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Becoming a Counselor in Indiana

Interested in counseling? In Indiana, addictions counselors may be licensed at the bachelor's or master's level. The Clinical Addiction Counselor designation is for individuals with degrees at the master’s level or higher, though individuals who meet grandfathering requirements and submit applications prior to the end of 2012 may also receive the credential.

You will need master’s level education to become either a school counselor or a mental health counselor. Here are some tips to get started.

counseling student

If you are a High School Student or hold your diploma/GED in Indiana:

Step 1:

There is no required undergraduate major, but some programs may favor candidates with backgrounds in social sciences or education. There are many items the admission committee will look at: resume, transcripts, test scores, personal statement, references. Graduate programs often set minimum GPA's between 2.7 and 3.0, though students are occasionally admitted with less. Learn more about your undergraduate counseling program options here.

An undergraduate degree in Psychology is common preparation for graduate school in the field of counseling.

Put in a strong academic performance as an undergraduate.

Step 2:

Try to get some experience in the field. You can start by volunteering and work your way up. Searching for an internship? You might check the website of Mental Health America of Indiana.

If you currently hold a 4-year Degree:

Step 1:

If you're interested in school counseling, enroll in a graduate program in guidance counseling that will prepare you to work with students of different ages. Indiana issues one credential for school counselors from pre-k up to grade 12.

If your special is mental health counseling, you’ll need 60 semester hours of preparation; a degree program as short as 48 semester hours is acceptable as long as you make up the difference with additional classes. You will need coursework in 12 content areas identified by the Board. You will also need 1,000 hours of combined practicum and internship.

To become a clinical addictions counselor, you may enroll in a graduate program in addictions counseling or a related field. Your program must include 27 semester hours of coursework in the specific content areas required by the Board. You will need 700 hours of practicum, internship, or other field experience. If you enroll in a CACREP-accredited addiction counseling program, it will be 60 semester hours – this option may provide you with more flexibility down the line.

Step 2:

As a school counseling graduate, you can apply for your Initial Practitioner license immediately. You will need an institutional recommendation. You will also need certification in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.

Step 3:

As a mental health counseling graduate, you can begin working under supervision, but you will not actually be licensed. You will need at least 21 months of experience working under supervision. You will need to accrue 3,000 hours. (If you are in a doctoral program, you can begin accruing hours before degree completion.)

*Find more detailed mental health counselor licensure information here.

Licensure as a clinical addictions counselor will require two years of experience.

If you hold an initial license as a school counselor, you will need to complete the Indiana Mentor and Assessment program (or Fellowship) before you get your Proficient Practitioner License.

Step 4:

Licensure as a mental health counselor also depends on receiving passing scores on the NCMHCE. Board permission is required to test.

Step 5:

The Behavioral Health and Human Services Board has recently instituted a background check as a requirement for licensure.

If you currently have a Master's degree:

If you have a master's is in a field that’s related to therapy or counseling, you may enroll in additional coursework to achieve addiction counselor licensing. You should look for programs recognized or accredited by CACREP, NAADAC, ICRP, CAMFTE, APA, or CSWE.

Indiana Counselor Licensing and Certification Agencies:

Behavioral Health and Human Services Board

Indiana Department of Education

A Sample of Schools Offering Bachelor's and Master's Programs

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*Most states require completion of a CACREP accredited master's in counseling program or a program
that covers very specific curriculum in order to be licensed as a counselor. It is recommend that you follow up
with your state licensing board to review specific educational requirements and determine whether a
program meets your state's counselor licensure requirements.