Counseling Licensure in Wisconsin
Wisconsin requires that counselors meet a specific series of metrics and conditions in order to obtain licensure as a counselor. There are two levels of licensure, the Professional Counselor Trainee which is the title required to complete your supervised work experience and the full licensed the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
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The order of tasks you will need to complete the requirements to get your license in Wisconsin is as follows:
- Earn your Master’s degree in Counseling from an accredited program.
- Complete a practicum during your Master’s program.
- Apply to become a Professional Counselor Trainee.
- Pass a criminal background check.
- Complete the supervised experience portion.
- Apply for and take your National Counselor Examination (NCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
- Apply for your Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title.
Wisconsin law requires you meet the following requirements:
- Earn your Bachelor’s degree in Counseling or a related behavioral science such as Social Work, Human Services, Marriage and Family Therapy or Psychology.
- Get accepted to a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited Master of Counseling program or one that is accredited by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.
- Complete a 3 semester hour supervised work experience practicum during your Graduate program.
Apply for the Professional Counselor Trainee Title
In order to begin accumulating supervised work experience, you will need to apply for your title.
- Apply with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services to become a Professional Counselor Trainee.
- Pass a criminal background check.
- You can find the form for supervised experience permission here:
You must complete a number of years of supervised professional experience depending on your education.
- If you have a Master’s degree you must complete 3000 hours of supervised experience during a minimum of two years.
- 1000 hours of this must be providing mental health services to clients.
- If you have completed a Ph.D. program this is reduced to 1000 hours.
- You must have a board approved supervisor they can be a LPC, Psychiatrist or Psychologist that is currently licensed in Wisconsin.
Apply for and Take Your Exam
After completing your supervised professional experience portion, you must now complete the exam portion of the requirements.
- You must apply with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services to take your exam.
- You must take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Mental Health Counselors Exam (NMHCE) as administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) and pass with a score acceptable to the Department of Safety and Professional Services.
Apply for Your License
After completing all of the above steps you are now ready to apply for your full license.
- You must apply with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services for your title Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
- You must include all the relevant materials and verifications.
- You can find the form here:
You are required by law to renew your license every two years if you want to continue to practice in Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin requires 30 hours of Continuing Education prior to each renewal.
- You are required to complete 4 hours of professional ethics classes.
You will always want to stay abreast of any significant changes to code or law by routinely visiting the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services website which you can find here: