Counseling Licensure Requirements in North Dakota

According to Job Service North Dakota, counselors rank among the state's 100 most in-demand occupations requiring postsecondary education. North Dakota's growing healthcare and social assistance sector accounts for 15% of all jobs.

North Dakota's counselor licensing boards provide online information, resources, and forms for applicants. Counseling professionals who meet licensure requirements can pursue rewarding careers helping others. This guide includes information about how to become a counselor in North Dakota, including salaries, educational requirements, and licensing organizations.

Counseling Careers in North Dakota

Counselors typically specialize in working in a particular setting or with certain groups of people. Professionals may focus on relationships or specific illnesses, challenges, or disorders. The sections below detail types of counseling careers available in North Dakota and the training and licensing requirements for each.

How Much Do Counselors Make in North Dakota?

Counselors in North Dakota earn median salaries of about $45,000-$55,000 per year, on par with nationwide averages for professionals in the field. School counselors and mental health counselors who work in clinical practice tend to earn the highest salaries. Note that the BLS combines wage data for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors.

Education Requirements for Counselors in North Dakota

Education and Coursework

North Dakota requires licensed professional counselors (LPCs) to hold a master's degree in counseling from an accredited institution. The state does not specify any undergraduate degree requirements, although many master's programs prefer applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field.

Most counselors and mental health professionals licensed in North Dakota must hold a master's degree that includes specific coursework

An LPC candidate's graduate transcript must show completion of at least 60 semester credits (90 quarter credits), including courses in nine content areas: counseling theories, counseling methods, group counseling, individual assessment, counseling-related research methods, human growth and development, multicultural counseling, career and lifestyle development, and professional ethics.

Most counselors and mental health professionals licensed in North Dakota must hold a master's degree that includes specific coursework. However, requirements vary by license type. Addiction counselors, for example, do not need a master's degree; they must only complete a bachelor's degree and an approved clinical training program. Contact the licensing board specific to your field to learn about academic requirements.

Practicum and Internship

LPC candidates must submit graduate transcripts showing completion of a 100-hour counseling practicum and a 600-hour supervised counseling internship. Online students must complete these hours on-site and under the supervision of their institutions.

Online Counseling Programs in North Dakota

Earning an online counseling degree is the most flexible option for aspiring counselors. Distance programs are ideal for students who prefer to work independently. Many online colleges allow distance learners to participate in classes and complete coursework at their convenience.

Distance programs are ideal for students who prefer to work independently

Several regionally accredited colleges in North Dakota offer online degrees in counseling. For example, the University of North Dakota provides a synchronous master's program in school counseling. Minot State University offers an online bachelor's degree in human services with a concentration in intellectual and developmental disabilities; many graduates of this program pursue a master's degree and counseling licensure.

North Dakota students may also pursue the online clinical mental health counseling graduate certificate from the University of South Dakota. Additionally, South Dakota State University offers a hybrid master's program in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.

How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in North Dakota

The North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners licenses professional counselors in the state. Separate boards oversee licensure for addiction counselors, marriage and family therapists, school counselors, and social workers. LPC applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a 60-credit master's degree in counseling that meets specific coursework requirements and includes a 700-hour practicum. Applicants must also provide three letters of recommendation, including one verifying practicum and internship hours.

LPCs must pass a background check and the national counselor exam. After the candidate meets all requirements, North Dakota issues the licensed associate professional counselor (LAPC) credential. After LAPC holders complete 100 hours of supervised postgraduate counseling practice, the state grants an LPC license. LPCs who complete advanced clinical requirements can apply to become a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC).

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Out-of-State Counselor Candidates

Counselors licensed in other states can complete an application for reciprocity. North Dakota does not maintain reciprocity agreements with other states. Instead, the reciprocity application requires counselors to demonstrate they meet all requirements for licensure in North Dakota.

Applicants must submit transcripts, list coursework and internship hours, and verify their exam scores. Applicants must also attach a copy of their current license and the licensure requirements of the state in which they earned their credential. Out-of-state applicants must also submit a statement of professional intent regarding their plans to practice as a counselor in North Dakota.

Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in North Dakota

Licensed counselors in North Dakota must renew their licenses every two years. To qualify for renewal, LPCs must document at least 30 continuing education hours. LPCCs must complete an additional 10 clinical education hours. In North Dakota, one continuing education hour equals 50 clock minutes.

At least 15 of the required continuing hours must involve in-person attendance at training sessions, and three hours should focus on ethics. The state conducts random audits to verify continuing education; rather than submitting documentation of completed hours to the North Dakota counselor board, license holders must keep continuing education documentation for three years.

Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in North Dakota

  • Becoming a Data-Driven School Counselor The University of Mary offers this three-credit, online continuing education course. School counselors enhance their abilities to collect and analyze data for the purpose of creating lessons that adhere to core curriculum standards. Learners also practice communicating program development to stakeholders. The information covered leads to the development of curricula appropriate for individual needs.
  • Ethics for Counselors NetCE offers this six-hour course, which holds approval from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Counselors explore the history of human rights and discuss decision-making models, ethical theories, and principles. Participants discuss values and morality related to the counseling profession, considering the evolving socio-cultural context of the field. Counselors in this course utilize case studies, an e-book, and interactive practice questions.
  • EMDR Therapy - Treating Anxiety At Health offers this four-credit continuing education opportunity for practitioners who have experience using eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. EMDR is a psychotherapy approach to treating phobias and panic disorder. Coursework deepens counselors' understanding of the standard procedures and protocols for using EMDR therapy. Learners prepare to create individualized treatment plans for clients.

Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in North Dakota

  • ACA Midwest Region Institute for Leadership Training The American Counseling Association offers a weekend training opportunity for counseling students and professional counselors. This training helps participants become strong, confident leaders.
  • NetCE NetCE is a nationally accredited online provider of continuing education for professional counselors. NetCE works to improve the overall quality of healthcare delivery by enhancing the expertise of professional counselors through NBCC-approved coursework.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States. An association of affiliates, state organizations, and volunteers, NAMI supports individuals who are affected by mental illness. The organization provides education programs, public policy, direct support, events, and activities.
  • Quality Interactions With more than 160,000 alumni, Quality Interactions is a leading trainer of cultural competency healthcare providers. By providing e-learning programs and online courses for counselors, this organization contributes to the development of a culturally competent and diverse healthcare workforce.
  • North Dakota State Board of Addiction Counseling Examiners This state organization establishes core curriculum requirements and approves training programs for addiction counselors in North Dakota. The board provides information on licensing, the code of ethics, continuing education opportunities, and general laws regarding the profession.
  • North Dakota Counseling Association NDCA is the North Dakota chapter of the American Counseling Association. Comprising more than 400 counselors and professionals in human development-related fields, NDCA provides continuing education and professional development opportunities. The organization also hosts networking events and activities to promote leadership within the counseling profession.
  • National Board for Certified Counselors NBCC is a credentialing body for counselors. An independent nonprofit organization, NBCC provides continuing education opportunities to advance the professional development of counselors. The organization provides the widely respected national certified counselor credential.
  • North Dakota School Counselor Association NDSCA promotes excellence in the school counseling field and advocates for policies that address critical issues in schools. The organization offers resources for school counselors, including access to events, conferences, job listings, and scholarships.
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