Counseling Licensure Requirements in Arkansas
You will need to meet a variety of requirements in order to attain licensure status in Arkansas. There are two levels of licensure in Arkansas. The first is the Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC), this license is meant to be a provisional license that one obtains in order to be able to fulfill their supervised work experience requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). You may practice as an LAC without further licensure, but must then always work under the supervision of an LPC with the proper supervisor certification. The Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) gives one the full range of counseling range as provided by Arkansas law. You will want to review the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling (ABEC) website to get up to date details, which you can find here:
You will need to meet the following requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Arkansas.
- Earn your Master’s degree in counseling and pre-requisite education.
- Apply for your LAC license.
- Earn the required hours of Supervised Experience.
- Apply with the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling (ABEC) to take your exam and pass with an acceptable score the National Counselor Examination (NCE).
The first piece you must complete is
- Earn your Bachelor of Science in Counseling or a highly related degree such as Psychology, Social Work or Human Services with the BS in Counseling being the preferred degree.
- Apply for and be accepted to a Master of Counseling program with a school that is accredited by the US Department ofEducation, the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE, in the case of Rehab. Counselors) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Apply for Limited Licensure
In order to being to earn your required supervised experience you will need to do the following:
- Apply for and be given your Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) title.
- Supply three letters of reference, two must be from Mental Health Professionals.
- Write a statement of intent as to what your practice will entail upon becoming licensed.
- You can find the form for the LAC here:
Once you have obtained your LAC title, you will need to complete the following supervised experience element:
- You must now earn 3000 hours of supervised experience in a clinical mental health setting which must occur over a 3 to 6 year time period.
- This experience must be under the directions of an ABEC certified supervisor.
- You can reduce the number of hours you need by doing post-graduate school work with each 30 semester hours of course work reducing your hours by 1000. This can only reduce 2000 hours of supervised experience.
- You may also reduce the supervised work experience requirement by taking the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) examination known as the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).
- All applicants must do a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised experience.
Apply to Take and Pass Exam
You must then prepare for, apply and take your exam.
- You must now apply with the ABEC to take your examination.
- You will need to pass an exam administered by the NBCC.
- Either the National Counselor Exam (NCE)
- Pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)
- Pass the Oral exam administered by ABEC.
- Submit proof all test scores and fill out the form to become an LPC here:
- As with most states, Arkansas requires Licensed Professional Counselors to take continuing education credits.
- You must complete 24 hours of continuing education credits every two years.
- Of the 24 credit hours, you must complete 22 hours that relate directly to your statement of intent provided during your application process.
- Two hours must be in ethics.
Arkansas accepts a variety of credentialing for various specializations in Counseling as provided by the NBCC and others. They also have special credentialing for those who wish to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who specializes in supervising those working towards obtaining licensure. It is wise to review all the current laws and regulations including those around specialized credentialing which you can learn about here: