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Licensed Professional Counselor Requirements in South Carolina

South Carolina has two levels of licensing. By completing educational and examination requirements, you can become a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern (LPC/I). After you fulfill a supervised practice application, you will be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

You will submit your initial application materials to South Carolina’s contracted credential review agency. When it’s time to transfer from intern to professional status, you will apply directly to the South Carolina Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Psycho-educational Specialists.

The information below is intended to guide you through the counselor licensure process in South Carolina. If at any point you have questions about LPC requirements in South Carolina or want to make sure you are on the correct path, call the South Carolina Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists at: (888) 817-8283. Questions or correspondence regarding application materials must be in writing: email cce@cce-global.org or fax (336) 482-2852.

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Education

Educational requirements are as follows:

You will need a graduate degree of at least 48 semester hours. Your degree program should be primarily counseling in nature. Your school must be accredited by a regional accrediting body or by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Learn more about selecting a Master's in Counseling program here.

You will need to have three semester hours, or 4.5 quarter hours, in each of the following content areas:

  • Human growth and development
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • The helping relationship
  • Group dynamics, processing and counseling
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Appraisal of individuals
  • Research and evaluation
  • Professional orientation
  • Psychopathology
  • Diagnostics of psychopathology

You will also need to do a supervised practicum of at least 150 hours; this must be done for academic credit.

If you plan to treat serious mental disorders, you should have an additional 600 hour internship. Your practicum should also address the treatment of serious mental disorders.

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.

If you have not met all the coursework requirements, you are allowed to make them up through additional graduate coursework.

Testing

You will need to take either the National Counselor Examination or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. Both are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

South Carolina contracts with the Center for Credentialing & Education (an affiliate of the NBCC) for educational review. You will submit your application materials to the CCE and, once they've approved your education, you will receive a registration form in the mail.

You will send the signed registration form, along with a $185 fee, to the NBCC. You are advised to do so at least 30 days before your preferred test date.

You will need to wait to receive confirmation from the NBCC before you schedule your exam. You will be allowed to test at any of the computer-based testing centers. Tests are administered six days a week for two weeks out of each month. South Carolina has three testing centers: Columbia, Georgetown, and Spartanburg.

If you have previously taken and passed either exam, you may submit a photocopy of your score report. If you do not have documentation, you will need to contact the NBCC Examination Department to have your scores verified. You may call (336) 547-0607.

Supervised Experience

You will need to attain at least 1,500 hours of clinical experience while working under supervision. At least 1,350 of your hours must involve direct client contact.

Additionally, you will need to have 150 hours of direct supervision by a professional counselor that meets South Carolina’s supervision standards. You can find a list of approved supervisors at http://www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/counselors.

At least 100 of your supervision hours must be individual, as opposed to small group. During your supervision sessions, you will share information about your individual clients and the treatment you are providing. Your supervisor may also make observations and conduct co-therapy sessions.

While your board-approved clinical supervisor will need to be a professional counselor, your on-site supervisor does not have to be.

Normally the supervision requirement is completed in two years, but you may apply for an extension.

The Application Process

You will send your initial application to CCE whether you are a candidate for intern status or an out-of-state professional seeking licensure by endorsement.

You may download the Application and Educational Review Form and other required materials from the CCE site: Application and other Materials (Opens in PDF).

If you are applying as an intern, you will need to submit a clinical supervision plan. You will fill out the top portion and your supervisor will complete it.

You will need to include a fee for $170 made out to "The Center for Credentialing & Education".

You will need a notarized affidavit attesting to the veracity of your application.

You will need to have your educational institution send official transcripts to CCE- SC Review, 3 Terrace Way, Greensboro, NC 27403.

You will use the following address to send your application and fee:

CCE- SC Review
PO Box 77759
Greensboro, NC 27417-7759

Once CCE has tentatively approved your qualifications, your file will be sent to the South Carolina board for final review.

It will take CCE approximately six weeks to review your materials. If you have not already taken the licensing exam, this will add to the timeline.

Transfer of Status

When you have finished your supervision requirements and are ready for the higher license, you will need to get confirmation forms and logs of hours from each supervisor. You will send a transfer request form directly to the board Transfer Request Information(PDF).

You will use the following address:

SC Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Psycho-educational Specialists
P O Box 11329
Columbia, SC 29211-1329

Out of State Applicants

As an out of state applicant, you will be expected to have comparable education and post-master supervised experience. You may apply by endorsement if you have an active license elsewhere. In order to be eligible for endorsement, you will need to maintain active status elsewhere while pursuing South Carolina licensure.

In addition to your application and educational form, you will need to submit a log of your supervised experience hours.

You will need to document your supervisor’s license information; this you can get from your state board.

You will need to get your supervised experience verified. You can do this in one of two ways: by individually contacting each supervisor or by contacting the state board where the information is on file.

If your verified hours fall short of South Carolina's requirements, you will be licensed as an intern until you fulfill the rest of your practice obligation. As a South Carolina counseling intern, you are allowed to work in private practice. You are not required to have an on-site supervisor, but you are required to have a readily available clinical supervisor who provides oversight and guidance.

If you completed supervision hours in another jurisdiction, but did not fulfill all the requirements needed for licensure, you may submit these to the South Carolina board for consideration. You should get your intern status first and then request that the board consider your hours and determine if some or all meet South Carolina standards.

You will fill out the top portion of the license verification form and submit it to your licensing agency along with any required fee.

If you have already taken one of the qualifying exams through the NBCC, you may submit a photocopied score report.

If you got your education in another country, you will need to have it evaluated by a third party agency that specializes in international degree reviews. You may opt for any of the following:

  • Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc (www.ece.org)
  • World Education Services, Inc. (http://www.wes.org)
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Offices (www.aacrao.org)

Other Professionals who can be Licensed as Counselors in SC

Professionals in closely related fields can be licensed under certain circumstances. The American Art Therapy Association reports that South Carolina art therapists are license eligible if they meet educational requirements and use art therapy as a counseling technique.

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 South Carolina.

You should contact CCE about education. You may call (888) 817-8283 between 8:30 and 5:00 Eastern time. Any correspondence about your own application materials must be in writing. You may email cce@cce-global.org or fax (336) 482-2852.

If you are sending written correspondence other than application materials and fee, you will use this address:

CCE – SC Review
3 Terrace Way
Greensboro, NC 27403-3660

You should contact the South Carolina board about other licensing issues.

Join the South Carolina Counseling Association or just visit their site to find additional resources.

You may be interested in these professional organizations as well:

South Carolina Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (SCAADAC)

South Carolina School Counselor Association

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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.