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Counselor Licensure Requirements in Texas

The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors credentials counselors at two levels. Once you have completed all requirements, including post-masters supervised practice, you will become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). While you are in the process of completing requirements, you will work as a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern (LPC-I).

This information is intended to be a guide to pursuing a counseling license in Texas. If at any point you have questions about the process or to make sure you are on the correct course, contact the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors at lpc@dshs.state.tx.us or call (512) 834-6658

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Education

You will need to enroll in a master's level program. Your program may be in counseling or a related field. The Texas board includes psychiatry, psychology, marriage and family therapy, and social work among related fields. Learn more about selecting a Master's in Counseling program here.

You will need a total of at least 48 semester hours of coursework. You must have courses in each of the following areas:

  • Normal human growth and development
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Counseling theories
  • Appraisal or assessment techniques
  • Counseling methods or techniques
  • Research
  • Social, cultural, and family issues
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Professional orientation

You will also need to complete an internship of at least 300 hours that includes at least 100 hours of direct client work. If you have a practicum that is primarily about appraisal, you cannot use it to meet this requirement.

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.

Education for Licensed Professional Counselors with Art Therapy Specialization

If you wish to be an art therapy specialist, you may enroll in a master’s or doctoral program in art therapy instead of a general professional counseling program. Your program should include 700 hours of supervised practicum (Source to Learn more: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/OC/htm/OC.503.htm).

You will want to seek out art therapy programs accredited by the American Art Therapy Association. The board allows courses from AATA-accredited programs to be applied toward counseling coursework requirements as long as 75% of the content was substantially equivalent.

A graduate degree in counseling or a related field is also acceptable for an art therapy counseling specialization if you have 21 semester hours of sequential art therapy coursework, including history, theory, and practice, and if you meet the requirement for 700 hours of supervised practicum in art therapy. You should be aware, however, that your requirement for post-master supervised art therapy experience will be less if your degree is actually in art therapy as opposed to a related field.

LPC Application Forms

For additional information, see: LPC Application FAQ

For Licensure Application Forms and related material: Click Here

Testing

Before you can become an LPC-I, you will need to take and pass two examinations: the National Counselor Examination and the Texas Jurisprudence exam.

The jurisprudence exam is no-fail -- you will log in and take it at your convenience. You should print out the certificate and submit it to the board as part of your application file. You should also maintain a copy for your own records.

The NCE is the primary counseling licensing exam. It is given at testing centers around the nation, but you will need to make sure that you download the Texas registration form. The registration form will ask for your school code; you will find a list on the Texas supplement/ registration form (See: http://www.nbcc.org/Assets/StateForms/Reg/TX.pdf).

You will sign the form in ink and send the original to the NBCC with a $185 fee. You will also include official transcripts that show the date you earned your master’s.

Registration materials are to be sent by mail to the following address:

NBCC Assessment Dept.
PO Box 7407
Greensboro, NC 27417-0407

The processing time is about a month. You will receive confirmation and scheduling details via postcard and email. Once you receive your confirmation, you can schedule at your choice of AMP computerized testing sites. Texas has nine testing sites:

  • Austin
  • Dallas
  • El Paso
  • Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • Houston
  • Lubbock
  • McAllen
  • San Antonio

Exams are administered five to six days per week during the first two full weeks of each month. You will need to schedule in advance by visiting www.goAMP.com or calling 888-519-9901.

Your fee gives you a six month eligibility window.

The board allows you two attempts without requiring further education. If you do not pass on a second attempt, you will need to either take nine hours of graduate coursework in your weakest area or wait two years (See: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/lpc_faqs.shtm).

Supervised Practice

You will need to complete 3,000 hours of supervised practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern. At least 1,500 of these hours will need to be direct client care.

You may count up to 400 hours that you earned in practicums or internships if they were in excess of the 300 required for licensure.

You will need to have an average of an hour a week of direct supervision under a board-approved supervisor. Up to half may be live webcam; the rest will need to be face-to-face. Up to half may be in a group setting.

You will fill out some paperwork at the onset of supervision. You will report your supervisor and agency and the type of experience you plan you plan to attain (for example, drug and alcohol, rehabilitation, or art therapy). You and your supervisor will sign an agreement.

You will also submit an application and application fee.

You will need to work as an intern for a minimum of 18 months. You may, if you choose, take longer to fulfill your requirements. Your intern license will be good for five years. If you do not fulfill your hours during that time, you will need to begin the application process again. You will need to retake the NCE. You may, however, apply the hours that you earned as an intern in the past.

If you accrued your hours in Texas under a temporary/ intern license, you will not turn in a new license when it is time to transfer your status. When the board receives all needed materials, including documentation of supervised experience and the required fee, your professional license will be issued.

Supervised Experience and Examination Requirements for LPC with Art Therapy Specialization

In order to get the art therapy specialization, you will need to complete some therapy hours under the supervision of an LPC with Art Therapy Specialization (See: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/OC/htm/OC.503.htm. You will need to accrue at least 1,000 client contact hours. If your graduate degree is in a related field, and not actually in art therapy, your supervised practice requirement will be 2,000 hours.

You will also need to pass the National Certification Examination in Art Therapy. This is administered by the Art Therapy Credentials Board.

Out of State Applicants

If you are licensed as a professional counselor or art therapist in another state, you may be eligible to practice under a provisional license while the board reviews your qualifications (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/lpc_provisional.shtm).

You will need to submit official verification that your license is in good standing. You may get this from your state board or from the National Credentials Registry (if you have registered with this organization).

You will also need to submit official transcripts and verification that you have met examination requirements.

You will submit a $98 fee when you first turn in your application. You will pay an additional $106 later.

License Maintenance

You will need to renew your professional license every two years. During that time, you will need to take 24 continuing education units and retake the jurisprudence exam. Four of your units must be in ethics; the jurisprudence exam counts as one unit.

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 Texas.

Application packets should be sent to the following address:

Licensed Professional Counselors
PO Box 149347
MC 2003
Austin, Texas 78714-9347

You may email the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors at lpc@dshs.state.tx.us or call (512) 834-6658.

You may also want to become a member of a professional organization like the:

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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.