Counseling Licensure in North Dakota
North Dakota is rare among states in that it has three levels of licensure for counselors. The first level is the Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC), this level gives you limited practice rights related to attaining supervised experience for higher levels of licensure. The Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) is the primary licensure level and will allow you to have a full practice as a counselor. Some will want to attain the highest level of licensure the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). While not required to practice counseling, the LPCC does grant the title holder certain benefits.
In order to attain all the levels of licensure you will need to perform the following prerequisites:
- Finish school by earning your Master of Counseling from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling (CACREP) accredited school.
- Complete a practicum or internship during your graduate studies.
- Pass a criminal background check.
- Apply to the North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners to receive your Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC) 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 Dakota.
- You have additional educational and experience requirements if you wish to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) which will be outlined below.
North Dakota requires that its counselors earn their Master of Counseling degree from an accredited program.
- To begin your educational goals you will want to obtain a 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.
- If you want to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) you will also need to complete an 800 hour practicum and Internship which has appropriate supervision.
Apply for and Take Your NCE or NCMHCE
Once you have completed your educational component you will be able to take your NCE.
- Apply to the North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners to take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
- Pass the NCE with a score acceptable under North Dakota board rules.
- If you want to become a LPCC you will need to pass the National Mental Health Counselor Examination (NMHCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) with a score acceptable to the board.
Apply for your LAPC Title
In order to advance to the LPC level of licensure you will need to complete a supervised experience portion, this in turn requires that you have a temporary license known as the LAPC title.
- Apply to the North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners for the LAPC title.
- This will require that you provide proof of educational attainment as well as your NCE test score.
- You will also be required to outline a two year supervised experience plan.
- You can find the correct form here:
North Dakota has a strict requirement for supervised experience for both the LPC and LPCC levels of licensure which is as follows:
- Pass a criminal background check.
- You must accumulate a minimum of 800 hours of direct therapy experience with clients, with a minimum of 400 hours per year of client contact per year of experience.
- There must be a record of 100 hours of supervision that must include a minimum of 60 hours of one-on-one experience with the balance being in individual or group supervision form.
- Your supervisor must have a current license in North Dakota and can be licensed as an LPC, LPCC, a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist or a related Mental Health worker who is licensed and has a minimum of a Master’s degree in their discipline.
- If you wish to become an LPCC, you will need 3000 hours of supervised experience.
- You must submit a videotape of one of your counseling session to be appraised by the board. This taped session must be a minimum of one half hour in length.
- You will need to present the board with at least three professional letters of recommendation from mental health professionals you have had contact with.
Apply for your LPC or LPCC Title
You are now ready to apply for your full licensure title of LPC, or if you have met the additional requirements the LPCC title.
- Apply to the North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners for the LPC title.
- You can find the form here:
- If you are applying to become a LPCC, you will need to provide three professional letters of recommendation from Mental Health professionals who have worked with you.
- You can find the LPCC title here:
Continuing Education and License Renewal
North Dakota law states that you must renew your license every two years. You will need to have completed continuing education requirements regardless of your licensure level.
- You will need to have 40 hours of continuing education credits for every two year period of licensure.
- You must have 10 credit hours that are related to clinical practice.
You will want to periodically review the North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners website to see if any changes or modifications have been made to licensure rules and regulations. You can find the website here: