Like most states, to become an LPC in Washington you will need to complete graduate school, although the state does offer provisional licensing at lower levels . Similar to other areas of the country, the high you get in terms of licensing the more you are going to be able to do in terms of counseling . The state of Washington allows people to work at various levels in a multitude of work settings. In order to practice privately though, prospective counselors will need to complete graduate school and supervised practice requirements.
Future LPC: For Students in a Washington High School or Washington High School Graduates
In Washington, there is no requirement for which undergraduate degree you must hold. Although, if you are serious about becoming a counselor, you may want to enter a program that is counseling related or in the social sciences. Having a degree closely related to counseling will make you a more viable candidate for graduate programs.
While pursuing an undergraduate education, make sure to gain valuable volunteer experience in a counseling setting. This can be don through you university or on your own.
Start volunteering as early as possible, look to organizations like the Volunteer Centers of Washington for opportunities in the state.
College Graduates: Bachelor’s
When researching graduate programs, be sure to find programs that include internships or practice opportunities that are required by the state Board.
Although the state of Washington does not require counselors to attend a CACREP-accredited university, it still may be in ones best interest to do so, just in case you move to another state where CACREP programs are required by that states Board.
In addition, graduating from one of these programs can shorten your path to licensure.
In Washington, prospective counselors will required AIDS training which is 4 hours of practice. If AIDS training is not offered by your school is important to find a school that meets the state requirements.
Once you’ve graduated from your master’s program you will need to complete 3,000 hours of overseen practice, with 100 of those hours being in direct contact with your counselor. While completing you hours you will be labeled as an Associate.
In order to become a counselor in Washington you will then need to complete either the NCE or NCMHCE to gain full licensing.
School counselors may take the NCE as well, but may be exempt if their program included a comprehensive exam. Those who haven’t taken previous exams will take the Praxis.
Washington Counseling Organizations
Washington State Department of Health – Mental Health Licensing
Washington State Legislature – School Counselor