Human Services Guide
       
 
West Virginia

Counseling Licensure in West Virginia

West Virginia features two levels of licensure the Provisional Licensed Counselor (PLC) and the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The PLC is the starter license which allows you to accumulate the experience needed to become an LPC.

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The following pre-requisites must be met to become a Provisional Licensed Counselor (PLC) and eventually a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in West Virginia:

  • The first step is to earn a master's or doctoral degree in clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling, pastoral counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, or substance abuse or addictions counseling accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the Council for the Accreditation for Education Preparation (CAEP); or a program through a school accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), or a comparable regional accrediting body.
  • Complete a practicum during your graduate studies.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Apply with the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title.
  • Apply to the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling to receive your Provisional Licensed Counselor (PLC) title.
  • Accumulate the necessary hours to complete the supervised experience requirement.
  • Apply to the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling to receive your Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title.

Educational Requirements

West Virginia law states that you will need to fulfill the following educational requirements if you wish to become licensed in counseling.

  • You probably will want to begin by attaining your Bachelor’s degree in Counseling. You will find that the majority of
  • Master of Counseling programs consider the Bachelor of Counseling to be the most favored degree for applicants. If you do not want to get a Bachelor of Counseling degree, then you will most certainly need to obtain a Bachelor’s in a highly related Behavioral Science discipline such as Psychology, Social Work or Human Services.
  • The next step is to enroll in a properly accredited master's or doctoral degree in clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling, pastoral counseling, rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, of substance abuse or addictions counseling.
  • You must complete a six semester hour practicum.

Apply for your PLC Title

  • You will now need to apply for your PLC Title.
  • Apply with the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling for your PLC Title.
  • You can find the form here: http://www.wvbec.org/popularforms/provisionallicenseeslpc.html
  • Pass a criminal background check.

Supervised Experience

If you want to go on to earn your LPC title you will now need to accrue the following supervised experience requirements:

  • Submit to the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling your plan for supervised experience which is included in your PLC application (link above).
  • You will need to complete 3000 hours over a two year period.
  • You will need a minimum of 1500 hours of direct client contact in which you deliver therapy services.
  • For those with Ph.D.’s in counseling you can reduce the overall hours required to 1500.
  • You will need one hour of supervision for every twenty hour block of practice you want to accumulate.
  • You will need to complete your supervised experience element within 3 years.
  • You will need to be supervised by an LPC, Psychiatrist or Psychologist who have an active license with the state.

Apply for Your LPC Title

  • You are now eligible to apply to the Committee for your full LPC title.
  • Apply to the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling for your LPC title.
  • You can find the appropriate form here:

Apply for and Take Your NCE

Now you will need to apply with the Committee to sit for the NCE:

  • Apply to the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling to take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) if you.
  • Pass the NCE with a score acceptable to the West Virginia Board.

Continuing Education and License Renewal

  • You must renew your license every two years. You must be able to show that you have earned Continuing Education credits.
  • You will need to complete 40 hours of continuing education credits.
  • Every few months it is a good idea to check out the state website to review any changes that may have occurred to the continuing education component by visiting the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling website which you can find here:
       
 
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