Counseling Licensure Requirements in Indiana

The counseling field spans a variety of industries, including healthcare and education. Counselors commonly work in office buildings or healthcare facilities, evaluating clients, diagnosing their issues, and developing treatment plans. Common positions include school counselors, marriage and family therapists, and rehabilitation counselors. Counselors in Indiana can earn an average salary of $45,000 in this fulfilling career path.

Indiana requires each counselor to possess a master's degree and an active state license. Read on to learn more about how to become a counselor in Indiana and discover the benefits of this rewarding and lucrative career path.

Counseling Careers in Indiana

Counseling careers in Indiana span a variety of fields, including roles as school or vocational counselors, marriage and family therapists, rehabilitation counselors, substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselors, and mental health counselors. We include career information, such as the primary tasks and common requirements for state licensure for each of the professions below.

How Much Do Counselors Make in Indiana?

The earning potential for counselors varies depending on the field individuals choose. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health counselors in one category. The table below details the median annual salary for the common counseling career paths in Indiana and how they compare to the national median.

Education Requirements for Counselors in Indiana

Education and Coursework

Individuals pursuing a counseling career in Indiana must earn a bachelor's degree in counseling or a related field, such as psychology or social services. To practice as a counselor, each individual must enroll in a master's or doctoral program at an accredited university and apply for Indiana's licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) certification. In addition to completing educational requirements, master's programs typically require a practicum or internship, allowing students to complete clinical hour requirements for licensure.

Individuals pursuing a counseling career in Indiana must earn a bachelor's degree in counseling or a related field

Indiana requires each student earning a graduate degree in counseling to complete a minimum of 48 semester hours or 72 quarter-credits of coursework. At least 60 credits must cover key industry topics such as human development, career development, mental health counseling, group dynamics, individual assessment, and clinical instructions. Each learner must also complete a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Requirements must be met within a four-year period and include 100 hours of face-to-face supervised experience.

A master's program typically requires a practicum or internship, which we cover in more detail in the next section. Once an individual completes all master or doctoral program requirements, they may apply to Indiana's counselor board to sit for the licensure exam and begin practicing as a counselor.

Practicum and Internship

Counseling licensure requires each candidate to complete a practicum or internship, in addition to earning a master's degree. Indiana requires a minimum of 1,000 hours, including a 100-hour practicum and 600 hours in an internship. An additional 300 hours must be completed through an advanced internship or extended practicum.

Online Counseling Programs in Indiana

Convenience and flexibility are among the most important reasons students choose an online master's programs in counseling. For those working full time or juggling childcare or other family responsibilities, distance learning offers an alternative to attending classes at a brick-and-mortar campus.

distance learning offers an alternative to attending classes at a brick-and-mortar campus

Online counseling degrees deliver the same excellent courses as traditional programs and prepare graduates for the same employment opportunities. When selecting a program, keep in mind that many counseling degrees require on-site participation for supervised practicums or internships. Most programs, however, work with their online students to find placements near their homes.

Students interested in online master's programs in Indiana should check with the admissions offices of each school to learn about specific specializations, internships, and residency requirements. Indiana Wesleyan University, based in Marion, provides several distance-learning opportunities for graduate degrees in counseling, including a master's in community counseling, school counseling, mental health counseling, and marriage and family therapy.

Grace College, located in Winona Lake, offers an online master's of arts in clinical mental health. While coursework is delivered almost completely online, each student must attend an annual 7-10 day, on-campus residency in Winona Lake to earn their degree.

How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Indiana

While most states use the LPC license title, Indiana uses the LMHC title. Candidates apply for licensure through Indiana's counselor board, known as the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. Once an individual completes their degree program and clinical hours, they must apply with Indiana's state board to sit for the national mental health counselor examination.

To apply for the exam, individuals must submit official school transcripts and pay the application fee. There is a four-week waiting period for application review. If the board approves the application, students may select a test date and location. If test scores meet Indiana's pass requirements, each candidate must submit documentation of their scores and pass a background check.

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Out of State Counselor Candidates

Transferring from out of state to practice as a counselor in Indiana requires submitting proof of a current active license. Indiana does not grant licensure to out-of-state candidates through reciprocity agreements, but it does allow individuals to earn licensure through an endorsement. This process requires submitting proof of meeting requirements equal to or greater than those in Indiana. Individuals must also submit proof of completing the NCE or equivalent examination.

Individuals from out of state must demonstrate a minimum of three years of active practice. Candidates must also pass Indiana's jurisprudence exam. Indiana allows candidates to apply for temporary licenses while taking part in Indiana's endorsement process. The temporary licenses expire immediately if individuals fail their examinations.

Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Indiana

Counseling licensure must be renewed every two years. To renew, counselors must complete continuing education requirements. Indiana requires a minimum of 20 hours and at least one hour must cover professional ethics. Each candidate must complete the renewal application form, along with an application fee. They must also submit proof of their education hours to Indiana's counselor board for review.

Counseling professionals should use the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency website to remain up to date on current industry standards and best practices. Their site also links professionals to continuing education websites where they may complete coursework and remain compliant with Indiana's regulatory standards.

Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Indiana

  • Indiana Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Annual Conference Membership in this affiliate of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy includes access to training workshops and conferences that offer approved continuing education opportunities. The association's annual conference hosts sessions on ethics, theory, and clinical practice applications for continuing education credit.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness-Indiana Mental health counselors who attend the NAMI-Indiana Conference may obtain continuing education credits as part of their registration fee. This annual conference gathers together a diverse group of policymakers, practitioners, and the general public. The conference themes focus on policies that address mental health stigma and opportunities for recovery for those living with mental illness.
  • Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers This professional trade association represents 25 community-based mental health providers located in each of Indiana's 92 counties. They offer training sessions and webinars throughout the year that are eligible for continuing education credits for licensed mental health counselors. Course topics cover a variety of topics, including Medicaid coverage for addictions, referral procedures, and opioid treatment programs.

Resources and Organizations for Counselors in Indiana

  • Indiana Addiction Issues Coalition This nonprofit organization promotes recovery from addiction and mental illness through advocacy, public education, and service. Its website provides useful statistics on addiction treatment and recovery, in addition to updates on state and federal legislation.
  • Indiana School Counselor Association Data Warehouse School counselors can use this online database for research on school counseling evaluation and accountability. Its downloadable archive includes college and career information, in addition to student surveys that measure academic, career, and citizenships standards.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration The SAMHSA website focuses on public health initiatives that address substance abuse and mental illness. Substance abuse and mental health counselors rely on this resource for current statistics, legislative updates, and information on funding opportunities for practitioners and students.
  • Indiana Family and Social Services Administration This site serves as the state's official portal to information about services and programs available to families throughout Indiana. It provides a resource guide explaining the programs available to residents and how to receive assistance.
  • Indiana Prevention Resource Center Administered by Indiana University's Institute for Research on Addictive Behavior, the IPRC provides data on drug use and community tools for prevention. Aspiring counselors can also access demographic data and risk and protective factor statistics.
  • Mental Health America of Indiana MHAI, established over a century ago, provides mental health information and offers direct services to Indiana residents in need of assistance. It promotes diversity and cultural competence in professional training, programs, and treatment relationships. MHAI publishes a newsletter, sponsors an annual mental health and addiction symposium, and operates a legal service center to represent clients with disabilities.
  • Indiana Association of College Admission Counseling IACAC maintains and improves quality professional standards in the field of college admissions guidance. As an affiliate of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, this association offers membership to Indiana-based counselors working with students to explore opportunities for postsecondary education. IACAC sponsors conferences and maintains a job bank for its members.
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