Counselors in Louisiana must meet specific education and licensure requirements to work in the state. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health counselors to grow 22% through 2028 — a rate much faster than other occupations. As Louisiana looks to treatment and counseling services for drug offenders instead of jail time, this demand for counselors is only expected to grow.
The guide below outlines important information about becoming a counselor in the state, including education, licensure, and continuing education requirements.
Counseling Careers in Louisiana
Mental health counselors in Louisiana can work in various settings, including schools, mental health centers, and juvenile detention facilities. These work environments have an impact on one's overall salary and opportunities for advancement. The section below explores the various types of counseling careers available in the state.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors typically work with K-12 students to achieve their personal and educational goals. In elementary schools, guidance counselors also work with students' parents and families.Explore Career Information Explore Louisiana School Counselor Certification
Marriage and Family Therapists
These professionals help couples and families solve conflicts and learn better communication skills. Family therapists also work with children in behavioral development, interpersonal communication, and social development.Explore Career Information
Rehabilitation counselors assist clients with developmental disabilities — as well as those with a history of behavioral or mental health disabilities — to achieve personal, relationship, and career goals.Explore Career Information Explore Louisiana Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
These counselors work with patients suffering from behavioral and addiction disorders. Substance abuse counselors may work for the courts, as they often deal with patients recovering from addiction who have been court-ordered to seek counseling.Explore Career Information Explore Louisiana Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counselors provide treatment and support to help clients modify problematic or disruptive behaviors. They typically evaluate a client's mental and physical health, problematic behavior, or addiction, and develop treatment goals and plans with clients and families. Counselors may also refer clients to other services and resources, such as support groups and job placement services.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in Louisiana?
As you review the requirements to become a counselor in Louisiana, note the average salaries for counselors. The table below shows the lowest, highest, and median salaries for different types of mental health counselors in Louisiana and around the country. Note that the BLS combines wages for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors.
Education Requirements for Counselors in Louisiana
Education and Coursework
The first step toward earning the licensed professional counselor (LPC) designation in Louisiana is to earn your degree. Candidates must hold at least a master's degree in a field related to professional mental health counseling from a regionally accredited college or university. While admission applications vary among institutions, you likely need a bachelor's degree to enter a master's program in mental health counseling.
you likely need a bachelor's degree to enter a master's program in mental health counseling
Degree candidates pursuing a master's degree must also complete at least one three-credit course in each of the following eight content areas: counseling and psychotherapy theories of personality; human growth and development; abnormal behavior; techniques of counseling and psychotherapy; group dynamics, processes, and counseling and psychotherapy; lifestyle and career development; appraisal of individuals; and ethics and professional orientation.
Licensure applicants must complete at least a 60-credit graduate degree; those who complete a graduate degree with less than 60 credits may apply courses taken after graduation towards licensure. Aspiring LPCs in Louisiana must also earn a grade of C or higher in all graduate and post-graduate counseling courses, and a grade of A, B, or P in all field experience courses. Aspiring counselors may acquire a provisional license with these same educational credentials.
Practicum and Internship
LPC candidates must complete a practicum and an internship. The 100-hour practicum includes at least 40 hours of direct counseling, while the 600-hour internship involves 240 hours of direct counseling or psychotherapy. Both the internship and practicum also require at least one hour per week of individual supervision, and 1.5 hours per week of group supervision with other students.
Online Counseling Programs in Louisiana
You must first obtain licensure as a counselor intern to become a counselor in Louisiana. As an intern, you must hold a master's degree in counseling or a related field of study, and undergo an initial licensure examination. By completing internship requirements and passing the National Counselor Examination (NCE), individuals can become LPCs and may earn appraisal privileges with additional coursework. Counselors with this title are qualified to perform assessments.
You must first obtain licensure as a counselor intern to become a counselor in Louisiana
All counseling qualifications — aside from the active internship and practicum hours — may be completed online. Acceptable programs must hold CACREP accreditation. The University of Louisiana Monroe offers online options for the master's degree in counseling, and Louisiana's Capella University offers online, CACREP-accredited master's degrees in several counseling specialties. Out-of-state, online programs that meet qualifications are also accepted.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Louisiana
The LPC Board of Examiners is Louisiana's licensing board and determines a counselor's eligibility. Candidates should note that the board requires different license processes for each specialization.
To apply for an LPC license in Louisiana, you must complete at least 3,000 supervised hours, 24 months of board-approved supervision, and pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). To apply, you must pay a fee and submit an application, a signed experience form, an updated declaration of practices and procedures, a current photo, and official NCE or NCMHCE scores.
Out of State Counselor Candidates
Out-of-state candidates with an LPC license may apply for licensure in Louisiana. Applicants must submit an endorsement application, pay a fee, and submit a recent photo and declaration statement.
In Louisiana, the length of time you've held a license determines the state's requirements. For example, applicants licensed less than five years must send a copy of your entire LPC licensure file to the Louisiana LPC Board. The file must include supervised experience documents, graduate transcripts, and test scores. Applicants licensed for five years or more must send evidence of 40 continuing education hours, an LPC licensure file, and a letter from a colleague or supervisor about current practice.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Louisiana
Once you receive a license to practice counseling in the state, you must actively maintain your license. For instance, licenses for professional counselors in Louisiana expire every two years, and LPCs must renew the license by the last day of June every two years in order to practice legally in the state. Louisiana also charges a late fee for counselors who do not renew a license by the deadline.
To renew the license, an applicant must also complete 40 hours of continuing education and pay a renewal fee. The applicant must submit a declaration statement with any changes, including counselor expertise or focus.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Louisiana
- Association for Advanced Training in the Behavioral Sciences The AATBS provides continuing education opportunities for counselors around the country. Since 1976, the AATBS has offered diverse psychology, mental health, and behavioral science courses. All classes hold approval from the Association of Social Work Boards.
- At Health These continued education courses can take place online, and each program receives verification to ensure that it meets continued education requirements for counselors in your state. All programs hold approval by the American Psychological Association.
- Eclectic Cognitive Behavioral Center This center provides a myriad of continuing education courses for counselors in Louisiana. Most classes may be taken at the center or online. Potential courses include HIPPA and mental health, overview of LPC rules and regulations, and common childhood disorders.
Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in Louisiana
- Louisiana Counseling Association Approved by the Louisiana Licensed Professional Board of Examiners, this organizations authorizes activities, seminars, workshops and networking events for counseling students and professionals.
- C.G. Jung Society of New Orleans A nonprofit, private organization, the C.G. Jung Society promotes educational programs and networking for counseling students and professionals throughout Louisiana. This society provides interdisciplinary courses following the theories of famed psychologist Carl Jung.
- Family and Youth Counseling Agency Established as a nonprofit in 1970, this agency provides childhood and family counseling education to students, professionals, and community members of Southwest Louisiana.
- Louisiana Counseling Association The LCA provides continuing education, networking events, and mentorship to many practicing counselors and students. This association represents professionals from all counseling fields, such as college counselors, licensed marriage family therapists, LPCs, and multicultural counselors.
- American College Counseling Association The ACCA provides a professional home for counseling professionals. The ACCA also offers cutting-edge continued education opportunities. Members receive invitations to networking opportunities and a subscription to the Journal of College Counseling.
- American Counseling Association As a nonprofit, professional, and educational organization, the ACA promotes a nationwide expansion of counseling services. Established in 1952, this association makes up the largest organization of its kind in the country.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association Members of this association can access a large network of counselors and mental health professionals from all over the country. The AMHCA also offers a multitude of continuing education classes, seminars, and webinars. Members receive access to discounted private insurance and a subscription to counseling journals.