A State by State Counselor Guide

Licensed Professional Counselor Requirements in Oregon

Oregon has two levels of credentialing: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Intern. If you are beginning your career in Oregon, you will work as an intern while accruing the experience that you need to practice without supervision. The requirements will be slightly different if you began your career elsewhere.

Below is a detailed guide to counselor licensure and the LPC requirements in Oregon. If at any time you have questions about the process or want to make sure you are on the right path, contact the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists at lpct.board@state.or.us or call: 503-378-5499

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LPC Required Education in Oregon

The foundation for practice is a graduate level education. You will need at least two semester hours (or three quarter hours) in each of the following:

  • Human growth and lifespan development
  • Counseling theory
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Helping relationships
  • Group dynamics
  • Research and evaluation
  • Individual appraisal and diagnosis
  • Professional orientation
  • Lifestyle and career development

You will also need to have clinical applied experience as part of your degree plan.

Additionally, you will need at least 16 semester hours of supporting coursework in specialty areas.

If you have a master's in a mental health field, but lack specific coursework, you will be allowed to make it up by taking additional graduate courses.

If your master's degree was not accredited by CACREP or CORE or specifically board-approved, your school will fill out a worksheet showing which courses meet which curricular requirements; this will be a part of your application file.

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

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Supervised Experience

You will need to work under supervision as an intern before you can become licensed as a professional counselor (http://www.oregon.gov/OBLPCT/experience.shtml). You will need to accrue 2,400 hours of client contact hours. 2,000 will need to be post-degree; you can count up to 400 earned in your degree program. Hours will need to be verified by your school when you apply.

You should be aware that not all work activities count as clinical experience. You may not, for example, count hours you spend in case management, training, or program administration.

As an intern, you will have a clinical supervisor who reviews records such as case notes and audiotapes and meets with you individually (and possibly also in a small group setting).

Your supervisor will not necessarily need to be someone who is on site at your workplace. You are permitted to contract with a supervisor from outside.

The board maintains a list of professional counselors who have been approved as supervisors. However, you do not have to select one from the list. Your supervisor can be another mental health professional, for example, a psychologist. Whatever the professional designation, the person will need to have training in supervision.

You will need at least two hours of supervision each month; this will suffice for up to 45 client contact hours. You will need three hours if you have 46 or more client contact hours.

Group supervision is acceptable in some circumstances. It may not count for more than 50% of the total supervision hours, however. Electronic communication is permissible for up to 75% of your supervision hours.

You will report clinical hours and supervision earned each month. You must have appropriate supervision every month for your experience to be counted.

An internship experience plan will be required as part of your initial application.

You will renew your intern status each year. You are expected to complete supervision requirements within five years. You may petition for a sixth year provided you can show good cause.

Examination Requirements

You will need to pass two tests: a licensing exam and a test of Oregon's laws and rules: Click Here to see the laws and rules in full detail.

The licensing exam is the National Counselor Examination or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. You will need to get approval from the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors & Therapists before you can sit for the exam.

Once approved, you will mail your application form, along with a $195 testing fee, to the National Board for Certified Counselors. Your fee gives you a six month window in which to schedule your test. You will contact Pearson VUE to schedule an exam. Exams are given via computer year round, the first two full weeks of the month.

You will find Pearson VUE testing sites in the cities listed below:

  • Beaverton
  • Medford
  • Portland
  • Salem

You may email exam@cce-global.org if you have questions about exam registration.

You can take the Laws and Rules Examination at home – there is a copy posted on the Board website.

The Application Process

Some materials will be required at first application, whether you apply as an intern or a professional counselor. Click Here for the application form.

You will need to have a criminal history check completed. You may have your fingerprints made through LiveScan or through the traditional method. (The exception is if you've already had your fingerprints done in the past year by an agency the board approves. In that case, you can instead submit verification.)

You will also need a professional disclosure statement. This includes information important for your clients: for example, your background, education, counseling philosophy, and fees. The statement must also include board contact information. You can see a sample at the board site (http://www.oregon.gov/oblpct/Pages/Forms.aspx). The statement must be approved before you start work, but you may revise it at any time. The board will not contact you about revisions unless there is some problem.

You should have your graduate school mail your transcripts directly to the Oregon board.

The cost of application, including criminal background check, is $172.25.

You should mail your application materials to the following address:
Board of Counselors & Therapists
3218 Pringle Road SE, Suite 250
Salem, OR 97302-6312

Out of State Applicants

Although the NCE is the exam routinely administered in Oregon, the board will also accept the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination and the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination. If you have already taken a licensing exam, you can have your state board verify it.

If you have a current, active license elsewhere, and you have not been disciplined, you may be a candidate for licensure by reciprocity. You will need to show that you have a graduate degree and have passed a licensing exam.

As a candidate for a reciprocal license, you will be expected to have 2,000 hours of supervised experience; if you have been in active practice for a while, however, your years of professional work may substitute for part of the supervised practice requirement. You may substitute five years of clinical experience (earned post-licensure) for 1,000 hours of the supervised practice requirement.

Five years of post-licensure experience can be substituted for up to 15 semester hours of coursework. You may not, however, use experience in place of the required diagnosis training.

If you are registered with the National Credentials Registry, you may use this to demonstrate education and experience requirements.

If you completed supervised experience elsewhere, but are not a candidate for reciprocity, you may apply using the direct method. You will be expected to demonstrate the full number of supervised clinical experience hours.

Other Professionals who can be Licensed as Professional Counselors

Oregon defines qualifying degrees somewhat broadly (http://www.oregon.gov/OBLPCT/license_flowchart.pdf). Professionals in related fields who meet all standards may be candidates for licensure. Rehabilitation counselors are eligible for licensure within the state. According to the American Art Therapy Association (2009), art therapists can also be licensed as counselors in Oregon.

License Maintenance

You will renew your license on even-numbered years. You will need 40 clock hours of continuing education during each two year period. At least six of these must be in ethics. If your initial license period is less than the usual two years, you should contact the board to see how many hours you will be expected to complete.

You will provide a summary of your continuing education when you renew. Keep documentation of all your hours -- 10% of renewals will be audited.

If you are seriously ill or will not be in practice for an extended time period, you may contact the board about getting a waiver.

You will need to be fingerprinted every five years.

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 Oregon.

You may email the board at lpct.board@state.or.us or call: 503-378-5499. You will find additional contact information at http://www.oregon.gov/oblpct/Pages/contact_us.aspx.

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