The North Carolina Board of Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors (NCBLCMHC) is the state agency responsible for issuing the state’s main professional counseling credential: the Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC).
It also issues two other related credentials. One is the Licensed Clinical Mental Health Associate (LCMHA). This allows you to gain the necessary supervised work experience to qualify for the LPC. This is a limited license, and you can only engage in practice under the supervision of an NCBLCMHC-approved supervisor.
The other is the Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LCMHCS). This is an upgrade of the LCMHC and allows you to supervise LCMHAs in training.
Steps Towards Counseling Licensure North Carolina
The basic steps you’ll progress through to receive a full and unrestricted license as an LCMHC are:
- Earn a qualifying master’s degree in Counseling or a related field that includes a qualifying graduate counseling experience
- Pass a qualifying exam sponsored by a national organization, in addition to passing a North Carolina jurisprudence exam
- Complete a period of supervised experience as an LCMHA
You apply for licensure by creating an online account with the NCBLCMHC’s Counselor Gateway Portal. You can upload the forms listed below to your online account to make a complete application.
Each time you apply for a license at any level you need:
- To include an application fee of $238
- To find three people who will be your professional references and have them fill out an Applicant Referee Form. One must be an LCMHC. Have these forms sent either directly to the NCBLCMHC, or to you in an envelope that’s signed across the seal and include these as part of your application for licensure.
- To submit this affidavit form to the NCBLCMHC confirming your license application is true and accurate.
In 2020 the NCBLCMHC changed the names of the titles for the licenses it issues. As you sort through the licensing forms and the NCBLCMHC’s website you’ll come across both the old and new license titles, listed here so you won’t get confused:
- The Licensed Clinical Mental Health Associate (LCMHA) was formerly the Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA)
- The Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) was formerly the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
- The Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LCMHCS) was formerly the Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPCS)
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TAKE THE NEXT STEP
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Associate (LCMHA)
- Fulfill the education requirement by earning a qualifying master’s degree in Counseling or a related field. You can submit transcripts that are sealed in an envelope as part of your application for licensure, or have them sent directly to the NCBLCMHC. Your education program must also include a qualifying graduate counseling experience that’s verified with this form that you need to submit as part of your application for licensure.
- Fulfill the exam requirement and arrange to have your results sent to the NCBLCMHC. You need to pass one of the following exams:
- At this point the NCBLCMHC will evaluate your online application to determine if it’s complete. Once your application is approved it will issue your LCMHA license.
- Once you receive your LCMHA license you can start accruing hours to qualify for full and unrestricted licensure as an LCMHC. To do this you must find a qualified supervisor and submit a Supervision Contract to the NCBLCMHC for approval. Once the contract is approved you can start practicing as an LCMHA under supervision. Your supervisor will keep track of your experience on a supervision log. Each quarter your supervisor will submit a Quarterly Report detailing your supervised experience to the NCBLCMHC.
- Once you start working with clients as an LCMHC you’ll need to make a Professional Disclosure Statement to your clients.
National Counselor Examination (NCE), sponsored by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE), sponsored by the NBCC
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Examination, sponsored by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)
- Be an LCMHA who has fulfilled the education and exam requirements.
- Fulfill the supervised professional practice requirement. This is at least 3,000 hours of counseling experience, and must include at least 2,000 hours of direct counseling. It can be no more than 40 hours per week, and it needs to include one hour of individual, or two hours of group, clinical supervision for every 40 hours of supervised practice. Altogether you need to have at least 100 hours of clinical supervision. Once you’ve completed this requirement your supervisor will submit a Final Supervision Report to the NCBLCMHC.
- At this point the NCBLCMHC will evaluate your online application to determine if it’s complete. Once your application is approved it will issue your LCMHC license.
- Once you start practicing as an LCMHC you’ll need to make a Professional Disclosure Statement to your clients, and can use this template as a model.
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor (LCMHCS)
- Be an LCMHC.
- Earn three graduate semester credits in clinical supervision or complete 45 hours of continuing education in clinical supervision.
- Have at least five years of full-time licensed professional counseling experience, eight years of part-time experience, or an equivalent combination of the two, plus at least 2,500 hours of direct client contact. Verify this with this form and submit it to the NCBLCMHC.
- Once the NCBLCMHC approves your application it will issue your LCMHCS license. Once you’ve become a supervisor for an LCMHA you need to present them with a Supervision Professional Disclosure Statement. You can use this template as a model.
Renewing Your License
Licenses expire every two years on June 30th. You must complete 40 hours of continuing education during each two-year licensure period, including three hours in ethics. If you’re newly licensed you only need to complete 30 hours of continuing education. If you’re an LCMHCS you need to complete 10 additional hours of continuing education covering the subject of clinical supervision, for a total of 50 hours.
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Each renewal period you must also re-take the North Carolina jurisprudence exam for your licensure level. The renewal fee is $200, and you can renew through your online NCBLCMHC account.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Counselor in North Carolina?
The time you need to invest into becoming licensed in North Carolina depends on what level of license you’re going for:
- LCMHA – Six years: four years of bachelor’s education plus two years to earn a master’s degree in Counseling or a related field
- LCMHC – 7.5 years: you need a minimum of 75 weeks of supervised experience as an LCMHA to qualify for this license
- LCMHCS – 12.5 years: you need at least five years of full-time work experience as an LCMHC to qualify for this license
You can apply for licensure in North Carolina via endorsement if you hold an equivalent out-of-state license whose qualification requirements were similar to North Carolina’s. To qualify you need to have:
- Five years of full-time counseling experience, or eight years of part-time, or an equivalent combination of the two
- At least 2,500 hours of direct client contact
- An active, independent license in good standing that’s been that way for the two immediately preceding years
You’ll still need to complete the North Carolina jurisprudence exam and the NCBLCMHC will work with you to determine what documents you must provide to verify your qualifications, one of which will include an out-of-state License Verification Form completed by your state’s Board of Counseling.
Practicums and Internships
The degree program you complete to satisfy the education requirement for licensure must include a qualifying graduate counseling experience. This means it must fulfill all of the following requirements:
- At least one practicum course totaling three semester credits
- At least one internship course totaling three semester credits
- At least 17 hours of graduate counseling supervision
Altogether this must total at least 300 hours and include at least 180 hours of direct counseling experience.
To qualify for licensure as an LCMHA and subsequently an LCMHC you must pass one of the following exams sponsored by national organizations:
- National Counselor Examination (NCE), sponsored by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
- National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE), sponsored by the NBCC
- Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Examination, sponsored by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)
You can register for either of the NBCC exams through the Center for Credentialing and Education’s (CCE) online ProCounselor portal. You can register for the CRC Examination by creating an online account with the CRCC.
All exams are computer-based. The NCE and CRC examinations are both multiple choice, and the NCMHCE exam tests your responses about different clinical simulations. You can find more information about each exam through the following:
Each time you apply for a license or renew a license you must also pass the North Carolina jurisprudence exam. This ensures you’re up to date on the laws and codes for practicing as a professional counselor. The exam’s contents are tailored to your licensure level.
Required Education and Degrees
To fulfill the education requirement for licensure at any level, you must earn a master’s degree in Counseling or a related field that’s at least 60 semester credits. Your degree must be accredited by an organization that’s recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Furthermore, it must include courses that are at least three semester credits in each of the following subject areas:
- Helping relationships in counseling
- Professional orientation in counseling
- Human growth and development theories in counseling
- Social and cultural foundations in counseling
- Group counseling processes and theories
- Lifestyle development and career counseling
- Assessment in counseling
- Program evaluation and research
Your degree must also include a qualifying graduate counseling experience.
The US Department of Labor reports the following average annual salaries in 2020, specifically for different counselor careers in North Carolina:
- Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors – $52,360
- Marriage and Family Therapists – $43,700
- Rehabilitation Counselors – $39,490
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor – $49,350
- Counselors, all others – $44,060
- Occupational Therapists – $82,480
- Therapists, all other – $54,570
Types of Counseling Careers
Of the professions listed above, the US Department of Labor reports a total of 22,790 employed individuals throughout North Carolina. Of those:
- 39% are Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
- 30% are Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors
- 15% are Occupational Therapists
- 12% are Rehabilitation Counselors
- 2% are Marriage and Family Therapists
- 1% are Counselors, all others
- 1% are Therapists, all others
North Carolina Counseling Association (NCCA) – This organization is proud to represent all types of counselors from throughout the state, serving as the local branch for its national parent. Members enjoy access to discounted options for continuing education and extensive opportunities for professional networking, including an annual conference. The NCCA has many committees devoted to issues like human rights, ethics, strategic planning, conferences, and more.
North Carolina School Counselor Association (NCSSA) – Annual conferences, workshops, awards, and professional development opportunities are just some of the benefits members of this Raleigh-based non-profit organization enjoy. Founded in 1960, the NCSSA is proud to be an advocate for thousands of hard-working school counselors, today numbering 1,800 members strong.
The Association of Housing Counselors (TAHC) – Under the umbrella of the North Carolina Housing Coalition, TAHC came into being in 1994 and is today an organization of housing counselors and related professionals who are dedicated to advancing the cause of housing counseling in North and South Carolina. It offers its own certification program and opportunities for continuing education.
Addiction Professionals of North Carolina (APNC) – The local chapter representative of the Association for Addiction Professionals, this organization represents the career interests of over 100,000 addiction counselors nationally. It offers certifications, annual conferences, opportunities for advocacy, and much more.
North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse – Perhaps the best-known state agency for counselors in the North Carolina, this division is an important part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It provides a wide range of resources for the clientele it serves, as well as grants for organizations who are on the front lines of mental health and substance abuse throughout the state.
The Blanchard Institute – Providing treatments for family services, mental health, and substance abuse, this Charlotte-based company uses an integrative health treatment model to approach addictions. Its range of program options includes a partial hospitalization program, intensive and regular outpatient programs, and recovery management programs.
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Atrium Health – More than 30 urgent care centers, six freestanding emergency departments, and almost 40 hospitals make this healthcare provider one of the largest in the Carolinas with altogether more than 900 care locations. Behavioral care services are offered from a dozen hubs throughout North Carolina, each hosting a unique set of specializations.
Triangle Springs – Specializing in mental health services and substance abuse treatment, this Raleigh-based company provides a range of in-patient and out-patient options. In addition to drug and alcohol addiction, clients can find help for issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety, psychosis, and more.
Mental Health Greensboro – Besides hosting events and serving as a community connection hub, this non-profit organization has been an important part of the region for over 80 years. It’s proud of the people it helps and the strong partnerships it’s formed over the decades. Clients can enjoy services like support groups, one-on-one peer support, and recovery skills classes.
North Carolina LPC licensure requires a passing score on either the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification, the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam or the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam. Additionally, aspiring LPCs in North Carolina must also pass the Jurisprudence Exam.How many questions are on the NC jurisprudence exam? ›
If you are applying for a license, you are required to score a 100% on the JLE. The JLE is thirty (30) multiple choice questions randomly pulled from a large bank of questions. Each therapist's JLE will be different.Is NCE required in NC? ›
To qualify for licensure as an LCMHA and subsequently an LCMHC you must pass one of the following exams sponsored by national organizations: National Counselor Examination (NCE), sponsored by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
How much does a Licensed Professional Counselor make in North Carolina? The average Licensed Professional Counselor salary in North Carolina is $52,750 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $47,694 and $59,360.What state pays the most for LPC? ›
|Total Licensed Professional Counselor Jobs:||383|
|Highest 10 Percent Earn:||$133,000|
Without the authority to make diagnoses, LPCs often must refer patients to other licensed professionals with authority to diagnose mental disorders (e.g., psychiatrists)—a challenge in areas with shortages of these professionals.What is the passing score for jurisprudence exam? ›
This policy provides the rules for who is required to write a jurisprudence exam and when they are required to write the exam. 1.1 The jurisprudence exams are open book and on-line. 1.2 The pass score for both jurisprudence exams is 85%.What is a passing score on the NC bar exam? ›
The passing score for the North Carolina bar examination is 270 out of a possible 400 total points. Uniform Bar Examination.How many questions do you need to answer correctly to pass NCE? ›
There are many forms of the NCE and typically the cutoff for passing the exam is in the 90s (97, 91, 99, etc.) – out of 160 questions. One hundred questions correct out of 160 is 62.5%. Never has the cutoff for the NCE been higher than 65% correct out of 160 so it is a very passable exam, with your preparation.How many times can you fail the NCE? ›
We hold applications open for a two-year time period from the original exam date for which you applied or 3 unsuccessful attempts to pass the NCE, whichever comes first. Note: "not taking" the NCE does not count as one of your three attempts to pass. Only failing scores count as one of the three attempts.
SCORING THE NCE
There are many forms of the NCE. A typical cutoff for passing is a score in the 90s. Never has the cutoff for the exam been higher than 65% out of 160, so with preparation it is a very passable exam. Scores take eight weeks to get back.
This license is non-restricted, allowing those who have it to practice independently. A licensed professional counselor supervisor (LPCS) is a professional counselor who's approved by the board to offer clinical supervision to others.What type of counselors get paid the most? ›
- School Counselor. ...
- Career Counselor. ...
- Mental Health, Marriage, and Family Counselor. ...
- Rehabilitation Counselor. ...
- Gerontological Counselor.
The average salary for a school counselor in North Carolina is $51,500 per year. School counselor salaries in North Carolina can vary between $24,000 to $70,500 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.What setting do counselors make the most money? ›
- Pediatric counselor. National average salary: $63,934 per year. ...
- Licensed clinical social worker. National average salary: $64,671 per year. ...
- Direct support professional. ...
- Therapist. ...
- Physician assistant. ...
- Mental health counselor. ...
- Registered nurse. ...
- Physical therapist.
- Alabama. Alabama is a common choice among federal employees, because it does not require post-doctoral hours. ...
- Hawaii. 1900 hours post-doctoral experience and EPPP required. ...
- Kansas. ...
1. North Dakota.
|Total Therapist Jobs:||235|
|Highest 10 Percent Earn:||$90,000|
|Location Quotient:||1.31 You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here|
Counselors tend to offer short-term care, while therapists tend to offer long-term care. Therapists can be more past focused and counselors more future focused. Counselors often have a set number of sessions, and therapists often work on an ongoing basis. Therapists are more likely to treat mental health conditions.Does North Carolina have LPC reciprocity? ›
Reciprocity. North Carolina does not have reciprocity with other states. However, certain actively licensed professional counselors in other states can apply for the LCMHC license by endorsement if they meet the requirements.
Applicants must also pass one of the National Counselor Examination (NCE), the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE), or the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination (CRC).How do you write answers in jurisprudence exam? ›
- More Reading. The first and foremost method is to read more. ...
- Practice Writing Daily. ...
- Topic Clarity. ...
- Fewer Mistakes. ...
- Previous Year Papers. ...
- Read the Mind of the Examiner. ...
- Avoid Fancy Words. ...
- Quick Response in Less Time.
Nature of the Exam
The jurisprudence exam is an online open-book test in which you're required to answer around 150 multiple-choice questions within three hours.
Take the MPJE
The MPJE is a 2.5-hour exam composed of 120 computer-based questions.
The bar exam curve is very real. Check out the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) National Scaled Score Distribution charts published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. MBE score results consistently fall into a bell curve pattern every single bar exam administration.How many times does the average person fail the bar exam? ›
The vast majority of law school graduates, 85 percent, take the bar exam once, according to a study by the National Conference of Bar Examiners that looked at data over five years. About 9 percent took the test twice. Less than 1 percent took the exam more than five times. A few refused to give up.Is 287 a good bar score? ›
Your overall score
Uniform Bar Exam states require a score between 260 and 280 to pass the Uniform Bar Exam. So, if your score was above 280, you technically received a score that is considered passing in every Uniform Bar Exam state.
What is a passing score on NCE exam? There are 200 questions on the NCE exam. The cutoff score to be considered as passing is in the high 90s.What is the lowest score on the NCE? ›
These scores are represented on a scale from 1 to 99. 1 is the lowest score; 99 is the highest. When an NCE score is 50, the NP will also be 50 for the same test.What should I study for the NCE exam? ›
- Professional counseling orientation and ethical practice.
- Social and cultural diversity.
- Human growth and development.
- Career development.
- Counseling and helping relationships.
- Group counseling and group work.
- Assessment and testing.
- Research and program evaluation.
If this was your third failed attempt, your application will close. To reapply, you will need to contact our office directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I passed the NCE, and my account shows that all of my documents have been approved.How much does NCE exam cost? ›
The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) administers the 200-question multiple-choice exam. The NCE exam costs $275 USD.What happens after I pass the NCE? ›
After you pass the NCE and graduate, you have three years to complete and submit documentation of 3,000 hours of counseling work experience and 100 hours of direct counseling supervision completed over a minimum of 24 months. This will be the final step in completing your board certification.Is the NCE exam multiple choice? ›
The NCE test comprises 200 multiple choice questions (MCQs), of which 160 are scored and 40 are unscored. These 40 MCQs provide statistical information for the items to be used in future examinations. Both scored and unscored items are of the same structure, and they appear in jumbled order in the examination.Is North Carolina a counseling compact state? ›
On July 7, 2022, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed into law HB 791, enacting the Counseling Compact there. This brings compact membership to 16 states.How do you get QP certified in NC? ›
Bachelor's degree in Social Work, Social Services, Human Services or Special Education required; Master's degree a plus. Minimum 2 years experience working with persons with population served is required; 1-year experience if paired with Master's degree.Which is better LCSW or Lmhc? ›
Professional focus. An LMHC focuses solely on a patient's mental health, whereas an LCSW helps clients with their mental health and other areas of their lives. LCSWs also work on finding ways to change an individual's environment to adapt to their needs.What type of counselors are in demand? ›
- Rehabilitation counselor.
- Mental health counselor.
- Behavioral therapist.
- Career counselor.
- Recreational therapist.
- School counselor.
- Substance abuse counselor.
- Marriage and family therapist.
Career counseling is another one of the fastest growing fields in the counseling profession. One reason is because there is consistent demand across a wide range of educational organizations for vocational counselors.Can counselors make over 100k? ›
Yes, you can make $100,000 per year as a counselor. While possible, it is unlikely to earn over $100k as a counselor because even higher-paid positions do not typically earn more than $64,000 per year. The average annual salary for a counselor is $42,602.
How much does a Licensed Professional Counselor make in North Carolina? The average Licensed Professional Counselor salary in North Carolina is $52,750 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $47,694 and $59,360.What is a passing score for the Praxis 5421? ›
You must receive a score of 156 on the 5421 Professional School Counselor Praxis exam or a passing score of 159 on the 5422 School Counselor exam.How much do elementary school counselors make in NC? ›
The average Guidance Counselor, Elementary School salary in North Carolina is $46,296 as of October 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $40,285 and $52,651.Can you make six figures as a therapist? ›
But it turns out that it's more than possible to generate six figures as a private practice therapist. In this article, I'm going to take it a step further and share how I generate six figures a year while working part-time as a private practice therapist. … it can be done!Do you need a license to be a therapist in North Carolina? ›
An individual must be licensed to practice counseling in the state of North Carolina. Pursuant to NC General Statute § 90-336 there are three levels of licensure for licensed clinical mental health counselors. This is a three tiered licensure format.What qualifications do you need to be a practicing Counsellor? ›
Your core practitioner training should be at the minimum level of a diploma in counselling or psychotherapy, but could be a bachelor's degree, master's degree or doctorate. These courses usuall run at further or higher education colleges or universities.How do I become a LPC? ›
It's a postgraduate course known for its intensity and the volume of material that students must deal with. To take the LPC you must have studied an undergraduate law degree or have done the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) to convert an unrelated undergraduate degree.Can you be a therapist without a degree? ›
Counseling is a growing field with a variety of job settings. Some counseling jobs require a degree, but not all. There are many continuing education opportunities available in the field of counseling. Joining a professional organization can help you hone your skills throughout your career.How can I practice therapy without a degree? ›
- Peer support counselors.
- Career counselors.
- Substance abuse counselors.
- Life skills counselors.
- Youth workers.
- Community outreach workers.
There are no set entry requirements to become a counsellor as it is a profession that benefits from many skillsets. Often people move into this career later in life, allowing them to apply a broad range of skills and experience, often motivated by their own challenges to help others.
'Your core practitioner training should be at the minimum level of a diploma in counselling or psychotherapy at minimum of level 4, but could be a bachelor's degree, master's degree or doctorate. 'Your course should be at least one year full-time or two years' part-time classroom-based tuition.Do you need to be accredited to be a counsellor? ›
The current absolute minimum qualification requirement is a Level 4 Diploma in Counselling although some professional bodies require higher level qualifications.What is a passing score on NCE exam? ›
What is a passing score on NCE exam? There are 200 questions on the NCE exam. The cutoff score to be considered as passing is in the high 90s.Can a nurse become a Counsellor? ›
A degree in a related subject, such as nursing, psychology, social work or education, might help you to get onto a counselling course. However, previous counselling experience and evidence that you have the necessary personal qualities, commitment and self-awareness can be just as important.How many times can you fail the Ncmhce? ›
You can take the NCMHCE exam up to three times in two years. However, there is a 90-day waiting period between attempts.