Louisiana offers unique licensing requirements for professional counselors. By fulfilling education, examination, and supervised experience, you can earn your credentials as a licensed professional counselor (LPC) through the Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners.
With additional coursework, you can become an LPC with appraisal privileges that allow you to perform assessments. However, professionals in Louisiana begin their career track as counselor interns.
Counseling Careers in Louisiana
Counseling careers give professionals the opportunity to work with variable groups to improve patients' lives. Licensed counselors can find employment in medical facilities, rehabilitation centers, community outreach centers, and schools. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers in counseling will experience growth from 2016 to 2026, with both mental health counseling and marriage/family health positions increasing in by 23%. By earning additional certifications and obtaining higher levels of Louisiana counseling licensure, counselors can tailor their careers and open doors to advancement opportunities.
- Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors typically work in schools at the elementary to high school level. These counselors help students achieve personal and educational goals. In elementary schools, guidance counselors often work with students' parents and families.
- Marriage and Family Therapists: These professionals help couples and families to solve conflicts. Family therapists also work with children in behavioral development, interpersonal communication, and social development.
- Rehabilitation Counselors: Rehabilitation counselors assist patients with a history of behavioral or mental health disabilities achieve personal, relationship, and career goals.
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: These counselors see patients suffering from mental, behavioral, and addiction disorders. Substance abuse counselors may work for the courts, as they often deal with patients recovering from addiction.
- Counselors, All Other: Counseling offers the opportunity to specialize your career. Professionals with the appropriate degree and licensure may even open their own clinical practice.
|Occupation||Average Salary in Louisiana|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$54,610|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$38,710|
|Counselors, All Other||$37,300|
Other Professionals Who Can Be Licensed as Counselors
Louisiana allows professionals in related fields to obtain counseling licensure. The American Art Therapy Association reports that art therapists can become LPCs if they meet state standards. This gives professionals the opportunity to pursue a program in unique counseling areas, such as play therapy.
Becoming a Professional Counselor with Appraisal Privileges
To earn appraisal privileges, you must complete coursework from a regionally accredited institution in the following content areas:
- Sampling Theory
- Tests and Measurements
- Test Construction
- Individual Differences
You also must also complete a practicum that covers appraisal instruments and supervised practice. The amount of documentation needed depends partly on how well the course title matches up with the content area.
You must fill out an application for privileging and pay the $100 fee. Documentation requirements include a transcript, course catalog, and an official letter.
Education Requirements for Counselors
You must complete at least a master's degree in counseling and any additional coursework required by the state's curricular standards. In addition, your counseling degree must meet at least one of the following requirements: CACREP-accredited, counseling education or a closely related field, or follows content outlined below. Programs in counseling psychology or vocational rehabilitation are acceptable. If your counseling degree does not include all required components, you may complete additional units beyond your master's degree.
Within your required 48 semester hours in counseling coursework, you need a 100-hour practicum, a 300-hour internship, and coursework in the following eight areas:
- Human Growth and Development
- Counseling/Theories of Personality
- Abnormal Behavior
- Counseling Techniques
- Group Dynamics, Processes, and Counseling
- Individual Appraisal
- Career and Lifestyle Development
Your practicum must include at least 40 hours of direct client service. It must also include, on a weekly basis, at least one hour of individual supervision and at least an hour and a half of group supervision. Your internship must include at least 120 hours of direct counseling service. Supervision requirements remain similar to that of the practicum: an hour of individual supervision each week and an hour and a half of group.
Online Counseling Programs in Louisiana
To become a counselor in Louisiana, you need to first obtain licensure as a counselor intern. 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 can perform assessments.
All counseling qualifications, aside from the active internship and practicum hours, may be completed online. Acceptable programs must hold CACREP accreditation. Louisiana's Capella University offers three online, CACREP-accredited master's degrees in counseling. Out-of-state, online programs that meet qualifications are also accepted.
How Do You Become a Counselor in Louisiana?
Before submitting an application, read Chapter seven of the Louisiana licensing requirements. You will also need to gather supporting documents, some of which are sent with your application, and others are forwarded by third parties.
Your school should send your graduate transcripts directly to the board. You will receive the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) test scores directly, unless you took the exam through the LPC Board Office. The application itself includes questions about professional fitness, legal background, and employment history; it must be notarized. You should include a two-by-three head and shoulders shot with your signature on the back.
Your application packet should include a fee in the form of a certified check, cashier's check, or money order for $200 and other associated fees. Generally, the board meets on the third Friday of the month, so ensure materials arrive in the office before the meeting.
In addition to earning a master's degree, counselors in Louisiana must also obtain licensure prior to practicing professionally. Fees cover the base cost of an examination or the license itself, but some fees only apply to individuals seeking specific, additional certifications. Anyone interested in working as a counselor should look into the specific licensure requirements and fees associated with their field. The chart below provides an overview of counseling license fees in Louisiana.
|Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensure, and Seal||$200|
|Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor Application and License||$100|
|Out of State Provisional Application and Licensure||$150|
|Licensed Professional Counselor License Renewal||$170|
|Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor License Renewal||$85|
Source: Louisiana LPC Board
The Licensing Exam
Before you can become a licensed professional counselor in Louisiana, you need to take the NCE. Your application should include official sealed transcripts and a $335 fee. Once you receive approval from the NBCC, you may schedule an exam at any of the AMP testing centers around the country.
Louisiana has a testing center in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport. Tests take place Monday through Friday during the first two weeks of each month. Some testing centers also offer Saturday sessions. You must send your registration materials to the NBCC well in advance, as it typically takes four weeks to process and grant approval.
LPC Supervised Practice Requirement
Counselors must practice under supervision before becoming licensed at the professional level, which is generally about 3,000 hours. This supervised practice must include at least 1,900 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. At least 50 of these must be individual supervision. The remaining can take place in a group of up to ten. In addition, 1,000 hours may include broader tasks related to professional counseling, such as case notes, staffing, or assessment.
Post-master's coursework may lessen your supervised practice requirement. You may substitute 30 semester hours of counseling education beyond the master's level for the 500 hours of supervised practice. Semester hours earned through a practicum, internship, or supervised experience may not count toward the 30 semester hours. You also need to put in at least 2,000 hours of supervised experience prior to earning Louisiana counseling licensure.
Your supervision must take place over a period of two to seven years with a clinical supervisor to ensure that you meet board standards for licensure. These LPC supervisors must hold at least five years of experience and meet board-specified standards, which include taking a graduate course or board-approved training program in supervision.
You must submit a written proposal of supervision to the board 60 days before commencing supervision. Then, you will receive a letter that either approves the supervision arrangement or rejects it with an explanation. At the end of your supervised practice, your supervisor will verify your hours, evaluate you, and make a recommendation.
If you need help finding a supervisor, visit the Louisiana Counseling Association's web page.
Out of State Candidates - LPC Requirements
Louisiana does not offer reciprocal agreements with other states, but will evaluate your qualifications on an individual basis. If you hold licensure from another state, send your information and application to the licensing board. With national certification, you should provide the certification number on your application and include contact information for the certifying agencies.
License Maintenance and Renewal
You will need to renew your license every other year and complete 40 hours of continuing education during each renewal period.
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.
- he@lth: 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 for Counselors
- 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.
- River Oaks Hospital: In addition to being an active mental health hospital, River Oaks offers educational workshops to professional counselors and clinicians.
Professional Organizations for 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.