How to Become a Counselor in Minnesota

As in many other states, counselors in Minnesota who have obtained their licensure are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs)—although those who have continued their education and further developed their clinical skills can also obtain licensure as Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs). The state’s premier professional organization for LPCs and LPCCs is the Minnesota Counseling Association, which was founded in 1970 to “provide information and resources about the counseling profession and to provide networking, education, legislative, and other support for Minnesota’s professional counselors.”

Licensure for LPCs and LPCCs in Minnesota is managed by the state Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy, a division of the Minnesota Health Licensing Boards. Licensure requirements for counselors in Minnesota, including those relating to education, supervision, examination, fees, renewal, and “licensure by reciprocity,” are examined in further detail below, along with salary information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as scholarships and loan repayment programs available to aspiring LPCs and LPCCs in the state.

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Counselor Education in Minnesota

LPCC licensure in Minnesota requires the completion of a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, or a doctorate from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or an accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Appropriate degree programs will be at least 48 semester hours and include instruction in the following core content areas:

  1. The Helping Relationship
  2. Human Growth and Development
  3. Lifestyle and Career Development
  4. Group Dynamics, Processes, Counseling, and Consulting
  5. Assessment and Appraisal
  6. Social and Cultural Foundations
  7. Principles of Etiology, Treatment Planning, and Prevention
  8. Family Counseling and Therapy
  9. Research and Evaluation
  10. Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethics

Internship Requirements

In addition to the coursework listed above, LPC or LPCC licensure in Minnesota requires the completion of an internship as part of the degree program. This internship must include at least 700 hours of supervised field experience.

The internship requirements are distinct from post-graduate supervision, also a requirement for LPC licensure in Minnesota.

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Supervision Hours

“Supervision” is shorthand for post-degree, directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Minnesota requires aspiring LPCs to complete at least 2,000 hours of supervision following a plan arranged by the applicant and approved by the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy. LPCCs must complete 4,000 hours of supervised clinical practice which includes 1,800 direct client contact hours.

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LPC licensure in Minnesota requires a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification. For LPCC licenses, a passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam is required.

National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)

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.

National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE)

The NCMHCE 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 administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

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LPC and LPCC Licensure Fees

LPCs and LPCCs in Minnesota can expect to pay the following fees for their application, license, renewal, and examination:

LPC/LPCC Application: $150

LPC/LPCC License: $250

LPC/LPCC License Renewal: $250

LPC/LPCC License Renewal Late Fee: $100 per Month Delayed

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LPC and LPCC License Renewal

LPC and LPCC licenses in Minnesota expire annually. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate renewal fee and completion of continuing education.

Continuing Education

During the first four years of licensure, Minnesota LPCs are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education (CE). Minnesota’s licensing board also requires the completion of 12 graduate semester hours during this four-year period. These semester hours can simultaneously be applied to the 40-hour requirement. Fifteen continuing education hours may be received for every semester credit hour. Further, for every two-year period after four years, the licensee must provide evidence of 40 continuing education hours.

CE may be obtained through courses relating to the 10 core counseling subjects listed above, beneath “Coursework.” Additionally, any educational activity approved by the American Counseling Association, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs, American Association of State Counseling Boards, or National Board for Certified Counselors is automatically approved for CE by the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy has an alternative route to licensure for counselors who have already obtained their licenses in other states. This process is called “licensure by reciprocity”.


In 2007, the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health & Therapy was commissioned with the Department of Human Services and other licensing board to review the requirements for mental health practitioners to receive reimbursement by medical assistance programs (PDF, 1,089 KB). The Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor license was a result of this meeting.

Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements

Licensure in Minnesota as an alcohol and drug counselor can be completed in one of three ways: education requirements, supervision requirements, or reciprocity. The Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy outlines the application for this licensure with specific coursework requirements.

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Average Counselor Salary in Minnesota

The following types of counselors in Minnesota can expect to earn the corresponding average hourly and average 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
All Other Counselors

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Minnesota Counseling Scholarships

The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LPCs and LPCCs in Minnesota:

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $2,500 to $5,000
  • Description: American Addiction Centers offers three scholarships providing financial assistance to full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate school students pursuing careers in behavior health and addiction-related studies, including counseling. 
  • Type: Loan Repayments
  • Amount: Between $30,000 and $50,000
  • Description: Minnesota 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: 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).

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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