Counseling Licensing Requirements in Nevada
In Nevada, the Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists and Clinical Professional Counselors offers the licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) designation for professional counselors. The licensing process involves education, an examination, and supervised practice. Candidates who begin their careers in Nevada enter the field as licensed clinical counselor interns.
Below is a comprehensive guide to pursuing counseling licensure in Nevada. If you have any questions or need assistance ensuring you are on the right path, contact the Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists and Clinical Professional Counselors at 702-486-7388, or email [email protected]
Capella University offers three accredited online master's programs in the field: clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, and school counseling. Use the contact form to request information about Capella University's programs.
Northwestern's accredited online MA in counseling program offers full- and part-time options that allow students to earn the degree on their schedule. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores. Students can request information online.
Counseling Careers in Nevada
Nevada counseling licensure qualifies holders for a variety of career paths. Counseling is a constantly evolving field, with new information becoming available each year. Improving technology allows counselors to better understand human cognition and helps researchers and practitioners exchange information more easily. The deepening understanding of humans as social creatures allows counselors to better serve clients.
- Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: These professionals help students overcome challenges to their education. They help students identify and overcome learning problems and plan their education to prepare for careers.
- Marriage and Family Therapists: These professionals guide couples and family units toward successful, healthy relationships. They help clients identify and overcome internal and external challenges to relationships.
- Rehabilitation Counselors: These professionals work with people who have overcome addiction, are recovering from medical procedures, or are returning to the workforce or society. They help clients move past their experiences and fulfil their personal goals.
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: These professionals help clients explore causes and solutions to overcome internal challenges that keep them from fully participating in society.
- Counselors, All Other: Many counselors develop specializations over time, such as specific populations or disorders. These professionals are difficult to categorize and often have few peers in the subfield.
|Occupation||Average Salary in Nevada|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$53,580|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$52,230|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$48,850|
Other Professionals Who Can Be Licensed as Counselors
Professionals in related fields, such as art therapy, may obtain counseling licensure if they meet the requirements. Professionals in some related fields have separate licensing processes. For example, Nevada alcohol and drug counselors obtain a different credential.
Education Requirements for Counselors
To become a counselor, candidates need a master's or doctoral degree. Aspiring counselors should choose a program with accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or an agency with similar standards. CACREP-accredited programs in Nevada include three programs at the University of Nevada: a master's in mental health counseling at the Las Vegas location and a counseling doctorate and a master's in marital and family counseling at the Reno location.
Antioch University offers an CACREP-accredited online MA in clinical mental health counseling with specializations in substance abuse and addictions counseling and in counseling military service personnel and their families. Antioch is a private, nonprofit university.
Candidates with a degree from a school without CACREP accreditation may still earn licensure. According to the State of Nevada Board of Examiners, acceptable degrees must include a mental health counseling internship or practicum completed under appropriate supervision.
Acceptable programs must also include core counseling content. Interns must document three semester hours, or four quarter hours, in the following areas:
- Human development (including sexuality)
- Individual counseling theories
- Individual counseling techniques
- Lifestyle and career development
- Ethics and professional studies
- Group dynamics, counseling, and consulting
- Diagnosis and assessment
- Social and cultural foundations
- Research and evaluation
- Alcohol and substance abuse
Interns also document three courses in supervised practice. Learn more about selecting a master's in counseling program.
Online Counseling Programs in Nevada
Earning a counseling degree online is ideal for many students planning to pursue Nevada counseling licensure. Online programs tend to be flexible, allowing learners to schedule courses around existing commitments. Online courses are ideal for working professionals, especially for counselors pursuing an advanced degree. Many colleges also offer accelerated programs; students take more courses per semester or shorter, more intensive courses to graduate more quickly. Students can earn their entire degree online or use online courses to supplement or complete an on-campus degree.
The University of Nevada offers online courses through some of its campuses, and numerous universities throughout the country offer online degrees or courses to students residing in Nevada. Not all online programs are certified to offer courses to students in all states, so learners should ensure the program is available to students in their state before applying.
How Do You Become a Counselor in Nevada?
Before obtaining licensure, candidates must undergo fingerprint and background checks, which can take 10-12 weeks. The board recommends that candidates take the fingerprint card to a police precinct, which does not need to be local. Candidates then send their fingerprints to the board for processing, along with a fingerprint background waiver and a money order for $38.25 made out to the Department of Public Safety. The prints do not need to arrive at the same time as other application materials. The application is available online.
The application package includes a copy of applicable statutes, which candidates must confirm they have read. Candidates must submit three professional references on official letterhead, along with a check or money order for $75.
Candidates should mail applications to the following address:
MFT & CPC
P.O. Box 370130
Las Vegas NV, 89134-0130
Licensing is never free, but Nevada has fewer fees than other states. Fees are required for applications for licensure, for license renewal, to set a license to inactive status, and to reinstate a license. These fees cover the cost of processing applications and demonstrate the applicant is serious about getting or maintaining their license. Deadlines vary by fee; candidates can find deadlines on the application itself and on the website of the State of Nevada Board of Examiners.
The Licensing Exam
Candidates must take a written licensing exam, the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination, before obtaining professional status. The exam is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors and costs $195. Candidates need approval from the State of Nevada Board of Examiners to register for the exam. Students in CACREP-accredited programs can take the test during their final semester.
Candidates must take the exam before their clinical professional counselor intern license expires. Candidates who do not pass the exam on their first attempt must wait three months to retake the test. The National Board of Certified Counselors administers exams during a two-week period each month. Applicants must submit a request for testing 30 days in advance. The State of Nevada Board of Examiners provides a list of test dates. Candidates can register for the exam online.
Supervised Practice Requirement
Candidates must become a registered intern before offering client services. Registered professionals report their progress twice each year.
Aspiring counselors must work under supervision for at least 3,000 hours, including at least 1,500 hours of direct client service work and at least 300 hours under supervision.
Candidates may get credit for professional development and counseling-related activities. Candidates may apply up to 50 supervisor-approved hours of training and up to 200 approved hours of teaching activities toward requirements. Candidates should not have more than 20 hours per week of direct client work.
At least 160 of the required hours completed under supervision must have been performed under the guidance of an approved primary supervisor, and at least 40 must have been completed with a secondary supervisor, who does not need approval. Candidates can work part time, but they must meet experience requirements within six years.
Supervisors complete reports every six months. At the end of the candidate's supervised work experience, the primary supervisor submits an evaluation, noting how many hours the candidate spent in different work activities and whether he or she feels the candidate is prepared for independent licensure.
Out-of-State Counselor Candidates
Professionals who are licensed and in good standing in another jurisdiction may be eligible for full professional licensure in Nevada. Applicants must submit a list of previous clinical professional counseling licenses.
Out-of-state applicants send a copy of their license, a license verification form, and documentation of supervised experience. The board may grant full or partial credit for supervised experience, or may deny it. Applicants cannot receive credit for clinical experience that was obtained while working toward licensure in a field other than clinical professional counseling.
License Maintenance and Renewal
Professionals must renew their Nevada credentials on even-numbered years. They must complete at least 32 hours of continuing education during each renewal cycle, at least two of which must be in ethics. Professionals do not need to earn separate continuing education units to maintain their mental health license and associated counseling certification. Professionals can apply counseling continuing education hours toward the renewal of their primary license.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Nevada
- ACA Professional Development: The American Counseling Association offers a variety of continuing education opportunities, including webinars on ethics and values, business management, and clinical practice. The association also offers online courses, articles, book chapters, and podcasts for which practitioners can earn continuing education credits.
- GoodTherapy Continuing Education: GoodTherapy.org, a professional association of therapists, offers continuing education courses for members. Topics include self-publishing research, helping patients with HIV/AIDS, developing group practice, and working with teens who disrespect their parents. The association offers courses online on specific days.
- NetCE: NetCE provides continuing education credits in a variety of fields, including counseling and therapy. These relatively low-cost courses have approval from multiple organizations. Free course materials include topics such as clinical documentation, trauma processing, and suicide prevention.
Resources for Counselors
- Student Counselor Standards: This document covers standards and professional guidelines for counselors working with students in primary or secondary education and introduces readers to that subfield of counseling.
- Community Serves Referrals: This document from the University of Nevada, Reno, contains contact information for organizations and public services in Reno and elsewhere, which counselors can use to make contacts or refer clients.
- Nevada Board of Examiners: The official site of the state's board of examiners includes information on licensing, renewal, and other professional issues for counselors in Nevada.
- ACA Scholarships: The American Counseling Association offers several annual scholarships available to students across the country.
- Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs: CACREP certifies universities and other counseling programs, and its website contains information for students and professionals in the field.
Professional Organizations for Counselors
- Nevada Counseling Association: NCA promotes professional development of counselors in Nevada and advocates to the Nevada state legislature. The association provides continuing education credits, organizes conferences, and helps counseling professionals and students connect and share information and ideas.
- Nevada School Counseling Association: NVSCA unites school counselors within the state to highlight the efforts and importance of school counselors. The organization maintains that all schools should employ counselors and emphasizes the importance of school counseling to students working to achieve their educational and personal goals.
- State of Nevada Association of Addiction Professionals: SNAAP unites addiction professionals and supports ethics and diversity through their standards of practice. SNAAP maintains education programs and organizes conferences to help professionals develop effective treatment methods.