Idaho offers multiple levels of registration and licensing for mental health counselors. When you earn your education in Idaho, you begin your career as a registered counselor intern to obtain the necessary supervised practice hours. After accumulating experience and passing the required examinations, you can become a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and then a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC).
Counseling Careers in Idaho
Idaho boasts many career opportunities available for licensed counselors. The Boise City area employs over 600 educational and school counselors, slightly above the national average. Idaho City shows an above average concentration of marriage and family therapists, while Idaho state boasts the highest concentration of rehabilitation counselors in the country. Many substance abuse and behavioral counselor jobs exist within the state as well, with Idaho counselors in that field earning salaries above the national average.
- Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: Close to 300,000 school and career counselors held employment in the U.S. in 2016, with 44% of professionals employed by elementary and secondary schools. These counselors help individuals create a plan to achieve career and academic goals.
- Marriage and Family Therapists: Growing quickly, this field expects close to 10,000 more marriage and family therapist jobs by 2026. These therapists treat clients through a family-centered perspective.
- Rehabilitation Counselors: These counselors help clients get medical and career-training services and develop client treatment plans with the help of doctors and therapists. Rehabilitation counselors require compassion and strong communication and interpersonal skills.
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: This field expects more than 60,000 additional jobs by 2026, with demand increasing as more states require drug offenders to seek treatment. Over 35% of these counselors work in outpatient substance abuse and mental health centers and individual and family services.
- Counselors, All Other: The industries employing the highest concentration of these counselors include community housing, emergency, and relief services; residential care facilities; and individual and family services. Across the U.S., these counselors earn an average annual salary of $47,600.
|Occupation||Average Salary in Idaho|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$41,660|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$51,760|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$49,670|
Education Requirements for Counselors
To obtain licensure as an LPC by the Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, you need a master's or doctoral degree. A graduate level educational specialist degree is also acceptable. Your board-approved program should hold CACREP accreditation and must include 60 graduate semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of coursework. The program should include a graduate-level practicum and coursework in each of the following areas:
- Cultural and social foundations
- Human growth and development
- Helping relationships
- Career and lifestyle development
- Individual appraisal
- Research and evaluation
- Professional orientation
You will also complete six semester hours of practicum. If you need more classes to meet educational counseling requirements in Idaho, you can make them up by enrolling in an accredited institution.
Counselor Intern Status in Idaho
Upon graduation, you will apply for counselor intern status. This involves filling out an application, attaching a recent passport photo, including a transcript with your degree information, and enclosing the $25 fee. The application packet also includes an affidavit that your supervisor must sign.
You can work under counselor intern status for a maximum of four years.
Online Counseling Programs in Idaho
Online degrees make a great option for students seeking program flexibility. Online courses may require students to log in at certain times during the week, but students can attend class from anywhere in the world. Other programs with asynchronous courses allow students to complete their coursework at their own convenience. Prospective Idaho counselors who need to maintain their work schedule may prefer distance programs. While most counseling degrees require students to complete internships or other supervised training, students can often complete these counselor requirements in their home city rather than traveling to campus.
The University of Idaho offers a master's in rehabilitation counseling and human services. In this hybrid format, students must visit campus for class in addition to taking courses online. Neighboring states also boast several educational options. Oregon State's Ecampus offers a master's in clinical mental health counseling or school counseling, both hybrid programs that require students to come to the Salem campus twice per term.
Prospective students should always ensure that an online counseling program accepts Idaho students and meets state licensure requirements.
How Do You Become a Counselor in Idaho?
You may apply as a licensed professional counselor or a licensed clinical professional counselor using the Idaho State Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists Application for Professional Licensure. Fill out the application, attach a passport photo, and include application and licensing fees.
Several different professional Idaho counseling licensure options exist. All applicants must pay the application and licensing fee for their specific type of licensure with the application. Board members review all applications at one of three board meetings during the year, so send materials at least seven days prior to the board meetings in February, May, and July. Counselors holding licensure from another state for more than five years can apply for Idaho licensure by endorsement. Licensed counselors must renew their license every year.
|Licensed Professional Counselor||$75|
|Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor||$75|
|Licensed Professional Counselor Renewal||$100|
|Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Renewal||$100|
|Duplicate or Replacement License||$10|
|Written License Verification||$10|
The Licensing Exam
Before achieving LPC status in Idaho, you must take and pass the National Counselor Examination through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Exams take place Monday through Friday the first two to three weeks of the month. Some locations offer Saturday hours.
Send the original signed application, a $275 fee, and an official transcript that shows that you hold a master's degree in a counseling-related field. You should also send verification of any name changes that differ from that on your transcript.
LPC Supervised Practice Requirement
To practice as an Idaho LPC, you will need 1,000 hours of supervised experience. This may come from graduate-level internships and/or work experience. If you accumulate supervision through a school internship, you need at least an hour of face-to-face supervision or consultation for every 10 hours of internship. If you accumulate experience in a work setting, you need at least one hour of supervision or consultation for every 20 hours.
Your supervisor may work as a counseling faculty member, LPC, LCPC, or marriage and family therapist. Supervisors should register with the board. The board will consider supervisor recommendation in determining acceptability of your experience. Of the 1,000 required hours, 400 must involve direct contact with clients.
Out of State Candidates - LPC Requirements
As an out-of-state or foreign applicant, you can obtain licensure by endorsement. You will need to hold a license in good standing from another municipality and verify a clean record during the previous five years. You need a clear background check that displays evidence of good character.
Generally, you must show proof of active practice during the five years before you sought licensure in Idaho. If you can document extenuating circumstances or hardship, you may be excused from the active practice requirement during a portion of the preceding five years.
You will either show qualifications from Category II of the American Association of State Counseling Boards credentialing registry or documentation that you completed at least three of the following during the preceding five years:
- Completing at least 1,000 hours of direct client contact
- Serving as an officer of a state or national counseling organization (or assuming a leadership role in an organization approved by the board)
- Teaching three graduate level courses
- Earning a certificate to supervise
- Supervising at least three people seeking licensure for a minimum of 12 months
- Maintaining liability insurance with no claims over the five year period
- Obtaining an additional graduate degree in a related field
- Holding certification by an approved national counseling certification organization
- Doing at least 100 continuing education hours during the five year period
When applying for licensure by endorsement, you must fill out Addendum 3 of the license application packet.
License Maintenance and Renewal
You must renew your Idaho counseling license every year. To do this, you need 20 contact hours (at least three in ethics) of continuing education each year, whether you hold LPC or LCPC status. If you earn more than the required amount of continuing education hours, you can carry up to five into the next term. Under certain circumstances, you can exclude continuing education requirements by requesting an exemption.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Idaho
- State Avenue Wellness: State Avenue Wellness in Meridian, Idaho, provides counseling, massage therapy, and nutrition consultations. An approved continuing education provider, State Avenue Wellness offers classes on topics like ethical perspectives and powerful therapy interventions. Counselors can receive a discount by registering for more than one class at a time.
- Idaho Psychological Association: IPA seeks to improve Idaho by advancing psychology across the state. The organization provides educational opportunities, including conferences, meetings, workshops, and conventions several times per year in different parts of the state. Continuing education topics include borderline personality disorder, chronic pain, and ethics and risk management.
- At Health: Approved by the Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors, At Health offers more than 125 online classes on topics including ADHD, anger management, ethical considerations, and grief. This organization provides online continuing education for mental health professionals, and licensed Idaho counselors can earn up to 10 hours of their required credits through online learning.
Resources for Counselors
- Idaho Department of Health and Welfare: Working to promote the health of all state residents, this department offers mental health information and biennial conferences on topics related to early childhood learning. Mental health professionals may choose a specific conference track for child mental health.
- State of Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses: This bureau regulates many Idaho professions and licenses professional counselors and clinical counselors. Prospective counselors can read about licensure laws, the application process, and approved continuing education providers.
- Idaho Behavioral Health (IBH): IBH offers counseling and behavioral health services, including case management, psychological testing, and play therapy. IBH also provides links to state resources and training programs.
- College of Western Idaho Mental Health Information: CWI provides information on mental health issues pertinent to college students, including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Students can access mental health screening tools and links to online resources.
- Metamorphosis Counseling Center of Idaho: In addition to offering family, couples, and individual counseling, this Boise counseling center links to online mental health resources related to topics like addiction, depression, and suicide awareness.
Professional Organizations for Counselors
- Idaho Counseling Association: A branch of the American Counseling Association, this organization works to improve human development and promote the counseling profession in Idaho. Divisions relate to specific counselor areas, such as school counseling, mental health counseling, and marriage and family counseling. The organization sponsors an annual conference and offers different membership levels.
- Idaho Mental Health Counselors Association: A division of the Idaho Counseling Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association, IMHCA serves the needs of mental health counselors. Membership benefits include leadership opportunities, networking events, and professional development. Graduate student members can take advantage of mentoring and scholarship opportunities.
- Idaho School Counselor Association: Advocating for school counselors in Idaho, ISCA provides job listings, scholarships, counselor resources, and an annual conference. Members receive access to the ISCA newsletter, professional development events, conversations with association leadership, and special membership rates for students.