Becoming a Counselor in Wyoming
The counseling profession has high standards. Mental health counselors and school counselors are licensed in Wyoming. If you become a mental health counselor in Wyoming, you will be licensed by the Mental Health Professions Licensing Board. If you become a school counselor, you may be credentialed by the Professional Teaching Standards Board or the Mental Health Professions Licensing Board – possibly both. (Either will qualify you to work in the Wyoming schools, at least as far as the state is concerned; individual districts, though, may require the school credential.)
CACREP Accredited Online Master's in Counseling Programs:
Capella University offers three online CACREP - accredited Master's programs: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy and School Counseling. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs.
Northwestern's Top-12 Ranked CACREP Accredited Online M.A. in Counseling program offers both full and part time options that allow you to earn a degree on your own schedule. GRE scores are not required for this program. Request information.
The counseling disciplines are very different, but they have something in common: a master’s degree. Here are some tips for getting started on the journey.
If you are a High School Student or have received your Diploma/GED in WY:
You can enroll in any program at the undergraduate level. It's a good idea to have some related coursework on your transcript and to maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. Some graduate programs have prerequisites. If you go into school counseling, at some point, you will need to do coursework in Wyoming Constitution and U.S. Constitution (unless you test out of them). Click Here to read about choosing an undergraduate counseling or related degree program.
You may want a degree in a human service field if you want to get a lot of experience at the technician/ assistant level before enrolling in a grad program. An undergraduate Psychology degree is also common preparation for graduate work in counseling. Wyoming certifies baccalaureate-level workers in several categories, including Mental Health Worker. Be aware that the supervised hours you put in will not count toward your post-master residency requirement. In other words, you won't have a shortened path to licensure. You may, however, be a very attractive candidate in the eyes of graduate admission committees.
If you don't have paid employment in the field, do some volunteering. You can look on the site of Serve Wyoming to see volunteer opportunities. You can search by things like area of interest, activity type, or skill. There are many opportunities to help -- everything from working a crisis line to helping an injured woman get back on horseback. You might participate in service activities through Americorps or Americorps VISTA. You could even earn money for schooling.
For those currently holding a Bachelor’s degree:
If you are interested in school counseling, enroll in a master's program through a regionally accredited institution.
If you are interested in professional counseling, you should look for a program that is accredited by CACREP or CORE (though the Board will accept other degrees that meet equivalent requirements).
It is possible to enroll in a program that will meet the educational requirements for both mental health licensing and school counselor certification.
You will be eligible for licensing as a mental health counselor soon after graduation, but you will have a lower level of licensing: provisional. You won't be able to have a private practice at this stage. You must have a designated supervisor. This person does more than provide oversight. S/he consults with you regularly and maintains records of the type of work that you do and the number of hours you spend. Ultimately, s/he will need to recommend you for licensing as a professional counselor.
You will need to work under supervision for a total of 3,000 hours. You will need to meet Board-specified minimums for direct client contact and direct supervision.
You will also need to pass a licensing exam while you are working under supervision. You may opt for the National Counselor Examination, the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination, or the certification exam given by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.