How to Become a Counselor in Alabama
Counselors in Alabama are known as licensed professional counselors (LPCs). Supervision is a required part of LPC licensure, and while under supervision, counselors must be licensed as associate licensed counselors (ALC).
The Alabama Counseling Association (ALCA) is the state’s professional organization for counseling graduate students, ALCs and LPCs. Formally founded in 1966 but with roots dating back to 1954, ALCA was one of the few state organizations that was racially integrated prior to the desegregation movement.
Associate and licensed professional licensure for counselors is handled by the Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling (ABEC). The state board of examiners maintains all of the education, supervision, examination and renewal requirements for LPCs, which are examined in detail below, as are salary information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and scholarships available to aspiring LPCs in Alabama.
Sponsored Online Counseling Programs
The Family Institute at Northwestern University
Master of Arts in Counseling
Earn a CACREP-accredited master’s in counseling online from top-9 ranked1 Northwestern University.
1U.S. News & World Report: 2022 Best National University Rankings
- CACREP Accredited
- Earn your MA in Counseling from Northwestern in as few as 18 months
- Accelerated full-time, traditional, or part-time tracks available
New York University
NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance
Learn more about NYU Steinhardt’s online MA degree that prepares you to become a school counselor in as few as 18 months. Graduates can pursue certification and employment in pre-K–12 schools. Bachelor’s req.
- Complete in as few as 18 months.
- Pursue school counselor certification.
- Study bilingual school counseling (optional).
- GRE scores are not required.
University of Southern California (USC)
USC Rossier School of Education
Master of Education in School Counseling
The University of Southern California Rossier School of Education offers a Master of Education in School Counseling online for aspiring K-12 school counselors. The program can be completed in less than two years and there is no GRE requirement.
- No GRE required
- Prepares you for school counseling credential
- Bachelor’s degree required
Counselor Education in Alabama
LPC licensing requires completion of a master’s degree in counseling with at least 48 graduate semester hours at a regionally accredited college or university. The degree program should be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and should contain coursework in the following areas:
- Counseling theory
- Human growth and development
- Social and multicultural foundations
- The helping relationship
- Group dynamics, processing, and counseling
- Lifestyle and career development
- Appraisal of individuals
- Research and evaluation
- Professional orientation
One hundred clock hours of individual and group counseling experience under appropriate supervision is required. A minimum of 40 of these hours should be working directly with clients in a capacity that corresponds with the program’s emphasis. One hour per week must be dedicated to individual supervision while one and a half are devoted to group supervision.
At least 600 internship hours are also necessary, with a minimum of 240 in direct service work with clients appropriate to the program’s focus. At least two and one-half hours per week of the internship should be under group supervision and one hour per week under individual supervision.
Before becoming a licensed professional counselor as recognized by Alabama, applicants must first apply as an associate licensed counselor (ALC). To pursue licensure as a professional counselor, ALCs must accrue 3,000 hours of supervised experience, 2,250 of which are providing direct services while 750 are indirect. Annual supervision hours must accumulate to a minimum of 100, which includes 50 hours of face-to-face individual supervision.
A passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) is a requirement for LPC licensure. The NCE is a 200-question multiple-choice examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. It assesses knowledge, skills and abilities in effective counseling services.
ALC and LPC Licensure Fees
LPCs in Alabama can expect to pay the following counseling licensure fees for their application, renewal, examination and other licensure expenses:
Fees for LPCs
LPC Application: $200
LPC License: $300
LPC License Renewal: $300
LPC License Reactivation: $50 per year (not to exceed $250)
Fees for ALCs
ALC Application: $200
ALC License: $150
ALC License Renewal: $150
Application Package by Mail: $25
Provisional License: $150
Duplicate or Replacement License: $15
Written License Verification: $25
LPC License Renewal
LPC licenses must be renewed every two years and on July 31 of the renewal year. ALCs must renew their licenses annually. Failure to renew a license for more than six years will result in the LPC needing to reapply for licensure.
Licensed professional counselor renewal requires LPCs to submit the appropriate fees, complete an application and provide evidence of the completion of all relevant continuing education clock hours/experience.
Continuing Education for LPCs
At least 40 hours of formal contact in relevant professional and continuing education (CE) experience are required for each two-year renewal. Of those 40 hours, a minimum of six must be devoted to ethical concerns for practice, assessment, supervision or research in counseling.
Additionally, at least 75% of CE activities must consist of real-time participation in seminars, classes, workshops, presentations, training programs or similar activities. Such real-time participation must involve the LPC’s presence at the location of the activity or use of interactive technology by the LPC for the activity as it occurs.
Ten hours of CE may be obtained by supplying documentation for two of the following activities:
- Service as a counseling seminar, workshop or training conference presenter.
- Publication of peer-reviewed counseling material.
- Therapy received as part of a certification or towards a learning modality that is pre-approved by ABEC and yields a certificate or similar document.
- Service on a counseling board, commission or professional organization.
All CE hours must be approved in advance by ABEC or be formal graduate academic coursework, excluding thesis or dissertation credit. Additionally, all CE hours towards the renewal of a license that has been expired for more than two years must be accrued within the 24 months preceding the renewal request.
For Counselors Licensed in Other States
Counselors licensed by other states, U.S. territories, the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico may receive LPC licensure from ABEC provided it finds the requirements of their licensure (PDF, 348 KB) equivalent to its own. In the event that it does not, ABEC may issue a provisional license, which may be renewed for one additional year.
Mean Counselor Salary in Alabama
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following types of counselors in Alabama can expect to earn the corresponding average hourly wage and average annual wage:
|Type of Counselor||Mean Hourly Wage, May 2021||Mean Annual Wage, May 2021|
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselor
Alabama Counseling Scholarships
The following scholarships are available to aspiring LPCs in Alabama:
- Type: Loan Repayment
- Amount: Between $25,000 and $10,000
- Description: LPCs are eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance in exchange for working in a health professional shortage area (HPSA) at a site approved by the National Health Service Corps. Funding is tied to HPSA score and is in exchange for two years of full-time service. A half-time service commitment option is also available.
- Type: Scholarship
- Amount: To be decided by NAJA
- Description: The applicant must be working or planning to work directly with children; be pursuing graduate level studies for one year in fields that address the special needs of children and youth, such as counseling; be a U.S. citizen and permanent resident of a state with a Junior Auxiliary Chapter, such as Alabama; and be planning to attend a U.S. college or university for full-time or part-time study.
- Type: Scholarship
- Amount: To be decided by school
- Description: The Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program provides funds to schools, which in turn offer scholarships to full-time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are studying professional counseling (amongst other health professions).
*Licensure information, including requirements, renewals, and fees, was retrieved as of July 2022. Information may have changed since; check with the state’s board of licensing for more information.
Information last updated July 2022