The State of Illinois has laid down a number of requirements that counselors must fulfill before they can be licensed to practice. Illinois counseling licensure has two levels. These are the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). You will initially earn the first status (LPC) upon meeting educational and exam requirements, and LCPC status upon accruing hours of supervised experience and passing a supplementary examination.
Obtaining Illinois LPC status permits you to practice
as a professional counselor in Illinois, while LCPC license will allow you to practice as a clinical professional counselor in private practice.
The following are the steps that you’ll need to fulfill to qualify for the two levels of Illinois counseling licensure.
- Earn the required graduate degree (Master of Counseling) through an accredited program
- Pass National Counselor Exam through the National Board of Certified Counselors
- Apply to the state’s department of Financial and Professional Regulation for the first level of licensing (LPC)
- Earn the required hours of work under supervision
- Take the second exam (National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination) also administered through NBCC.
- Apply for the second license – LCPC from the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Educational Requirements for Illinois Counseling Licensure
The following are the educational requirements that you must fulfill before you can become a licensed counselor in Illinois:
As the first step, you’ll need to earn a Master’s degree in counseling, although a doctoral in counseling or similar field will also work for you. While the State of Illinois doesn’t necessarily require potential licensees to have earned degrees from programs of specific accreditation, it will make it much simpler to go through the process if you do. You will for instance be considered to have fulfilled curricular requirements. if you have earned a degree from a program that is CORE or CACREP accredited.
You’ll be required to have studied each of the courses from the following content areas:
- Counseling theories.
- Research and evaluation
- Counseling techniques
- Human growth and development
- Individual appraisal
- Family dynamics
- Social and cultural dynamics
- Group dynamics, processing and counseling
- Professional responsibilities ethical responsibilities & legal responsibilities
- Social, cultural foundations
- Maladaptive behavior, psychiatric illness
- Substance abuse
You’ll also be required to complete internship or practicum.
Workshops, individually designed studies or independent courses may not be used to fulfill core requirements.
In case of deficiency in any of the content areas listed above, you may still meet the requirement by pursuing other graduate level studies.
Examination Requirements for Illinois LPC Licensure
You’ll be required to take and pass a national examination before you can qualify for Illinois LPC credentials. The state of Illinois uses National Counselor Examination as administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
To take your exam online, you’ll have to be approved by the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. You can access the required application forms here. Once approved, the NBCC will send you the exam registration form.
How to Apply for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Credential
You’ll have to apply for licensing from the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The application form can be downloaded from the board’s website here.
Required Supervised Experience for LCPC
Before you can proceed to apply for LCPC credential, you’ll need to accrue hours of supervised experience. The required duration for this is two years, which is equivalent to 960 hours per year of one on one supervised practice within a period of 48 weeks.
It is required that a supervisor under whom supervised practice is earned be a licensed clinical counselor, psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker or clinical psychologist.
Each week, during your supervised practice, your supervisor is obligated to have a face to face meet up with you for at least one hour to assess your progress. The assessment must at least be satisfactory.
Exam Requirements for LCPC Status
The process for taking the exam for LCPC credential is not different from that of LPC. The exam for LCPC is also administered by the NBCC. However, the appropriate test for this status is the National Clinical Mental Health Examination. Other examinations that may also be up to standard include Examination of Clinical Counselor Practice and Certificate Rehabilitation Counselor Exam.
How to Apply for Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) Credential
To apply for this second level of Illinois counseling licensure, you would have to fill out on paper or online application. Additionally you’ll need to send your transcripts with school seal, verification of experience or employment and proof of certification.
Other documentations that may also be required include verification of a license that you may have held anywhere else and academic criteria documentation should your school not have been accredited by any of the approved agencies. You may also be required to send verification of education, approved by school official.