Becoming a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Arizona offers many career opportunities that help people live healthier, happier lives. Licensed counselors in Arizona need a master's degree, supervised professional counseling experience, and a passing counseling exam score.
This guide goes over the process of how to become a licensed counselor in Arizona. Read on to learn about LPC counseling careers, potential salary ranges, education and experience requirements, and the counseling licensure process in Arizona. We also discuss some online counseling programs in the state.
Counseling Careers in Arizona
Arizona counseling professionals pursue many rewarding career paths. We describe the work of school counselors, marriage and family therapists, rehabilitation counselors, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, and mental health counselors below. Read on to learn more about what counselors do.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage therapists work with couples to create amicable solutions to problems, while family counselors have a broader view on solving familial problems as a whole unit. Marriage and family therapists help their clients learn how to be an effective parent and communicate with family members.Explore Career Information
These counselors work with individuals struggling to overcome mental, developmental, and physical disabilities. Licensed counselors advise clients who struggle to achieve personal, career, and relationship goals.Explore Career Information Explore Arizona Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
Counselors in this field work with patients struggling with a history of substance abuse and behavioral issues. They may work with outpatients or with patients receiving treatment at a live-in treatment center.Explore Career Information Explore Arizona Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counselors help people cope with stress and mental and emotional distress. They offer support, guidance, and counseling in one-on-one and group settings. They treat patients experiencing issues like grief, addiction, depression, and eating disorders. They usually work in hospitals, home healthcare, and mental health clinics.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in Arizona?
LPC salaries in Arizona vary by counseling career. Following national patterns, school, guidance, vocational, and educational counselors tend to make higher median salaries than other types of counselors, while rehabilitation counselors make less than other counselors. Arizona LPCs generally earn lower salaries than the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics combines wage data for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors.
Education Requirements for Counselors in Arizona
This section outlines the education requirements for how to become a counselor in Arizona. The state does not require an undergraduate degree in a specific discipline.
Education and Coursework
To receive an LPC credential, applicants need at least a master's degree with an emphasis in counseling from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or from a Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accredited program. Qualifying master's programs must include 60 semester or 90 quarter credits and a supervised practicum. Applicants must submit official master's transcripts as part of the application process.
To receive an LPC credential, applicants need at least a master's degree with an emphasis in counseling
The Arizona counselor board may accept equivalent master's programs that do not hold accreditation from CACREP or CORE if they meet other conditions. Equivalent programs must cover eight specified core content areas: group work, helping relationships, career development, professional orientation and ethical practice, social and cultural diversity, human growth and development, assessment, and research and program evaluation.
All Arizona-approved master's programs must include a 700-hour supervised counseling practicum with at least 240 hours of direct client contact. Arizona also requires applicants to demonstrate proof of competency by passing the National Board of Certified Counselors National Counselor Examination.
Practicum and Internship
In addition to the 700-hour supervised practicum required as part of a qualified master's program, Arizona also requires LPCs to complete 3,200 hours of post master's supervised work experience over two years. This experience must include 1,600 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of clinical supervision. The work experience must include assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.
Online Counseling Programs in Arizona
The Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners (AZBBHE) accepts online master's and doctorate counseling degrees as part of its educational requirements for LPCs. Online programs must meet all requirements outlined in the section above, but the board does not differentiate between online and in-person counseling programs. Online learners must also meet Arizona's practicum and supervised work experience requirements for LPCs.
Arizona does not offer any online master's in counseling programs
Arizona does not offer any online master's in counseling programs. Students who attend an online program from an out-of-state school apply for counseling licensure as out-of-state counselor candidates. We explain how to become a counselor in Arizona as an out-of-state candidate in the following section.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Arizona
The AZBBHE oversees counseling licensure in the state. Prospective counselors can apply for a licenced associate counselor (LAC) or LPC credential. Counselors can register as LACs while they gain the supervised counseling practice experience necessary to apply for the LPC.
In addition to educational requirements, LPCs must pass one of the following exams: the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination, the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification, or the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam. They must also submit official transcripts, legal residency documentation, and proof of required supervised work experience.
Out-of-State Counselor Candidates
Out-of-state counselors who want to work in Arizona can apply for licensure by endorsement. Applicants must hold an active counseling license in another jurisdiction and must have been at that same practice level for at least three years. Individuals applying for an independent level license, which includes LPCs and licensed marriage and family therapists, need a master's degree in that field. They must also complete the Arizona Statutes/Regulations Tutorial.
Out-of-state applicants who have not been at the same practice level for a minimum of three years can apply for a licence by examination. They must submit education, work experience, and exam scores.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Arizona
The AZBBHE requires LPCs to renew their licenses every two years. LPCs need to complete 30 continuing education hours every renewal period (two years). The required 30 hours must include three hours each of behavioral health ethics/mental health law along with cultural competency and diversity.
LPCs can easily renew their licenses online. Effective January 1, 2018, counselors renewing their licenses must complete the Arizona Statutes/Regulations Tutorial. The renewal fee in Arizona costs $325 for the initial license and $163 for renewal of additional licenses.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Arizona
- @Health Provided online, these continuing education courses are specific programs for both LACs and LPCs in Arizona. All programs are approved by the American Psychological Association. Potential courses include ethics and risk management in counseling, evidence-based interventions for children and adolescents, and cultural competence.
- Arizona Trauma Institute This institute works with companies, organizations, and professionals to provide training in trauma care. Courses teach individuals the best practices for working with trauma victims, with classes and seminars available in person and online. The Arizona Trauma Institute is approved by NBCC to grant continuing education opportunities for licensed counselors.
- CE4Less.com This website offers continuing education opportunities for counselors across the U.S. Classes include therapeutic communities, ethics and boundary issues, and mandatory abuse reporting. CE4Less provides a free verification screening to ensure that a given program is accepted by the Arizona licensing board prior to enrollment in a course.
Resources & Professional Organizations for Counselors in Arizona
- Arizona Children's Association This association provides children access to behavioral health and trauma counseling along with providing family counseling. Counselors and students can take classes and attend seminars specific to working with children, adolescents, and families.
- Arizona Counselors Association Approved by the NBCC, AzCA offers continuing education for counselors. AzCA also provides information regarding licensure and additional certifications to members.
- Arizona State University - Counseling and Psychology ASU offers a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree in counseling. Licensed professionals may also attend networking events sponsored by the psychology department.
- American Counseling Association This nonprofit, educational organization works to expand the counseling profession nationwide. Founded in 1952, ACA represents the largest national counseling association in the world.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association Members of this association can access a broad network of practicing mental health professionals around the country. AMHCA also provides continuing education opportunities, networking, published journals, and discounted private insurance.
- American College Counseling Association ACCA strives to be an inclusive professional base for counseling professionals. Members can access continuing education opportunities, seminars, and networking events. Membership also provides a subscription to the Journal of College Counseling.