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Missouri Licensed Professional Counselor Requirements

The Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors issues counseling licenses at two levels. You can be licensed as a Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor as soon as you've completed your education, passed an exam, and submitted paperwork to the board. In order to attain full licensure as an LPC, you'll need to meet experience requirements.

The information here is designed to guide you along the path to counseling licensure in Missouri. If at anytime you have questions or would like to make sure you are on the right path, contact the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors at profcounselor@pr.mo.gov.

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Education

In order to get your provisional license, you must have a master's degree in counseling, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, school psychology, or counseling and guidance (See: http://pr.mo.gov/boards/counselors/lpcslidesgeneralwebsite.pdf to learn more). Your degree should be at least 48 semester hours (or the equivalent if terms are shorter than a semester). You can convert quarter hours to semester hours by multiplying by .66.

Capella University, offers three online CACREP- accredited master's programs: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, and School Counseling. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs.

You must take coursework in all of the following:

  • Helping relationships
  • Human growth and development
  • Counseling theory
  • Individual appraisal
  • Career development
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Research methods
  • Group dynamics
  • Professional orientation
  • Diagnosis

You must also have a six semester hour practicum.

Your program must be conducted in a way that allows verbal and visual communication. Since May 30, 2009, coursework that is offered primarily through correspondence, and other formats that offer a full communication experience, have been disallowed by the Missouri board.

If you took a program that was shorter than what Missouri requires, you may make up courses.

Learn more about selecting a Master's in Counseling program here.

Licensing Exam

You will need to take the National Counselor Examination through the National Board for Certified Counselors before you can obtain your provisional license. You can download registration form from either the Mississippi board site or the NBCC site. You will need to sign the form in ink. It must be accompanied by two things: a $185 fee and an official sealed transcript that shows the date you got your master’s.

Allow a month for your application to be approved, then register at your choice of AMP testing centers. There are four Missouri sites: Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield, and St. Louis. You can opt for a testing center in another state if you prefer. Once you’ve got your acceptance, you may visit www.goAMP.com.

If you are enrolled in a CACREP-accredited program, you may be able to take the NCE before graduation; this is the only instance in which the NBCC allows candidates to test prior to conferral of their master’s. If this you, you should see your department about fees and registration.

Jurisprudence Exam

You will also need to take a jurisprudence exam (a test of Missouri laws and regulations). This is open book and administered via internet. You can find it at www.i-counseling.net. You don't have this requirement out of the way to get your provisional status, but you'll need to complete it before applying for LPC status.

You will pay the $45 fee electronically when you take the test (See: Jurisprudence Exam Information (PDF)). The exam is untimed, but you are encouraged to spend some time reviewing the laws and regulations beforehand. You can visit http://pr.mo.gov/counselors.asp or ask the board to send you a copy.

Supervised Practice

If your highest degree is a master's, you will work under supervision for a minimum of 24 months (See: Supervised Practice FAQ (PDF)). During this time, you must work at least 3,000 hours, spending at least 1,200 hours providing direct client care. (The remaining hours may be spent in other counseling-related activities like developing treatment plans, documenting cases, and attending seminars.)

All hours should be completed post-master's. If you have a degree higher than the master's level, though, you may be able to count some hours spent while completing your education; you should contact the board. As a doctoral level provisional licensee, you may be able to complete requirements in fewer than 24 months.

You may work part-time, and take longer than two years to accrue your 3,000 hours, but you will be expected to meet the experience requirement within five years. You must work at least 15 hours a week while accruing experience.

While working as a PLPC, you will be supervised by a Licensed Professional Counselor or by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Your clinical supervisor doesn't necessarily have to be an administrator at your workplace. If it's someone from outside, though, there needs to a formal contract. You can obtain a model contract from the board.

Before you can get your provisional license, you will need to register a supervision plan. If you need to make changes to your supervisory plan, you must file them with the committee.

You should have an hour a week of face to face supervision. No more than half of your supervision hours may be group supervision (See: Post Degree Experience (PDF)).

You will be evaluated by your clinical supervisor(s), and their final evaluation will be sent to the committee.

You may begin counting your experience when your registration and fee are received by the committee. This is your official start date.

The Application Process

You don't have to submit an application for provisional status, but you need to provide supplemental materials. The committee will need to approve your supervision. They also need to receive NCE results, documentation of education, and results of your background check. Registration of supervision costs $75 (See: Rules and Regulations (PDF)).

If you are an in-state applicant, you should have your fingerprints done by L-1 Enrollment Services Division. You will schedule an appointment in advance -- the board reports that the actual fingerprinting process only takes ten minutes or so. You'll send a copy of your receipt to the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors.

There is a $100 application fee for LPC status. You can expect to pay other associated fees as you complete and document requirements.

The address to send the application for LPC status:

Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors
3605 Missouri Boulevard, P.O. Box 1335
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Here is a link to the Professional Counselor licensure application forms as well as additional materials you may need: Application Forms

Out of State Applicants

Applicants who have already completed supervision requirements fill out different paperwork. If you’re coming from out of state, you may document your supervision through a Verification of Post Degree Experience form or by having your licensing board forward your file (See: Application for Licensure Instructions (PDF)).

If you have a doctoral or specialist degree from another state and you did supervision hours as part of the degree, the committee may count them toward your supervision requirement. You are asked to contact the committee for additional information (Post-Degree Experience Instructions).

If you’re missing some coursework, you can include a plan with your application.

If you’re living out of state while completing the application process, have the Missouri board send you a fingerprint card. You can contact a local law enforcement agency about getting the fingerprints done.

License Maintenance

You will renew your LPC credential biannually. You must complete at least 40 hours of continuing education each renewal period. At least 20 of these will need to formal continuing education. After the reporting period ends, you should retain records for two more renewal cycles.

Additional Information

If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, or hold a bachelor's degree, check out suggested steps to take along the path to becoming a counselor in Missouri.

You can email the board at profcounselor@pr.mo.gov.

Other professional resources include the Missouri Mental Health Counselors Association (http://mmhca.com) and the American Counseling Association of Missouri (http://www.counselingmissouri.org).

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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.