How to Become a Counselor in North Dakota

As in many other states, counselors in North Dakota who have obtained their licensure are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Those who have yet to complete the supervision portion of the licensure process are called Licensed Associate Professional Counselors (LAPCs), and those who have continued their education and further developed their clinical skills can obtain licensure as Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs).

The state’s premier professional organizations for LPCs, LAPCs and LPCCs is the North Dakota Counseling Association, whose mission is to “provide quality professional development opportunities, facilitate networking, advocate for the counseling profession and promote leadership activities and encourage active involvement in the organization.” Licensure for LPCs, LAPCs and LPCCs in North Dakota is managed by the state’s Board of Counselor Examiners.

Licensure requirements for counselors in North Dakota, including education, supervision, examination, fees, renewal and “licensure by endorsement,” 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 LPCs in the state.

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Counselor Education in North Dakota

North Dakota professional counselor licensure (PDF, 24.0 KB) requires the completion of a master’s degree in counseling, counselor education, counseling and guidance or counseling and development.

Appropriate degree programs will be at least 48 semester credits, with coursework in each of the following core content areas:

  • Counseling theories
  • Counseling methods
  • Group counseling
  • Individual appraisal or testing
  • Statistics or research methods
  • Human growth and development
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Career and lifestyle development
  • Professional orientation and ethics

Effective July 1, 2017, all master’s degrees in counseling must be 60 semester credits for consideration as a licensed counselor in North Dakota.

Applicants who complete a 60 semester credit degree are eligible for the LPCC licensure. However, individuals must first hold licensure as a licensed professional counselor.

Internship Requirements

In addition to the coursework listed above, LAPC, LPC, and LPCC licensure in North Dakota also requires the completion of a 700-hour counseling internship or practicum. This requirement is distinct from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for licensure.

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Supervision Hours

“Supervision” is shorthand for directed, post-graduate experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. LPC licensure in North Dakota requires a two-year Plan of Supervision, which should include 400 hours of client contact and 100 hours of direction from an approved supervisor — of which 60 hours must be one-on-one.

For LPCC licensure, applicants must complete 3,000 hours of post-master’s clinical supervised experience within a two-year period with at least 100 hours of supervision.

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Before applying to become an associate professional counselor then an LPC, applicants are required to obtain a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification, a 200-question, multiple-choice examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. It assesses knowledge, skills and abilities in effective counseling services.

The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is required for licensure as an LPCC. 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 also administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

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LPC and LPCC Licensure Fees

Counselors in North Dakota can expect to pay the following fees for their license application, renewal and examination (PDF, 9.8 MB):

LPC/LPCC License Application: $150

LPC License Biennial Renewal: $150

LPC and LPCC Combined Renewal: $225

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LPC and LPCC License Renewal

North Dakota LPC/LPCC licenses expire two years after being issued. License renewal requires completing the renewal application, paying renewal fees and completing the required hours of continuing education (CE).

Continuing Education

LPCs in North Dakota are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education (PDF, 23.7 KB) during each two-year renewal period. LPCCs are required to provide proof of completion of 40 CE hours. At least three of these hours must primarily focus on ethics. No more than 15 hours each period may be earned from one source, event or topic. CE may not be earned through webinars and other online methods. It can be earned through supervision, in-service training, presentation of CE events and coursework.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

The North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners has an alternative route to licensure (PDF, 218 KB) for counselors who have already earned their licenses in other parts of the United States. This process is called “licensure by reciprocity”. Out-of-state applicants must provide proof of degree completion, a license in good standing, supervision completion, a passing score on the NCE, and a statement of professional intent.

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Average Counselor Salary in North Dakota

North Dakota counselors can expect to earn the following 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 Counselors
Rehabilitation Counselors
All Other Counselors

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North Dakota Counseling Scholarships

The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to LPCs in North Dakota:

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Description: NDCA offers this award to students enrolled or enrolling in a full-time, graduate program in counseling, or other human development programs, at an accredited institution.
  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: NBCCF offers this award to master’s-level, Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs-accredited counseling program students who live in a rural area and are committed to serving in rural areas for at least two years upon graduation. 
  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: To Be Decided
  • Description: The American Psychological Association (APA), with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, offers assistance to students enrolled full time in APA-accredited doctoral programs and who have a strong commitment to a career in ethnic minority behavioral health services.
  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Description: This award from the American Psychological Foundation is available each year to one full-time graduate student in good standing at an accredited university who has demonstrated a commitment to stigma issues. 
  • Type: Loan Repayments
  • Amount: Between $25,000 and $100,000
  • Description: North Dakota 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- or half-time service.
  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: To Be Decided
  • 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