LPC-Supervisor applicants must submit an updated Declaration of Practices and Procedures, official verification of supervisor training (official transcript or certificate of training), a letter from a colleague or supervisor verifying that practice for at least five years, and a $100 LPC-Supervisor application fee. Additionally, if you wish to list any areas of expertise or specialization on your Declaration of Practices and Procedures and the Board’s website, documentation (e.g., transcripts, certificates, a letter from supervisor) must be submitted for Board review; otherwise, you should refer to these areas as “areas of focus.”

Where do I apply for testing?

Check with your state requirements to find out which examination your state requires, then go to the NBCC website to sign up!

When can I apply for testing?

Once you have completed all your supervision hours and have sent the proper evaluation documents to the board, you may apply for testing.

What does LPC stand for?

LPC stands for Licensed Professional Counselor.

What is the job forecast for licensed professional counselors?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected an 18% employment growth for the counseling profession through 2018.

Where can I find jobs in licensed professional counseling?

You can find counseling jobs in a wide range of specialties on our job page!

How much does a licensed professional counselor earn per year?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average licensed professional counselor in the United States earns between $38,040 and $74,570 per year.

How often will I have to renew my licensed professional counselor license?

Depending on your state, you may be required to complete a certain amount of supervised hours each year. Check with your state’s counselor page on our website for more information!

What does CACREP stand for?

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (an organizational affiliate of ACA that provides professional counselor-training accreditation)

What does CCMHC stand for?

Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (an NBCC professional counseling specialty title; not a required credential)

What does CORE stand for?

Council on Rehabilitation Education (an independent rehabilitation counselor-training accreditation board)

What does CRC stand for?

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (a CRCC professional counseling specialty title; not a required credential)

What does CRCC stand for?

Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (an independent, non-governmental rehabilitation counselor-credentialing board)

What does CRCE stand for?

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination (administered by CRCC for the certification of rehabilitation counselors; also administered by some states for their own credentialing process as an alternative to their clinically oriented exam)

What does NBCC stand for?

National Board for Certified Counselors (an independent, non-governmental professional counselor-credentialing board and an organizational affiliate of ACA)

What does NCE stand for?

National Counselor Examination (administered by NBCC for national certification of professional counselors; also used by most states for their own credentialing process)

What does NCMHCE stand for?

National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (administered by NBCC for national certification of clinical mental health counselors; also used by some states for their own credentialing process)