Practicing counselors in Nebraska can earn high salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school and career counselors earn an annual median salary of $60,200, which is about $4,000 higher than the national average for the profession. Graduates must meet Nebraska's licensing requirements to practice counseling professionally. This guide covers types of counseling careers and provides information about earning a degree, obtaining licensure, and salary expectations.
Counseling Careers in Nebraska
The counseling field includes a variety of specializations, such as marriage and family therapy; school, guidance, vocational, and educational counseling; rehabilitation counseling; mental health counseling; and substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling. The section below reviews types of counseling, requirements to practice in each discipline, and information about how to become a counselor in Nebraska.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
School, guidance, vocational, and educational counselors work with teachers, parents, and administrators. These professionals find solutions for academic and behavioral problems and identify resources to help students progress academically and personally. These counselors also conduct crisis interventions when necessary.Explore Career Information Explore Nebraska School Counselor Certification
Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and family therapists explore relationship issues and help families work through behavioral problems. These therapists meet with clients to identify their unique problems and create plans to reach resolutions. They often encounter mental and emotional disorders and develop long-term treatment plans for clients.Explore Career Information
Rehabilitation counselors help clients from diverse backgrounds overcome social, personal, and psychological disabilities. These counselors assist clients working toward independent living and help individuals overcome restrictions related to disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors also help clients explore employment opportunities and interpersonal relationships.Explore Career Information Explore Nebraska Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
These counselors advise people struggling with drug addiction, alcoholism, behavioral problems, and eating disorders. These counselors provide treatment to help clients recover from addiction and improve behavioral problems. They create long-term treatment plans to keep clients healthy and sober.Explore Career Information Explore Nebraska Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counselors diagnose and treat mental health illnesses and issues. They promote the mental health of clients through individual and group sessions and they design and implement treatment plans. These counselors also evaluate each patient's mental status and issues by conducting interviews and observing and tracking patient progress.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in Nebraska?
According to the BLS, Nebraska counselors earn annual salaries near the national median for the occupation. The BLS combines salary data for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors. However, the BLS provides individualized data for marriage and family therapists; rehabilitation counselors; and school, guidance, vocational, and educational counselors.
Education Requirements for Counselors in Nebraska
Education and Coursework
The Nebraska counselor board sets unique requirements for licensed professional counselors (LPC) in the state. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services requires all counselors interested in pursuing LPC credentials to hold the licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP) and certified professional counselor (CPC) credentials.
before pursuing certification and licensure, professionals must earn a bachelor's degree in counseling and either a master's or doctoral degree in counseling
Counselors in Nebraska must hold their LMHP license before earning their CPC license. Before pursuing certification and licensure, professionals must earn a bachelor's degree in counseling and either a master's or doctoral degree in counseling. All counselors in the state must complete graduate coursework and pass either the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam or the national counselor exam from the National Board of Certified Counselors.
Candidates for counseling licensure in Nebraska must complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience, including 1,500 hours in direct contact with clients. Candidates for licensure must pass the necessary exams, which include multiple-choice questions and simulated clinical mental health counseling cases.
Practicum and Internship
Counseling programs often require internships and practicum components. To qualify for state licensure, candidates must have completed supervised clinical hours, including hours in direct contact with clients.
Online Counseling Programs in Nebraska
Online learning can help busy students fit coursework into their schedules. Many schools offer asynchronous courses, which allow distance learners to view lectures and take tests at their convenience. Asynchronous learning is ideal for working professionals.
Most counseling programs do require some in-person components, so students should either choose nearby schools or ensure they can complete in-person requirements locally. In addition to providing flexible scheduling options, online programs often cost less than on-campus programs; many schools charge all online learners in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency.
Online learning can help busy students fit coursework into their schedules
Aspiring counselors can choose from multiple online programs in Nebraska. For example, Bellevue University's accredited master of science in clinical counseling program is available online and on campus. The program comprises 60 credits, a 100-hour practicum, and a 600-hour internship.
Creighton University's master of science in school counseling and preventive mental health program also holds accreditation. Online students can complete the program within two years. This option also includes a 600-hour internship.
Students planning to pursue careers as school counselors can earn a master's in school counseling at Wayne State College. The hybrid program combines online and in-person classes.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Nebraska
To become an LPC in Nebraska, individuals must be at least 19 years old and hold citizenship or resident status. Candidates for licensure must hold a bachelor's degree in counseling and at least a master's degree in counseling. Candidates' degrees must come from either a regionally accredited school or a program that holds accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Applicants must provide proof of practicum or internship experiences and pass a licensing exam.
Out-of-State Counselor Candidates
Counselors who have held an active license in another state for at least one year can apply to earn a Nebraska license by reciprocity. Candidates for licensure by reciprocity must complete an application and send a verification form to the licensing agency of the state in which they hold current licensure. The candidate's former internship director or supervisor must complete a form detailing the applicant's practicum or internship experience. Counselors who practice in Nebraska before obtaining licensure may be subject to a fine.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Nebraska
Counselors in Nebraska must renew their credentials every even-numbered year. During each renewal cycle, counselors must complete at least 32 hours of continuing education, including at least two ethics courses. Counselors can apply continuing education credits to both their primary counseling license and their counseling certification or mental health license. Counselors can earn continuing education credits through At Health, NetCE, and the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Nebraska
- At Health At Health allows busy counselors to complete continuing education courses online. Professionals can take courses on topics such as ethics in the digital world, suicide assessment, ADHD treatments, and treating teen girls.
- NetCE This online resource provides continuing education options to help professionals fulfill the ethics requirement and learn about topics like mindfulness. The website allows users to filter courses based on whether they fulfill Nebraska's continuing education requirements.
- Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha offers in-person continuing education courses on a variety of subjects related to behavioral health.
Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in Nebraska
- Nebraska Department of Education Students planning to work in school settings can visit this website for current policy information and news related to school counseling. The department also offers online networking opportunities.
- American Counseling Association This national organization offers continuing education opportunities, news, podcasts, and webinars. ACA members receive access to award-winning publications and career assistance.
- Nebraska Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Co-Addiction Professionals The Nebraska chapter of NAADAC supports addiction professionals by delivering workshops, certifications, and advocacy.
- Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Through this state department's website, students and counselors can find information about licensure, counseling news, and regulations.
- American Rehabilitation Counseling Association Both students and professionals can join this organization. ARCA hosts annual conferences and provides newsletters, scholarships, and professional tools.
- Nebraska Counseling Association This statewide organization awards scholarships to students who demonstrate academic excellence. The association hosts an annual conference, promotes the counseling and mental health profession, and connects members with local peers.
- Nebraska School Counselor Association The Nebraska division of the American School Counselor Association, this organization provides the state's school counselors with opportunities for professional growth. Members can access newsletters, local workshops, networking opportunities, scholarships, and an annual conference.
- Nebraska Psychological Association This organization helps members promote emotional wellness through the science of psychology. NPA members receive access to relevant legislative news, a peer consultation network, and networking opportunities.