When you sit for the licensing examination, the testing is divided between a written section and a hands-on portion of the LPC examination. You will be asked a series of multiple-choice questions on the key issues from the basic human psyche to the specific counseling issues. All licensed counselors need to be Board Certified in order to practice in any state in the United States. Each state assigns a LPCA title to each individual counselor.
To become licensed, a licensed counselor must attain at least a bachelor’s degree and at least five years experience working as a licensed therapist. Most states require a minimum of two years of training as a licensed therapist before the license can be renewed. Some states allow for further training after the license has been renewed but do not require it. In order to practice in any state in the United States, a licensed counselor must complete a minimum of six hours of continuing education training each year. This training helps to ensure continuing education and make counselors more knowledgeable about the current issues facing their clients.
As part of the training, a Licensed Professional Counselor must take a comprehensive written examination. The written examination covers all of the areas of counseling that are relevant to practicing in a state. For example, if you are working in a child welfare setting and you are a Licensed Professional Counselor you will be required to show that you have knowledge of social services, parenting, elder law, or any other area specific to the state in which he or she practices. Once you have successfully completed the written portion of the certification exam, you will need to take an oral section in which you will be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of clientele, communication skills, ethics, reliability, and professionalism. Once again, if you fail the oral section you will need to take the entire course again.
After successfully completing the initial training phase, a Licensed Professional Counselor must continue to take continuing education courses to keep his or her certificate current. Each state has its own licensing requirements, which vary from state to state. Once a Licensed Professional Counselor has successfully completed the required number of hours of continuing education he or she will need to sit for an oral board examination administered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). If a Licensed Professional Counselor fails the examination, he or she will need to reapply.
In most states, once a Licensed Professional Counselor has successfully obtained the certification, he or she is automatically certified. However, there are still a number of states in which the Licensed Professional Counselor must reapply for certification every two years. Each time he or she applies, he or she must first complete the state required continuing education requirements. When the Licensed Professional Counselor attends the board meeting, he or she will need to re-certify in order to maintain his or her certification status.
Each state uses different standards for the licensing of Licensed Professional Counselors. Some states require that Licensed Professional Counselors have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, while other states only require a master’s degree in psychology. The number of years a Licensed Professional Counselor must spend in college is also different between states. In some states, Licensed Professional Counselors can apply to have their licenses suspended while they are on active duty with the military. While a Licensed Professional Counselor is on active duty, he or she may be able to petition to have his license taken off.
If you are interested in becoming a licensed professional counselor, you will want to take the licensing exam as soon as you can. You should also keep in mind that it may be a long time before you become a licensed counselor. Many people never get to be licensed. If you are interested in helping people make better decisions or handle their financial affairs, you should consider becoming a licensed professional counselor.