Counseling professionals who wish to practice in North Carolina must have an active license. The state has a three tiered level of licensing for counselors, which include Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensing Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPCS). The following are the North Carolina counseling licensure requirements.
Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA)
The LPCA is a restricted license and pre-requisite for LPC issued to graduates or persons who are new to counseling profession. To be issued with LPCA, you must have completed all requirements, such as applicable education and exams, background check, verification of graduate counseling experience and professional disclosure statement as well as disclosure for supervision arrangements. You won’t be able to practice until the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (NCBLPC) has your approved supervision contract on file.
North Carolina Counseling Licensure Requirements for LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) is a credential for individuals who have supervised professional counseling experience. The license is issued to applicants who meet all requirements, including education, exams, criminal background check and proof of supervised experience.
Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPCS)
This license is issued to a practicing counseling professional holding an active LPC license and has the board’s approval to provide clinical supervision. To apply for this license, you must meet all the requirements, such as affirmations of holding an unrestricted LPC license issued by NCBLPC, background check, professional counseling experience and additional education specific to clinical supervision as well as professional disclosure statement for supervision.
Application Requirements for North Carolina LPC
Application to all the three levels of North Carolina counseling licensure requires that candidates have attained a master’s level education or higher. You must certify the board that you have attained three semester hours or five quarter hours in each of these content areas: –
- Relationships in Counseling
- Assessment in counseling
- Research methods and program evaluation
- Professional orientation to counseling
- Human growth and development theories
- Group Counseling
- Career and lifestyle development
- Social and cultural foundations
- Supervised experience
Examination Requirements for North Carolina LPC
There are three options for national exams. These include:
- National Counselor Exam (NCE) – a general certifying exam provided through the National Board for Certified Counselors
- National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam – a specialty test for mental health counselors administered through the National Board of Certified Counselors
- Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.
An additional test covering the law and ethical codes governing the LPC is required before you can assume the new status. You must not fail the jurisprudence exam. However, you’ll be allowed to retake the test severally until you score a pass. You should take the exam within six months of when your application is received. You will need to print out a certificate, which must be included in the application or renewals.
Supervised Professional Practice
North Carolina Counseling Licensure requires that candidates do undertake supervised professional practice of 3000 hours. These must be accrued under a qualified clinical supervisor approved by the board.
From the above indicated hours, 2000 must be accrued through direct counseling, that is, by way of live sessions with individuals, groups or families. While the board has provided options in regard to how fast you can achieve this requirement, there are certain restrictions that must be observed. For instance, you may accrue a minimum of 8 hours per week but shouldn’t exceed 40.
One hundred (100) hours of your supervised professional experience must be from clinical supervision. Three quarters or at least 75 hours of clinical supervision must be individual. Out of every 40 hours of supervised work experience, you’ll need at least 1 hour of clinical supervision.
In regard to individual clinical supervision, direct or face to face counseling refers to interactive, live and visual sessions, although this can as well be through real time video interaction.
On the other hand, group supervision may not surpass 12 supervisees in each group of face to face scheduled sessions of at least 90 minutes of clinical supervision. This refers to the supervision under a clinical supervisor who has met credentialing requirements as set out by the board.
To be a qualified clinical supervisor, one must be credentialed by the board as a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPCS). Clinical supervisors will have to be independently licensed, whose licensure must not be under supervision.
Your qualified clinical supervisor may also be credentialed as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with an active license or any other mental health professional with equivalent training and qualifications as set out by the board.
To apply for North Carolina counseling licensure, there are essential materials that you’ll need to submit. For LPCA to LPC application, you must have an active LPCA license by the time the board will be reviewing your application.
The following are the items that will be required to submit to apply for North Carolina LPC and LPCS:
At any level of licensing, you’ll be required to submit specific documents. The documentation comprises of general information, verified education transcripts, counseling experience, supervised experience and references. Others include professional disclosure statement, jurisprudence exam, background check and final supervision reports from respective supervisors. However, the required materials may change depending on the level of application.
See detailed information on application requirements and the board’s laws and rules governing LPC practice. The board encourages applicants to submit online application. Although paper applications can still be mailed, the online option is more convenient as it will save you time and postage cost as well as assure you that your application was received.
Apart from the materials that you’ll need to submit to the board through the portal, you’ll also have to arrange with your institution or verifier to directly send your academic transcripts and other official records.
The documents to be sent directly by the institution or verifier include:
- Your official transcripts, emailed from the institution to email@example.com although they can still be issued to you, as long as the board receives them just as they were mailed from the institution or sealed from the registrar.
- Validation of graduate counseling experience
- Final supervision reports if you are applying for LPC
- Verification of Active license in a different state from the licensing agency in the case of LPC by endorsement
- Professional counseling experience in case you are applying for LPCS or LPC by endorsement.
- The board will also require verified copies of NCE or NCMHCE scores from the organization providing the exam.
Application Fee for North Carolina Counseling Licensure
You will be required to pay $238. This amount is inclusive of $38 required to cater for criminal background check.
You can log onto the online portal to check the status of your application from time to time and if necessary provide for the remaining materials. Upon receiving all the materials, the board will schedule you for review in their next meeting. Presenting yourself to the board is however not a guarantee that the board will license you.
Following the initial review, board members will yet carry out another review in the next scheduled meeting and if satisfied that you provided all the required materials, decide on a licensure.
The board’s decision will be sent via mail within 10 to 15 working days. The board advises applicants not to call them after the meeting inquiring about their decision. You can however log on to the portal to check if your license has been issued.
After obtaining North Carolina counseling licensure, you’ll have to update your professional disclosure statement. You’ll need to provide the most up to date copy of the disclosure statement to each of your clients before provision of counseling services. You’ll also be required to keep a copy of the statement bearing the signature of each client you serve.