Becoming a Counselor in Idaho

Idaho licenses professional counselors who provide therapeutic services. These individuals are known as Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors depending on their experience and the exams they have passed.

There is a separate credentialing process for school counselors. Both these professions are credentialed at the graduate level. This means that if you’re interested in counseling, you won't have to make many of your professional decisions until well into your academic career. You can take steps early, though, to make yourself a more competitive candidate.

CACREP Accredited Online Master's in Counseling Programs:

learning tree

If you are a High School Student or High School Graduate in Idaho

Step 1:

You may select any major at the undergraduate level. You will be evaluated later on a combination of factors, including your grades and commitment to the profession. Check out undergraduate counseling related program details.

An undergraduate degree in Psychology is a common route for students interested in later pursuing graduate studies in counseling.

Step 2:

Work and volunteer experiences can help you determine where your interests lay and also strengthen your application. Some paid positions at the technician level do favor candidates with degrees in human service fields. Examples would be substance abuse positions like youth specialist at Idaho Youth Ranch.

If you have a Bachelor’s Degree

Step 1:

Research programs well in advance to determine what steps you need to take to make yourself competitive. Some programs require the MAT or GRE. You can also expect to submit references. Find more specifics about LPC requirements in Idaho here.

Step 2:

If you are interested in professional counseling, you should enroll in a master's program that is “primarily counseling in nature”. It should be accredited by CACREP or CORE and/or meet Idaho's specific coursework requirements. It should include at least 60 semester hours of coursework. If you are in a CACREP-accredited program, you may take your first licensing exam when you’re in the final months of your program.

If you are interested in school counseling, you should enroll in a master's program that has been approved by Idaho or the board of another state. It must include at least 700 hours of total supervised experience, with at least 75% in a school setting. You must have experience with elementary, middle, and high school students.

There are 60 unit school counseling programs that simultaneously prepare you for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Step 3:

Begin the paperwork process. If you are working toward a professional counseling license, you will be licensed as an intern. There will be very specific requirements for the supervision you receive while working toward higher levels of licensing. You will download forms from the Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors.

If you are seeking school counseling credentialing only, you will apply for your initial certificate. There will be requirements you’ll need to meet to renew your license. However, you will not be subject to the same types of supervision requirements. You will need to get an institutional recommendation before you can be licensed through the State Department of Education.

Step 4:

Before you can be licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor, you will need to complete 1,000 hours of supervised practice. The board will consider your supervisor's recommendation when making licensing decisions. You will also need to take the National Counselor Examination. You are expected to provide the appropriate documentation and receive this designation before becoming a Clinical Professional Counselor.

Step 5:

Before you can progress to the level of Clinical Professional Counselor, you will need 2,000 hours of supervised practice. You will also need to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (administered by the NBCC). While the NCE is a general counseling exam, the NCMHCE focuses more on the skills needed by mental health counselors.

If you have a School Social Work Credential in Idaho

You may work as a counselor in Idaho's schools under your school social work credential.

Idaho Counselor Credentialing Agencies

Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors

Idaho State Department of Education

A Sample of Schools Offering Bachelor's and Master's Programs

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