In West Virginia you can be licensed at any point in your education although most fully licensed counselors hold a Master’s degree. The early you start preparing for you counseling career the more attractive you become as a candidate.
Future LPC: For Students in a West Virigia High School or West Viriginia High School Graduates
When studying as an undergraduate you can study in a variety of subjects as long as you are taking the prerequisite courses for graduate school. Most students looking to become counselors will major in subjects like human services or psychology. While in your undergraduate you will want to maintain a GPA that is above a 3.0 average. Check with potential graduate programs about any courses you will have to take to be admitted.
The state of West Virginia will allow those who have achieved an undergraduate degree to become Mental Health Workers, but the work experience put in to this practice will no go towards you practice requirements for counseling, they will transform you into a better graduate school prospect though.
Volunteer experience can assist you with getting into graduate programs and becoming a licensed counselor. The state has programs like VolunteerWV that assist those looking to help get connected with volunteer opportunities in the mental health field.
College Graduates: Bachelor’s
While researching graduate programs, be sure to start collecting your academic and personal references. Be prepared to take a graduate school entrance exam like the GRE or MAT.
While looking for graduate programs, look for programs with an emphasis in specialities you are interested in, programs such as mental health, pastoral, or addiction counseling. Those looking to become school counselors should look into programs focusing on student counseling. Although school counselors can become LPC’s as well, they only need to be certified by the Department of Education.
The Board would like prospective counselors to complete programs that are CACREP, CORE, or NCATE accredited and contain 60 hours of coursework with field experience.
In addition, make sure that your program has all 12 core areas that are required by the Board to gain full licensing.
While in school, gain as much experience as you can. This can raise your rate of post-graduation exmployment. Try to become a member about organizations such as the West Virginia Counseling Association or West Virginia Licensed Professional Counselors Association.
Once you’ve graduated from your Master’s program, you will need to complete 3,000 hours of overseen practice. Those who have complete there doctoral degree will only need to complete 1,500.
Once your practice requirements are complete you may take the NCE to acquire your LPC license. People looking to become rehabilitation counselors will take that CRC. School Counselors will complete the Praxis.
West Virginia Counseling Organizations:
West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling
Department of Education