School counselors help students develop their career trajectories, plan for graduation, and identify issues affecting academic performance. Counselors must possess a graduate degree in counseling, typically a master's, and attain a state-issued license to practice. In Delaware, licensed and practicing counselors earn the Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health (LPCMH) credential. Similar to other states, Delaware also offers the Licensed Associate Counselor of Mental Health (LACMH) credential, which enables a candidate to gain experience to apply for licensure as an LPCMH. The following guide provides further information on the education, examination, and licensing requirements to become a practicing school counselor in Delaware.
Counseling License and Career Requirements in DelawareExplore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Delaware here
Education and Experience Requirements
School counselors follow a clear educational and experience trajectory to become licensed in Delaware. The section below contains information about the coursework requirements, types of degrees necessary, and national competency exams for school counselors.
Education and Coursework
Most school counselors obtain a bachelor's degree before entering their master's programs, as required by state licensure procedures. Undergraduate majors applicable to a career in counseling include social science disciplines such as psychology, sociology, social work, and behavioral health. These programs typically require 120-136 credits and take four years to complete. Some programs also require mandatory internships or other experiential learning.
Upon graduating with a bachelor's degree, prospective school counselors should apply to a master's in counseling or clinical mental health program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Delaware licensure requires LPCMH applicants to complete at least 60 semester hours of graduate coursework in mental health counseling. Applicants with coursework from a discipline other than mental health counseling can complete an evaluation of coursework with the Delaware state licensing body.Some counselors choose to specialize further and obtain a doctorate or other advanced degree. Those with 30 credits of post-master's coursework may apply these credits toward their post-master's supervised experience hours. Delaware also requires proof of competency through an examination. All accredited counseling programs should prepare students to sit for the National Counselor Exam (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).
Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:
Practicum and Internship
Delaware requires licensed counselors to complete 3,200 hours of post-master's supervised mental health counseling experience, 1,600 hours of which should be conducted under the direct supervision of a board-approved clinical supervisor. Counselors must complete these hours in no less than two years and no more than four years.
Application and Exam Requirements for Delaware School Counselors
The state licensing board in Delaware is the Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals. The board maintains standards of competency in the counseling professions and upholds state regulations for licensing and practice. Aspiring counselors should apply directly to this licensing body for their LACMH or LPCMH licenses.
To apply for licensure, candidates must submit verification of their degree in counseling, their post-master's supervised experience in mental health counseling, and their exam scores
Beyond education, licensure requires prospective counselors to pass the NCE or NCMHCE and complete 3,200 hours of supervised mental health counseling experience. Candidates with 30 or more credits of post-master's coursework in counseling may substitute these credits for up to 1,600 of the required supervised experience hours, with no further documentation of post-master's mental health counseling experience required. In other words, doctoral students in counseling may apply for the LPCMH licensure directly upon graduating and passing the NCE or NCMHCE.
Master's-level graduates, on the other hand, are eligible to apply for a LACMH to practice under the supervision of a board approved supervisor and meet the necessary requirements to be certified as an LPCMH. To apply for licensure, candidates must submit verification of their degree in counseling, their post-master's supervised experience in mental health counseling, and their exam scores to the board.
Out-of-State School Counselor Candidates
Counselors who hold an active license to practice in another state can apply for reciprocity in Delaware. Candidates who have maintained a license for at least five years in one jurisdiction do not need additional documentation. Those who have been licensed for less than five years in previous jurisdictions should submit their state's laws and regulations to the board for comparison. If comparable regulations exist in the state of origin, candidates qualify for reciprocity. If not, counselors may apply for a LACMH and attain full licensure after completing the counseling and supervision requirements in Delaware.
School Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements
Professional counselor licenses in Delaware expire every even-numbered year on September 30th. Several weeks before licenses are expected to expire, licensed counselors receive an email notice explaining how to access the online renewal portal. All practicing counselors must complete 40 continuing education hours to qualify for license renewal. Acceptable continuing education credits are those approved by national mental health organizations, such as the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), National Association for Social Work (NASW), American Psychological Association (APA), or similar entities. For additional information on license maintenance and renewal, counselors should consult the Delaware Board's rules and regulations.
Professional counselor licenses in Delaware expire every even-numbered year on September 30th
Resources and Organizations for School Counselors in Delaware
Professional organizations offer a variety of helpful resources for counselors and students pursuing their counseling degrees. These entities provide assistance and information about taking the national exam, licensure requirements, job hunting, and continuing education courses.
- American Counseling Association As a national organization for the advancement of the counseling professional, the ACA offers continuing education credits, career services, conferences, and access to the latest research in the field.
- American College Counseling Association The ACCA consists of mental health professionals who work in higher education settings. Their website features job board postings, webinars, research papers, and information about conferences and events.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association The AMHCA serves students, emerging professionals, practitioners, and educators in the mental health counseling field. They offer career services, continuing education credits, and other resources.
- American School Counselor Association As a national organization, the ASCA supports school counselors in their endeavors to facilitate student success. They provide professional development activities, networking opportunities, career services, and publications.
- Delaware Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals The official Delaware licensing body for counselors and mental health professionals maintains a website with detailed information on licensure requirements, including standards for education, exams, and supervised counseling experience.
- Delaware Psychological Association The DPA advances the profession of psychology and provides professional educational programs. They offer continuing education workshops, annual conventions, and other resources.
- Delaware School Counselor Association As the state branch of the American School Counselor Association, the DSCA offers opportunities to get involved in advocacy, scholarships and fellowships for students, and professional learning resources.
- Mental Health Association in Delaware The MHA in Delaware promotes mental health and provides a variety of advocacy opportunities, conferences, and training activities.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness As a grassroots mental health organization, NAMI provides national conferences, continuing education, and career and recruiting services for those in mental health related fields.