Counseling Licensure in Virginia
The rules for licensure of counselors in Virginia are fairly straightforward although rigorous. There is only one level of licensure in Virginia, the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Virginia. If you wish to strive towards earning the title of the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) there are several educational, examination and experience bench marks you will need to meet to attain licensure.
What follows is a step by step process of what you will need to complete to earn the title of Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Virginia:
- The first step in the process is to graduate with your Master of Counseling degree from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited university.
- Complete an internship during your graduate studies.
- You will be required to pass a criminal background check.
- Next you will need to accrue the required hours of supervised experience in a clinical setting.
- Apply to the Virginia Board of Counseling, so you can sit for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
- Apply to the Virginia Board of Counseling to receive your Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title.
Virginia law states that prospective Counselors will need to fulfill the following educational steps as part of the licensure process.
- There are several potential initial paths you can take however completing a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling is probably the easiest and wisest course. Most Graduate programs in Counseling will consider this to be the best option and will increase your chance of being accepted into a graduate program. If you choose to take a different course from earning a Bachelor of Counseling degree, then you will definitely want to earn a Bachelor’s in a closely related Social Science or Behavioral Science field, such as Psychology, Social Work or Human Services.
- The next 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.
- You will need to complete a 600 hour internship that has at least 240 hours of direct client service as part of the internship.
You will now be ready to move on to the Supervised Experience portion of the licensure process. You are required to fulfill the following obligations per the Virginia Board.
- Pass a criminal background check.
- Submit a supervised work experience plan to the board and have it approved.
- You will need to accumulate 4000 hours of supervised clinical practice.
- Of the 4000 hours you must have at least 2000 hours of direct client therapy service.
- If you had some form of supervised clinical experience during your graduate program you can count up to 600 hours if you were supervised by an LPC or their equivalent in another state. If your program was accredited by CACREP you may count up to 900 hours of the internship.
- You will need to contact the board for details on converting your internship hours into supervised work experience hours.
- You need 200 hours of supervision during your clinical work experience.
- Of these 50% must be individual one on one supervisor meetings.
- Your supervisor will report to the board quarterly on your progress.
- Your supervisor must be board approved and have had specialized supervisor training. They can be from a variety of
- Mental Health backgrounds and will need an active license in the state of Virginia.
Apply for and Take Your NCE
- You will are now eligible to apply with the board to take your NCE:
- You will now need to apply to the Virginia Board of Counseling so you can sit for your National Clinical Mental Heal
- Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
- You must then pass the NCMHCE with a score acceptable to the Virginia Board.
Apply for Your LPC License
Now that you have completed your supervised work experience portion, you can apply to the board for your LPC title.
- Apply to the Virginia Board of Counseling for your LPC title.
- The application form can be found here:
Continuing Education and License Renewal
- Virginia requires that you renew your license every year. You will need to complete continuing education credits during your license term.
- Virginia requires that you earn 20 hours of continuing education
- Two hours must be in professional ethics.
- You will want to take the time every few months to browse the Virginia Board of Counseling website to make sure you are up to date on current laws. You can find the website here: