This guide provides an informative starting point for research on how to become a counselor in Delaware. You can learn about Delaware's licensing process and requirements for both in-state and out-of-state licensees. This guide also addresses education requirements, including details about internships and practicums. Explore online counseling degree programs that deliver accredited, quality educations and schedule flexibility, often at a lower cost.
Keep reading to explore continuing education opportunities and professional organizations for networking and support. This guide also highlights counseling career paths with corresponding salary data. Consider Delaware's competitive median salaries, which are listed in a later section. Whether you want to learn how to become a mental health counselor or how to become a licensed counselor, use this as your guide.
Counseling Careers in Delaware
In Delaware, counselors learn to better assist individuals and groups in need. They develop programs to guide children, counsel couples and families, and assist those who suffer from substance abuse and behavioral disorders. As they get to know the people in their care, counselors become more effective in guiding on the path to wellness.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
Guidance and vocational counselors help students choose academic and work programs that match their goals and needs. School counselors may also help students with behavioral, mental, and emotional issues that affect their educational or vocational situations. This is an ideal role for those who enjoy working with children.Explore Career Information Explore Delaware School Counselor Certification
Marriage and Family Therapists
These professionals usually practice short-term therapy to help families deal with clinical problems such as anxiety, depression, marital issues, and child-parent conflict. They diagnose and treat emotional and mental disorders in the context of a family or marriage.Explore Career Information
These counselors assist people with mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They diagnose and develop treatment and living plans for disabled individuals with the goal of fostering independence.Explore Career Information Explore Delaware Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
These professionals diagnose and treat individuals who abuse alcohol or drugs or who exhibit a behavioral disorder, such as an eating disorder. They hold special training in co-occurring behavioral and substance abuse problems.Explore Career Information Explore Delaware Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
Mental Health Counselors
These counselors treat individual patients, families, and groups from distinct populations, such as the elderly, young adults, or children. They routinely see patients in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private practices, and schools as part of their treatment. Mental health counselors get to know their patients, helping them overcome the challenges that affect their emotional wellness.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in Delaware?
Salary data assists in determining which counseling career in Delaware is the best choice for licensure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) combines career information — including wage data — for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors. The table below compares counselor salaries in Delaware and the United States.
Education Requirements for Counselors in Delaware
Education and Coursework
Delaware requires a master's degree in clinical mental health from a regionally accredited institution. A bachelor's degree is the standard prerequisite for master's degree programs. The state accepts accredited degree programs, with mental health counseling and rehabilitation counseling as acceptable degrees. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is an established counseling program accreditor. Graduates from CACREP-accredited programs can take the National Counselor Examination (NCE), which is a state requirement.
Delaware requires a master's degree in clinical mental health from a regionally accredited institution.
Coursework documentation is required only if the awarding institution is not regionally accredited or the master's degree is not in clinical mental health and rehabilitation counseling. Coursework typically totals 60 credit hours. Delaware does not require additional competency or completion of specific courses. The appropriate master's degree program covers essential counseling courses, including internships and practicums.
Practicum and Internship
Internships and practicums are required beyond master's degree coursework. Internships typically total 600 hours of supervised experience and practicums total 100 hours. Students can fulfill the 100-hour practicum requirement in 6-8 hours per week over two semesters. Students gain experience and develop their skills working with clients in practicum clinics, agencies, or school settings.
Online Counseling Programs in Delaware
Prospective counselors in the state can enroll in a variety of different online counseling programs. Although the state does not host its own online counseling programs, residents can enroll in numerous programs appropriate for Delaware counseling licensure in nearby states. Many of these programs also work for students wondering how to become a therapist in Delaware.
Earning your degree online provides increased flexibility and more control over your schedule
Some online counseling programs to consider include the rehabilitation counseling program at George Washington University, the counseling for mental health and wellness master's at New York University, and the master's in rehabilitation counseling at Rutgers University. The fully online Walden University offers a degree in clinical mental health counseling, with specializations in addiction counseling, career counseling, forensic counseling, trauma and crisis counseling, and military families and culture.
One of the benefits of enrolling in an online program includes affordability. Many online schools charge in-state and out-of-state residents the same tuition rate. You can also save money on parking, commuting, and on-campus housing costs. Earning your degree online also provides increased flexibility and more control over your schedule. As long as you meet your instructor's deadlines, you can complete your coursework whenever convenient. This increased flexibility allows students to attend school while keeping work and family commitments.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Delaware
The Board of Professional Counselors of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals licenses counselors in Delaware. The state requires additional documentation and hours beyond education. Becoming a licensed professional counselor requires completion of a notarized application, which includes a non-refundable processing fee. Licensees must also undergo criminal background checks.
Delaware requires a passing score on the NCE or National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination in addition to 3,200 hours of supervised mental health counseling earned consecutively in 2-4 years. Post-master's credits totaling 30 hours substitute for as many as 1,600 hours of the 3,200-hour requirement. Learners submit counseling experience documentation through verification forms. The board receives a transcript articulating a master’s in clinical mental health.
Out-of-State Counselor Candidates
Out-of-state candidates currently licensed in good standing can apply for counselor licensing in Delaware by reciprocity. The state licenses candidates by reciprocity if they are licensed for a minimum of five years in a single jurisdiction. Candidates with less than five years must submit documentation of the licensing standards from their current jurisdiction. The Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals reviews these standards and, if they are substantially like Delaware's standards, licenses the candidate.
Delaware does not accept endorsements, and testing requirements are met with the candidate's out-of-state license. Out-of-state jurisdictions include the District of Columbia and United States territories.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Delaware
Counselor licenses expire on September 30 of even-numbered years in Delaware. The state sends renewal notices via email weeks before the expiration date. Individuals may renew online with a credit card. Failure to renew by the expiration date causes the license to lapse. Late applications are accepted for up to one year and include a late fee. The license terminates after the one-year mark.
Delaware requires 40 continuing education (CE) hours, earned in the two-year period between license renewals. CE hours are prorated for the first renewal according to the initial licensing date.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Delaware
- Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Training and Development Opportunities An NBCC-approved continuing education provider, DSAMH offers a variety of continuing education workshops throughout the year. Counselors can register for courses online. Continuing education classes cover topics such as mental health, first aid, suicide prevention, and cognitive behavioral therapy for personality disorders.
- Delaware Guidance Services for Children and Youth, Inc. DGS delivers numerous NBCC-approved continuing education opportunities. A two-year advanced clinical training program for Delaware therapists is one offering. Counselors learn about relevant current topics in counseling, including family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, suicide assessment and treatment, and evidence-based therapies.
- Wilmington University - Division of Behavioral Science Counselors can take NBCC-approved counseling courses and workshops for continuing education credit at WU. The school's clinical mental health and elementary and secondary school counseling programs provide numerous opportunities for professional counselors to continue their educations. Practitioners can earn post-master's certificates in mental health counseling and child and family counseling.
Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in Delaware
- Mental Health Association in Delaware MHA promotes mental health wellness for individuals and families, focusing on education, advocacy, and support. It offers support groups, an annual conference, educational materials, newsletters, and suicide prevention assistance.
- Delaware Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals Counselors can find the rules and regulations for becoming a licensed practitioner in Delaware through the board. Information available includes a fee schedule for different types of licenses, forms, and supervision guidelines.
- Delaware 2-1-1 The online guide to human services in Delaware, counselors can reference this website to connect patients with other services or to make referrals. Individuals can access resources for housing assistance, substance abuse, legal help, and mental health.
- Therapists in Delaware Psychology Today maintains a guide to therapists in Delaware, with information about their specialties and contact information. Counselors can pursue networking opportunities or refer patients.