Licensed professional counselors (LPCs) work in a variety of settings to help individuals develop a greater sense of mental and emotional wellness. Candidates interested in learning how to become a counselor in Oregon stand to benefit from several encouraging trends. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that work in counseling-related professions will grow by 23% in coming years, much faster than average for all occupations. Oregon also enjoys a high concentration of counselors, which makes for positive job outlook overall.
This page helps interested parties navigate the counseling licensure process and explore the basic requirements necessary to attain LPC status in the Beaver State. It covers popular counseling careers in the region, salary potential, mandatory education requirements, and the overall licensing process. It concludes with information on a few professional organizations, in addition to continuing education opportunities.
Counseling Careers in Oregon
Demand for LPC services in Oregon comes in many forms. The careers listed below represent some of the popular occupational paths taken by professionals with counseling licensure credentials in the state. While specializations may vary, each career listed requires the same set of knowledge and skills promoted by LPC counseling licensure in Oregon.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
These counselors work with students of all ages to provide academic, college, and career support. They also help young people cope with problems and access available resources. Professionals in these fields may also offer similar services to people with disabilities, assisting them with vocational training and job hunting.Explore Career Information Explore Oregon School Counselor Certification
Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and family therapists use family centered approaches to help people tackle challenges and issues in their relationships. They may conduct individual, couple, or group methods of therapy.Explore Career Information
Rehabilitation counselors help people maximize their employability and independence after illnesses or accidents. They assess client needs and design rehabilitation programs.Explore Career Information Explore Oregon Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
These professionals work in clinical settings to provide support and tools to clients with substance abuse and behavioral health issues such as addiction, eating disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.Explore Career Information Explore Oregon Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counselors work with patients and clients to develop strategies, practices, and behaviors that facilitate emotional wellness. They provide advice and counsel through one-on-one therapy, diagnose destructive patterns and habits, and work to implement treatment plans that support their clients' goals and overall well-being.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in Oregon?
This table presents a comparison of salary prospects for Oregon counseling professionals based on the latest BLS data. For the convenience and efficiency, the BLS combines salary information for behavioral, substance abuse, and mental health counseling. Prospective candidates should also know that this data does not account for granular variances like the cost of living and localized demand for counseling services.
Education Requirements for Counselors in Oregon
Education and Coursework
Prospective candidates must first comply with the educational requirements specific to Oregon before obtaining counseling licensure. These include formal study in an accredited higher education institution and fulfillment of several coursework prerequisites that correlate with common specializations within the counseling discipline.
If prospective candidates intend to practice in a specific specialty, the graduate program must include at least 16 semester or 24 quarter credits in the chosen area of expertise
Each prospective counseling candidate must undertake a graduate course from a program accredited by either the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE). Oregon does not require a bachelor's degree in counseling for LPC practice, but this credential can jumpstart the process, often making graduate-level study more fruitful and efficient.
In addition to proper approval and accreditation, the graduate program must take at least two years to complete and include a minimum of 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits. Coursework should provide adequate instruction and training in counseling theory, human growth and lifespan development, social and cultural foundations, helping relationships, group dynamics, lifestyle and career development, diagnosis and appraisal of individuals, research and evaluation, and professional orientation.
If the prospective candidate intends to practice in a specific specialty, the graduate program must include at least 16 semester or 24 quarter credits in the chosen area of expertise. Programs approved by the CACREP or the CORE must also involve two semester credits or three quarter credits in mental health disorder diagnosis.
Practicum and Internship
Oregon LPC candidates must also satisfy certain application mandates, including an internship requirement with a minimum of three years supervised clinical experience and at least 2,400 hours of direct client contact. Candidates must select a supervisor from the state's approved list of providers.
Online Counseling Programs in Oregon
Attending an online program in counseling can be ideal for students who need maximum flexibility while completing their degrees. Online learning allows students to complete assignments and attend classes when and where most convenient. Oregon has several online counseling options. Some are part-time, while others are hybrid programs that feature both online coursework and in-person requirements.
Online learning allows students to complete assignments and attend classes when and where most convenient
While there are several options for master's degrees in counseling available at Oregon schools, Oregon State University (OSU) is one of the few offering an online program. OSU uses hybrid class delivery for its online master's degree program in counseling with a specialization option in school counseling. In-person classes are held on two weekends per term in Wilsonville. Prospective students should note that the Oregon State Board only accepts degrees from regionally accredited online programs and colleges.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Oregon
The Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists administers counseling licensure throughout the state. Once LPC candidates complete all education and internship requirements, they can move to the application process. Each application must include verification of education and internship hours, a professional disclosure statement, and graduate degree transcripts. Candidates must also provide evidence of passing a competency exam and the Oregon law and rules exam.
Each applicant also needs to submit to a criminal background check and pay a non-refundable license application fee. They must also pay licensure fees, pending application approval. These fees may vary depending on licensure status.
Out-of-State Counselor Candidates
An out-of-state LPC with an active license can obtain counseling licensure in Oregon through the state's reciprocity agreement. This agreement validates equivalent credentials from other states that adhere to similar standards of professional excellence.
A professional seeking this credential must apply for a license by reciprocity, with evidence of education, verification of out-of-state licensure, and passing exam scores. These applicants must also submit to a new criminal background check, a professional disclosure statement, and pay the appropriate fees. Upon approval, newly licensed LPCs by reciprocity must comply with the licensure maintenance and renewal requirements outlined below.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Oregon
LPC professionals licensed for practice in Oregon must renew their credentials every two years. They must submit a new application for re-licensure, pay the mandatory licensing fee, and provide evidence of compliance with continuing education requirements. These requirements include a minimum of 40 hours of professional development, with at least six credits in ethics instruction. Oregon counseling professionals must also submit to a new criminal background check every five years when applying for licensure renewal.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Oregon
- Cross-Cultural Care — A Person-Centered Approach Quality Interactions offers a one-credit continuing education opportunity. Counselors can discuss the importance of cultural competence and effective communication in the delivery of excellent healthcare service. The course explores cultural and social issues related to the care of diverse populations.
- Cultural Competency and Ethics for Healthcare Professionals The Portland Community College Institute for Health Professionals offers this continuing education opportunity for counselors in Oregon. The six-credit course trains counselors to create culturally inclusive, non-judgmental healthcare environments for patients. Counselors discuss customized treatment plans, health literacy, intercultural communication, inequality, and social determinants of health.
- Developing Equity Leadership Through Training and Action Offered by Oregon Health Authority-Office of Equity and Inclusion, DELTA prepares counselors for effective community engagement with local Oregon organizations. The 40-hour training course discusses historical injustices; race and ethnicity in workforce recruitment, hiring, and retention; health literacy and language access; and health leadership.
Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in Oregon
- Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists The Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists regulates the practice of mental health counseling in Oregon. They develop and maintain standards of education and training, deter misconduct, communicate important information, and work cooperatively with professional associations to improve the counseling field.
- Oregon Health Authority OHA is a government agency that helps improve Oregonians' mental and social well-being by increasing access to and lowering the cost of healthcare. OHA offers helpful information for counselors about employment opportunities, grants, policies, and public records.
- Coalition of Oregon Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy COPACT is a collaboration of two professional associations that represent all counselors and therapists in Oregon. The group works with lobbyists to pass legislation that protects and enhances the field.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness As the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States, NAMI helps people affected by mental illness improve their lives by raising awareness and providing direct support. NAMI is an association of local affiliates, state organizations, and volunteers.
- Quality Interactions This certified business helps to train healthcare professionals. Through research and e-learning programs, they offer online courses and services that help counselors deliver inclusive, culturally competent healthcare.
- Oregon Counseling Association ORCA represents the Oregon branch of the American Counseling Association, the largest association for professional counselors and therapists in the world. Dedicated to the improvement, advocacy, and protection of the profession, ORCA fosters collaboration through professional development and networking opportunities. Members can benefit from discounts on liability insurance, continuing education programs, annual conferences, journal subscriptions, research assistance, research grants, a job board, and more.
- Oregon Association for Marriage and Family Therapy As a state division of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, OAMFT helps couples and families solve problems associated with their relationships. With research and education, the association provides resources to counselors and therapists to ensure that they are properly trained and prepared to do their jobs. To become a member of OAMFT, members must meet rigorous education and training standards. Members include students, associates, clinicians, and other affiliates.
- Oregon Psychological Association OPA is a nonprofit professional association that promotes the interests of psychology as a science. This association protects the counseling profession through advocacy work, legislation, research, professional networking, and continuing education. OPA advocates for counselors through services to its members and to the public.