Massachusetts

Counseling Licensure in Massachusetts

Every state has its own set of rules and regulations around the licensure of counselors. Massachusetts has only one level of licensure the Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) which requires a combination of Master’s level education, the passing of exams, background checks and supervised work experience to gain the title of LMHC. You may want to spend some time browsing the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals website which you can find here:

Massachusetts requires that you complete the following steps in order to gain the tile of Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC):


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  1. Earn your Master of Counseling degree from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited university.
  2. Complete a practicum as part of your graduate studies.
  3. Complete an internship during your Master’s program.
  4. Pass a criminal background check.
  5. Apply to take your National Mental Health Counselor Examination (NMHCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
  6. Accumulate sufficient hours of supervised experience to meet the board standards.
  7. Apply to the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals to receive your Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) title.

Educational Requirements

Massachusetts has the following requirements as part of your education component for licensure as a LMHC:

  1. You will first need to obtain your Bachelor’s degree in Counseling. This is considered the best option; if your Bachelor’s degree is not in counseling then it will need to be a highly related Behavioral Science field such as Psychology, Social Work or Human Services.
  2. The second step is to apply to and get accepted into a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited Master of Counseling program.
  3. Your graduate program must include a practicum.
  4. The practicum must have a minimum of 100 of supervised experience during your graduate studies with 40 hours of client contact or lab work and designed role play scenarios with fellow graduate students. You must have 25 hours of direct supervision including 10 hours of one-on-one supervision and at least 5 hours of group supervision.
  5. You must then complete an internship
  6. The internship will require a full 600 hours of experience prior to receiving your Master’s diploma. This must include 240 hours of direct client work and at least 45 hours of direct supervision. You must have 15 hours of one-on-one supervision and 15 hours of group supervision minimum.

Apply for and Take Your NCMHCE

The next step is to apply for and take your exam:

  • Apply to the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals to sit for your National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
    • You can find the form here:
  • Pass the NMHCE with a score acceptable to the Board.

Supervised Experience

To earn your Licensed Mental Health Counselor title, you will need to complete the following amount of supervised experience:

  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • You will need to complete a full 3360 hours of supervised experience.
  • You must complete this experience in two years, unless you are working part-time in which case you can have up to six years.
  • 960 hours must be in the form of direct client counseling.
  • 25 hours of the supervised experience can be group counseling of clients.
  • You must have direct supervision for one hour out of every 16 hours of direct client contact.
  • You must have 130 hours of supervision total.
  • 75 hours must be in the form of individual face to face supervision.
  • You can begin accumulating your experience once you have 60 semester hours of course work during your graduate studies.
  • Your supervisor should be an LMHC or a board approved supervisor.

Apply for Your LMHC License

Once you have completed all of your required supervised experience and exams you are eligible to apply for your LMHC title.

  • Apply to the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals to receive your Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) title.
  • You will need two letters of recommendation from supervisors during your supervised professional experience.
    • You can find the appropriate form here:

Renewing License and Continuing Education

Massachusetts law requires that you renew your license every two years. You will need to have continuing education in-between license renewals.

  • Earn 30 credit hours of continuing education in order to renew your license.

You will want to read more about continuing education and also keep up to date on licensing laws by going to the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals website periodically. You can find the website find here: