How to Become a Counselor in Idaho

Counselors in Idaho can go by three different titles corresponding to their professional status:

  • Registered Counselor Intern: Before completing post-graduate supervised hours
  • Licensed Professional Counselor: After completing 1000 supervised hours of post-graduate counseling [Internship and Practicum hours may be counted]
  • Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor: After completing of 2000 hours of supervised post-graduate practice

The premier professional organization for Registered Counselor Interns, LPCs, and LCPCs is the Idaho Counseling Association, whose mission is “to enhance human development throughout the lifespan and to promote the counseling and human development profession.” Licensure for counselors in Idaho is managed by the state Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, a division of the Idaho Bureau of Occupational and Professional Licenses.

Licensure requirements for counselors in Idaho, including those relating to education, supervision, examination, fees, and renewal, are examined in further detail below, along with salary information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as public and private scholarships available to aspiring counselors in the state.

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Counselor Education in Idaho

LPC licensure in Idaho requires the completion of a 60-semester-hour graduate degree program in counseling, which is approved by either the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or the Council on Rehabilitation Education. Alternatively, the Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists may approve a program that demonstrates instruction in counseling theory and counseling techniques, and includes supervised counseling experience.

Appropriate degree programs will consist of at least one graduate-level course in each of the following eight content areas:

  1. Human Growth & Development
  2. Social & Cultural Foundations
  3. The Helping Relationship
  4. Group Theory & Practice
  5. Lifestyle and Career Development
  6. Appraisal of the Individual
  7. Research and Evaluation
  8. Professional Orientation

Internship Requirements

In addition to the content areas listed above, LPC applicants in Idaho must complete at least six semester hours of advanced counseling practicum, sometimes referred to as an internship. The internship must be supervised at a ratio of at least one hour of one-to-one supervision for every 10 hours of experience. This requirement is distinct from the post-degree, directed experience commonly referred to as “supervision,” although these hours can be applied towards supervision.

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Supervision Hours

“Supervision” is shorthand for post-degree, directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting, a requirement for LPC licensure in Idaho. As previously mentioned, counselors who have yet to complete their supervision may be known as Registered Counselor Interns.

Registered Counselor Interns must complete 1,000 clock hours of experience working in a counseling setting—400 hours of which should be in direct client contact. Supervision must include one hour of one-on-one or one-on-two direction from the supervisor—an LPC or LCPC—for every 10 or 20 hours of experience, depending on the setting. This direction must be face to face, although that may be facilitated by a secure live electronic connection. For clinical professional counseling licensure, applicants must complete 2,000 hours of direct client contact experience (PDF, 583 KB) in no less than a two-year period after licensure.

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Licensure as a professional counselor in Idaho requires a passing score on the National Counselors Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE), which is a 200-question multiple-choice examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). It assesses knowledge, skills, and abilities in effective counseling services.

Clinical professional counselor licensure additionally requires passing the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE), which tests knowledge of assessment, diagnosis, counseling, psychotherapy, administration, consultation, and supervision. It consists of 10 clinical mental health counseling cases and assesses clinical problem-solving ability by testing identification, analysis, and treatment. It is also administered by the NBCC.

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RCI, LPC and LCPC Licensure Fees

Registered Counselor Interns, LPCs, and LCPCs in Idaho can expect to pay the following fees for their application, renewal, examination, and other licensure expenses:

LPC/LCPC Application: $100

Registered Counselor Intern Application: $25

LPC/LCPC License: $100

LPC/LCPC License Renewal: $120

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LPC and LCPC License Renewal

LPC and LCPC licenses in Idaho expire annually. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate renewal fee (see above) and completion of continuing education.

Continuing Education

Both LPCs and LCPCs in Idaho must complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) during the 12-month renewal period to successfully renew their licenses. No less than three hours must be in ethics and obtained in a face-to-face setting with instructor/participant interaction. CE may also be earned through college or university courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, publications, presentations, clinical supervision and case consultation, dissertation, leadership, and home study or online education. Excess hours may be applied towards the following renewal period.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

The Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists has an alternative route to licensure (PDF, 583 KB) for counselors who have already obtained their professional counseling licenses in other states. This process is known as “licensure by endorsement”.

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Average Counselor Salary in Idaho

The following types of counselors in Idaho can expect to earn the corresponding average hourly and annual wages, according to May 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Type of CounselorAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Wage
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor
Rehabilitation Counselor

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Idaho Counseling Scholarships

The following grants, scholarships, and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LPCs and LCPCs in Idaho:

  • Type: Grants and Scholarships
  • Amount: Varies According to Award
  • Description: The Pride Foundation offers residents of the Northwest (including Idaho) who are pursuing post-secondary education anywhere in the world to apply to more than 50 scholarships through one application. Preference is given to students who self-identify as LGBTQ, are members of LGBTQ families, or have been strongly supportive of the LGBTQ community.
  • Type: Scholarships
  • 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).
  • Type: Loan Repayment
  • Amount: Between $25,000 and $100,000
  • Description: LPCs and LCPCs in Idaho 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.

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*Licensure information including requirements, salaries, renewals, scholarships, and fees were retrieved as of May 2022. Information may have changed since, check with the state’s board of licensing for more information.

Last Updated: May 2022