Fulfilling counseling licensure requirements in New Jersey can lead to a career as either a licensed associate counselor (LAC) or licensed professional counselor (LPC). You can apply for licensure once you pass the National Counselor Examination and meet the minimum number of education hours.
New Jersey ranks first among the top-paying states for this profession, with an annual mean wage of $67,230. This page provides insight into the kinds of careers you can pursue in the field and what it takes to earn and maintain licensure. Continue reading to learn more about how to become a counselor in New Jersey.
Counseling Careers in New Jersey
The following section describes the types of counseling specialties you can pursue professionally. Whether you opt to work with students, families, or those in need of rehabilitation, choosing counseling as a profession allows you to help improve people's quality of life.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and family therapists conduct counseling sessions for individuals, couples, and families by using family-centered approaches to therapy. These counselors focus on helping people within their relationships.Explore Career Information
Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals who are coping with difficulties from illness, congenital issues, diseases, or accidents. They help people become more independent through individual care and activities in treatment centers.Explore Career Information Explore New Jersey Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
Substance abuse and behavioral health counselors work in one-on-one and group settings. They help people identify and treat symptoms and causes of substance abuse and underlying emotional trauma to promote optimum mental health and sober living.Explore Career Information Explore New Jersey Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
Mental Health Counselors
Counselors who specialize in mental health can support patients dealing with challenges like addiction and trauma. In addition, they may specialize in youth services. They design and deliver ongoing treatment plans that help patients improve their mental well-being. These professionals frequently work in hospitals, inpatient facilities, and rehabilitation centers.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in New Jersey ?
This table examines counselors' salaries by counseling specialty. It compares counselors' annual income in New Jersey to their income nationwide. The table looks at median income, in addition to the earnings of professionals in 10th and 90th percentiles. Know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) combines wage data for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors.
Education Requirements for Counselors in New Jersey
Education and Coursework
If you are exploring how to become a counselor in New Jersey, know that you must first earn their bachelor's and master's degrees. Licensure requires completing at least 60 hours at the graduate level, with at least 45 of those hours in content areas like counseling theory and practice, lifestyle and career development, and social and cultural foundations. Make certain the master's program you select is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.
to become a counselor in New Jersey, you must first earn your bachelor's and master's degrees
Whether you seek licensure for an LAC or LPC, you must complete an application. This paperwork serves as a request for authorization to sit for the national counselor examination, a 200-item test that assesses your skills and knowledge. The application you must submit for counseling licensure in New Jersey includes a worksheet to list your coursework. You must also submit a transcript to verify that you have completed these classes.
Aspiring counselors should closely read the application. It includes the legally binding rules and regulations of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. As part of the application, you must sign an affidavit and have it notarized. The state also requires fees for both the application and license.
Practicum and Internship
Counseling licensure in New Jersey also requires completing supervised practice in complement to your textbook studies. You will need 4,500 hours of practice if you hold a master's degree, but just 3,000 hours if you completed 30 coursework hours beyond the master's. The state permits up to six years to fulfill this requirement.
Online Counseling Programs in New Jersey
Earning a counseling degree in an online format is a great option for students who need maximum flexibility with their studies. New Jersey has a few colleges that offer online options for counseling programs, such as Seton Hall University, which offers a 48-credit online master's degree in school counseling. Rutgers University offers a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling with a clinical mental health counseling track.
Earning a counseling degree in an online format is a great option for students who need maximum flexibility with their studies
Individuals interested in social work may opt for Rutgers' online master's degree in social work. Fairleigh Dickinson University's School of Psychology offers a master's program in clinical psychopharmacology that is mostly distance based. Another great option is to choose a regionally accredited program or college in another state that accepts online learners from New Jersey, such as New York University's master's programs in mental health counseling, mental health and wellness, and school counseling.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in New Jersey
Your LPC career in New Jersey begins after you complete the necessary practice and education requirements. The state dictates that the master's you earn will include the word "counseling" or "counselor" in the degree name. In addition to at least 60 hours of coursework, licensure requires three years of full-time supervision as you complete a counseling experience in a professional setting.
You may complete one year of practice before graduating, and you can substitute 30 hours beyond the master's degree for one year of supervised experience. Earning your license means also passing the national counselor examination. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs oversees counseling licensure.
Out of State Counselor Candidates
A counselor who holds an equivalent license from another state can receive authorization to practice in New Jersey. If this describes your situation, first complete an application for licensure and select the box that indicates your request for reciprocity. Make sure that the entity that issued your license sends verification of your out-of-state license to the Professional Counselor Examiners Committee, which the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs oversees. You must also pay the application fee.
The verification of your license must include proof of your supervised experience and national test scores. In addition, the Committee must receive your official graduate transcripts and current resume.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in New Jersey
Licensed counselors in New Jersey receive notification in the mail 60 days before their license expires. The expiration date is always November 30 in every even-numbered year, regardless of when the state originally issued the license. If you received your license in an odd-numbered year during this biennial period, then you only pay half of the licensing fee.
Renewing clinical licensure in New Jersey requires completing at least 40 continuing education credits every two years. Five must be in ethics, and three must cover social and cultural competency. You can carry a maximum of 10 credits into your next biennial period if you earned more than 40.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in New Jersey
- Clinical Supervision Workshop Series Located in Flemington, the advanced counselor training offers an NBCC-approved education opportunity for licensed professional counselors in the state. The workshop series allows participants to obtain their approved clinical supervisor certification. This training covers the function of a clinical supervisor; methods and techniques for clinical supervision; and the cultural, legal, and ethical issues surrounding the role.
- Ethics for Counselors This NBCC-approved course examines ethical and human rights issues in an evolving sociocultural context. Starting with a historical background on the topic, the course takes participants through the common definitions of values and morality, while diving deeper into ethical principles, dilemmas, and decision-making models.
- EMDR Therapy — Treating Anxiety This intermediate-to-advanced course is designed for counselors with some experience using EMDR, a psychotherapy approach to treating anxiety-related conditions such as phobias and panic disorders. The goal of this four-credit course is to help counselors understand the standard procedures and protocols for using EMDR therapy. Participants can learn how to create individualized treatment plans.
Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in New Jersey
- NetCE NetCE is a nationally accredited online provider of NBCC-approved continuing education courses for counselors. The mission of NetCE is to challenge professionals to enhance their level of expertise and improve the overall quality of healthcare delivery.
- Rutgers UBHC Center for Continuing Education Rutgers' CCE provides high-quality programs, continuing education activities, professional contact hours, and training and research resources to behavioral health professionals, such as professional counselors.
- Little Hands Family Services LHFS offers several NBCC-approved continuing education services for counseling professionals. LHFS is therapist-owned and operated, offering many resources and services to help people heal from life's challenges.
- American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama ASGPP is a membership organization for professionals in psychotherapy, psychodrama, and sociometry. The group offers continuing education opportunities through seminars, workshops, and other events, all of which are approved by the NAADAC, NBCC, and NRCGP.
- Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis ACAP offers online and on-campus continuing education classes, as well as graduate, post-graduate, and certificate classes for mental health counselors.
- State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy The State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners oversees New Jersey's licensed marriage and family therapists. The purpose of the board is to enhance the health and welfare of residents by regulating the practice of counseling and therapy, as well as protecting against unprofessional conduct.
- National Board for Certified Counselors The NBCC is a nonprofit, independent organization that serves as the credentialing body for counselors. The NBCC ensures high standards of practice through ethical guidelines, education, examination, and supervision to advance the counseling profession and enhance mental health worldwide. The organization provides many resources for counselors, including continuing education opportunities, newsletters, and a directory of therapists.
- New Jersey Counseling Association The New Jersey branch of the American Counseling Association, NJCA, is dedicated to improving the counseling profession through channels such as communication, education, networking opportunities, and state legislation. Members can participate in workshops, continuing education opportunities, board meetings, and other events.