For students who have completed the Master of Science in School Counseling and who wish to seek counseling licensure in Pennsylvania, the following additional courses will be offered and are required by the PA State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors (“State Board”):
- PSYG 508 (3) Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy II (prerequisite 506)
- PSYG 536 (3) Psychological Assessment
- PSYG 715 (3) Counseling Internship I (300 total hours)
- PSYG 725 (3) Counseling Internship II (300 total hours)
Once students complete the additional twelve (12) credits, they will become licensure eligible. This means that they have met the necessary academic requirements for licensure. The following information is provided so that individuals understand the process and requirements, post-degree, to become a licensed professional counselor.
Graduates must successfully pass a licensure exam. There are several exams recognized by the State Board, but one of the most common is the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) given by the NBCC. For more information, visit the NBCC website.
The next step in the process of licensure is to accrue 3,000 supervised hours of counseling work. Practicum and Internship hours cannot be counted towards the 3,000 supervised hours. The “clock starts” for these hours only once an individual has been conferred his or her degree.
Graduates will participate in supervised clinical experience at either their place of employment or by contracting with a qualified supervisor (rates for supervision vary, so shop around). The 3,000-hour, supervised clinical experience shall be completed in no less than two years and no more than six years, except that no less than 500 hours and no more than 1,800 hours may be credited in any 12-month period.
Once you have accrued 3,000 supervised hours, you are eligible to apply for licensure through the State Board’s website. It typically takes 4-6 weeks for the State Board to process applications and for licenses to be mailed out. For specific information on the application process and requirements, visit the State Board’s website.
The above is a brief summary of the pathway to becoming a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania. Because licensure is a lengthy process that can involve considerable time and a financial commitment, it is imperative that individuals seeking licensure fully understand the process and guidelines.