Counseling Licensure in North Carolina
North Carolina is one of the states that have multiple levels of licensure depending on experience. The first level of licensure is known as the Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA). You will use the LPCA title to gain experience until you have sufficient supervised experience to apply to become the full level of licensure known as the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
You will need to complete the following steps in order to gain first your Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) and eventually the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) titles:
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- Meet the educational requirement of having your Master of Counseling degree from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling accredited university.
- Complete a practicum or internship during your graduate studies.
- Pass a criminal background check.
- Apply to the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors to receive your Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) title.
- Accumulate the required hours for your supervised experience requirement.
- Apply to take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
- Apply to the state board to receive your Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title in the state of North Carolina.
North Carolina has the requirement of earning an accredited Master’s degree as well as completing a practicum or internship before the provisional LPCA title will be granted.
- To start your journey towards licensure you will want to begin by earning your Bachelor’s degree in Counseling or a highly related Social or Behavioral Science field such as Psychology, Social Work or Human Services.
- Apply to a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited Master of Counseling program, or a Council on Counseling Rehabilitation (CORE in the case of rehabilitation counselors) program.
- North Carolina requires that your Master’s program include a practicum or internship where you have at least 300 hours of experience under the supervision of a qualified supervisor.
- You must have 17 hours of graduate counseling supervision from a qualified supervisor.
- You will need to be supervised during at least one out of every 40 hours of experience during your practicum or internship.
- You supervisor should be a Licensed Professional Counselor with a current license in the state of North Carolina.
Apply for and Take Your NCE or NCMHCE
- The next step is to apply for and take your exam:
Apply to the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors to take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) or National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
- Pass the NCE with a score acceptable under North Carolina regulations.
Apply for Your LPCA License
Earning your Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) is a requirement before you can gain supervised experience.
- You will need to apply with the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors to receive your Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) title and begin your supervised experience.
- You can find the application form here:
Supervised Experience LPC
To become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) you will need to meet the requirements for supervised experience. With your LPCA title, you can now begin the process of accumulating your supervised experience.
- Pass a criminal background check.
- You will need to accrue 3000 hours of supervised experience.
- You must work a minimum of 8 hours of supervised experience per week and no more than 40 hours.
- You must complete all experience after earning your Master of Counseling degree.
- 2000 hours is the minimum requirement for direct counseling work with clients.
- 100 hours must be individual face to face supervision, and one hour per 40 hours you earn, by your supervisor who can be licensed as an LPC, a Clinical Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner or a Clinical Nurse who has a Master’s degree and appropriate psychiatric credentialing.
- You must have a minimum of 75 hours of one-on-one supervision; the remaining 25 may be in group form.
Pass the Jurisprudence Exam for North Carolina
- You will need to pass the North Carolina Jurisprudence exam and pass it before applying for your LPC title.
Apply for Your LPC Title
Once you have passed your NCE you may apply for your full LPC license.
- Apply to the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors for your LPC title.
- You can find the appropriate form here:
Continuing Education and License Renewal
North Carolina requires that you renew your license every two years. You will need to have completed continuing education requirements at that time.
- You will need to have 40 hours of continuing education credits for every two year period of licensure.
It is always a good idea to keep up to date on any changes to rules, regulations or laws around licensure by visiting the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors website periodically. You can find the site’s here: