Licensed Professional Counselor Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Licensed professional counselor (LPC) is a designation for counseling professionals who've satisfied certain requirements. Specific titles differ by state, but most counselors recognized with this certification are known as licensed mental health counselors (LMHC) and permitted to practice professionally. In Tennessee, Maine, and Illinois, no differentiation is made between both types of counselors, but additional training is required before professional practice is permitted. LPCs administer psychotherapy.

LPCs evaluate patients and administer various types of mental health treatments. They assist families, couples, groups, and individuals struggling with various types of problems. Among the issues they address include substance abuse, chronic pain, behavioral problems, and emotional disorders. These specialists typically utilize client-centered therapy, which is designed to help patients take control of their lives.

LPCs must be patient and eager to help others. Likewise, they should have the ability to develop trust with others, so patients can feel at ease during counseling sessions. Administering professional counseling can be stressful, so LPCs should have the ability to effectively manage stress.

The need for qualified LPCs has never been greater. The following are just a few of the nation figures influencing the demand for LPCs:
  • Over 45 million (about 20%) of adults in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness. Of those, nearly 9 million (20%) also struggle with substance abuse.

  • 11 million adult American's (5%) suffer from serious mental illness (SMI)'a diagnosable mental disorder that substantially interfers with a individuals ability to carry on a normal life.

  • Less than 40% of adults with mental illness ever receive treatment or counseling.

  • During 2009, nearly 50 million people (7% of adults) struggled with a form of depression.

  • During 2009, nearly 2 million youths (8% of teens 12 to 17) struggled with a form of depression.
Education and Training Requirements

LPCs are required to hold a graduate degree in psychology, counseling, or related discipline. Graduate students enrolled in counseling programs are typically required to complete courses in counseling ethics, assessment, theories, psychotherapy, and research methodology. Most graduate students also complete supervised internships. After earning a graduate degree, you'll be prepared to take any required licensure examinations.

Certification Information

Most states require individuals to pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) before being licensed. The NCE is intended to measure knowledge of counseling ethics, fundamentals, and techniques. Those who pass this test will be known as National Certified Counselors (NCCs).

Licensing Requirements

Each state mandates LPCs to satisfy licensing requirements, which differ in each one. However, most applicants must hold a graduate degree, satisfy supervised clinical experience requirements, and pass a test. LPCs are typically required to periodically enroll in continuing education classes to renew their licenses.

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