Counseling Licensing Requirements in New Hampshire
New Hampshire counseling licensure allows you to legally treat mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders in the state. In New Hampshire, counseling professionals must obtain a clinical mental health counselor license. Candidates need to obtain a master's degree, pass a clinical skills exam, and complete a period of supervised work experience. You should also apply for a provisional license before completing the work experience requirement.
The information below describes how to become a licensed counselor in New Hampshire. If you have questions, contact the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice.
Counseling Careers in New Hampshire
Licensed counselors are in high demand due to the variety of emotional, societal, and psychological pressures affecting individuals of all ages. There are many available career paths, including school, marriage, and substance abuse counseling. Counselors can select their desired client base, specialization, work environment, and employment status. Counselors may work for a private company, public agency, or nonprofit. They may also start their own private practice.
Professionals with New Hampshire counseling licensure can pursue many different career opportunities, including those listed below.
- Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: Educational, guidance, and school counselors work with students of varying educational levels. These counselors address emotional, behavioral, family, and study skills. High school counselors also assist students with making college and career decisions, and often facilitate the application process. Vocational counselors help adult clients identify and hone existing skills, set career goals, practice interviewing techniques, and search for jobs.
- Marriage and Family Therapists: These counselors assist clients with understanding, processing, and improving problems affecting marital and family relationships, including career stress and substance abuse. Strategies typically include behavior modification, communication, and goal-setting. Therapists also refer clients to other resources, including support groups.
- Rehabilitation Counselors: These professionals assist individuals with disabilities. They help clients live independently through the development and implementation of treatment plans. Services depend on the age and disability of each client, but often include consultations with medical professionals, arrangements for mobility assistance, and job training.
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors work closely with clients struggling with addiction and other challenges. These counselors develop treatment plans and partner with clients and families to change destructive behaviors and implement coping strategies. Mental health counselors assist clients coping with various issues, including grief, depression, stress, and anxiety.
- Counselors, All Other: Counselors help people process their feelings, alter destructive behavior, and make positive life changes. Nonprofit organizations, religious institutions, civic groups, and residential care facilities all hire counselors to work with their clients. Specific responsibilities vary based on each organization’s mission.
|Occupation||Average Salary in New Hampshire|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$58,090|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$41,720|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$42,840|
|Counselors, All Other||$32,860|
Other Professionals Who Can Be Licensed as Counselors
Professionals in closely related fields may also qualify for licensure. The American Art Therapy Association reports that many art therapy programs are currently aligning their standards with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). New Hampshire allows qualified art therapists to earn a counselor license.
Education Requirements for Counselors
All potential counselors must complete a master’s or doctoral degree. New Hampshire requires students to complete at least 60 semester hours to qualify for a license. Your program must hold either CACREP accreditation or an academic equivalent. Non-CACREP programs should also hold regional accreditation. You can learn more about selecting a master's in counseling program here.
Online Counseling Programs in New Hampshire
Online programs provide the convenience and flexibility to earn your degree while you work, raise children, or pursue your personal interests. Most programs follow an asynchronous format, so you can access coursework at any time. However, many counseling programs require on-campus or in-person sessions.
Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester offers an online master of arts in clinical mental health counseling. This 60-credit program provides in-depth training for a counseling career, and students meet most state standards for licensure. In addition to online coursework, students must fulfill a minimum 100-hour practicum, two separate 300-hour internships, and two different residencies (five days each). Currently, the program does not accept students from New Jersey, Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kansas, and Illinois, due to licensing requirements in those states.
How Do You Become a Counselor in New Hampshire?
Candidates need to gather various supporting documents for the application process, including school transcripts and counseling exam scores. If you took the exam in a different state or more than two years prior to the application, you'll need to request verification from the NBCC. If you recently requested the exam using New Hampshire registration, the board should automatically receive your results.
You must also list three references, including at least one supervisor. You should give your references official reference forms, which they can sign and return in sealed envelopes. Click Here to find out more about the application. Your clinical supervisor must verify your supervised experience and include brief explanations of your work.
The application also asks for a resume and a recent photograph. All applicants pay a $150 application fee, made out to the State of New Hampshire. Successful candidates must pay a separate licensing fee later.
The New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice offers a detailed fee schedule for counselor licensing. Not all fees apply to every individual counselor. For example, several fees relate to lapsed licensing and replacement needs.
However, every counselor seeking a New Hampshire license must submit the license application review fee alongside the application form. When approved, the counselor must pay the approved license application fee. In addition, the state requires renewal fees every two years.
The following table includes every mandatory and optional fee related to counselor licensing in New Hampshire.
|License Application Review Fee||$150|
|Approved License Application Fee||$135|
|Renewal Fee (two years)||$270|
|Renewal Fee (two years and dual license)||$350|
|Candidate Agreement Review Fee (Supervising Counselor)||$25|
|Inactive Fee for One Year||$67.50|
|Duplicate or Replacement License||$10|
|Wall License Replacement||$10|
|Written License Verification||$10|
|Electronic Mailing List of Licensees||$25|
|Letter of Good Standing||$25|
|Bill of Rights - additional copy||$10|
The Licensing Exam
In order to meet counselor requirements in New Hampshire, you need to pass a licensing exam. New Hampshire uses the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), administered by the NBCC. To sign up, you must show documentation that you have completed a master's degree that meets minimum curricular standards. Make sure to request an official transcript in advance.
You can download an application directly from the NBCC. You must print the form, sign it in ink, and send the original copy to the NBCC, along with a $195 fee and original transcripts in unopened envelopes. The NBCC will process your fee and then your application. This process will take about a month. When you receive confirmation of eligibility, you can schedule your test at a computerized testing center.
After receiving confirmation, you have a six month window in which to schedule your exam. Exams are available during a two week block each month. Try to schedule well in advance of the day you plan to test, since seats often fill up.
Supervised Practice Requirement
Like most other states, New Hampshire requires candidates to work under supervision for two years before qualifying for a full license. During this time, you should accumulate at least 3,000 hours of experience.
All candidates work under a clinical supervisor. Your clinical supervisor may be a different person than your work supervisor. Your clinical supervisor will guide your professional development and evaluate you for licensure purposes. If your clinical supervisor does not hold employment at your workplace, they must obtain a written agreement allowing them to review files.
The terms of your supervision will be spelled out in your candidate for licensure agreement. You can see a sample form on the site of the Board of Mental Health Practice. On the form, you answer some professional fitness questions, identify your place of employment, and name your supervisor. Your supervisor will also need to answer questions. You and your supervisor need to formulate goals together; these will be included in the materials you submit to the board.
If you are completing your supervision in another state, you do not need to file a candidate for licensure agreement in New Hampshire.
Out-of-State Counselor Candidates
If you have been licensed in another state, you must obtain license verifications. The New Hampshire board must receive these verifications in signed, sealed envelopes. Although New Hampshire does not hold specific reciprocity agreements with other states, the board will review your credentials and offer a license if you meet substantially similar requirements.
License Maintenance and Renewal
You should renew your license every two years. During that time, you must earn 40 continuing education credits, including at least six in ethics.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in New Hampshire
- The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester: In addition to delivering mental health services to clients, this organization provides continuing education unit training opportunities to mental health, substance abuse, and marriage and family counselors. Trainings include mental health first aid courses for adults, youth, or veterans; cultural competency; ethics; and evidence-based practices. An annual spring training conference offers additional professional development sessions.
- New Hampshire Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors Association/New Hampshire Training Institute on Addictive Disorders: This nonprofit organization delivers training and continuing education units to New Hampshire addiction counselors. In-person events include suicide risk and prevention, supervision of peer support staff, and general administrative rules review. Approximately 30 webinars also provide continuing education units, and cover topics including teen culture, screening for problem gambling, and psychopharmacology.
- NetCE: The New Hampshire Board of Mental Health honors continuing education units earned through organizations approved by the National Board for Certified Counselors. New Hampshire counselors can earn CEUs online at their convenience through NetCE. The extensive menu of courses includes ethics for counselors (required in New Hampshire), behavioral addictions, and postpartum depression.
Resources for Counselors
- Campaign to Change Direction New Hampshire: New Hampshire healthcare professionals, lawmakers, educators, and law enforcement collaboratively launched the first statewide promotion of the Campaign to Change Direction. This nationwide effort seeks to increase awareness of mental health disorders -- and reduce the stigma around them -- through outreach initiatives, events, and publicity.
- New Hampshire Center for Excellence: This advocacy group supports drug and alcohol abuse recovery by delivering resources, technical assistance, and timely data to substance abuse counselors and support organizations. The center receives funding through New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and various state and federal government divisions.
- New Hampshire Bureau of Behavioral Health: This division of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services supports mental health services for adults and children statewide. Local community mental health centers and peer support agencies deliver direct assistance.
- New Hampshire Association of School Psychologists: This professional organization provides school psychologists with resources, education opportunities, and regional meetings. The association also aims to influence government policies affecting the education and the wellbeing of children and families.
Professional Organizations for Counselors
- New Hampshire Mental Health Counselors’ Association: This chapter of the American Mental Health Counselors’ Association advocates for mental health counselors and their clients. The group provides educational resources to its members and the public, and has successfully advocated for state policies regulating counselor training and licensing. Members can obtain assistance with the state licensing process.
- NH Providers Association: This association works to improve the outcomes of alcohol and drug abuse programs and influence state policies impacting these programs. Members include substance abuse counselors, alcohol and drug service providers, agency leaders, and students. The organization provides members with resources, continuing education training, events, legal advice, and vendor discounts.
- American Association of Pastoral Counselors - Northeast Region: This organization promotes the field of pastoral counseling through professional development and networking opportunities. The association also aims to raise awareness of the methods and benefits of this type of counseling. The Northeast Region’s leadership is based in Salem, New Hampshire. The association provides educational resources, special events, and guidance for attaining pastoral counseling licensure.