How to Become a Counselor in Delaware

State of Delaware

Counselors in Delaware are known as Licensed Professional Counselors of Mental Health (LPCMH), or Licensed Associate Counselors of Mental Health (LACMH) if they are in the supervision period of the licensure process. The state’s premier professional association for LPCMH and LACMH is the Delaware Professional Counselors Association, which seeks to “enhance and develop professional counselor identity through education, advocacy, and collaboration across the mental health community.”

Counselor licensure in Delaware is handled by the state Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals. Licensure details, including requirements for education, supervision, examination, and renewal, are examined further below, along with salary information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as scholarships available to aspiring LPCMH in the state.

Counselor Education in Delaware

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Professional counselor licensure in Delaware requires prior certification by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) or another national certifying mental health organization. Accordingly, the NBCC’s educational requirements can be considered requirements for professional counselor licensure in Delaware. Beyond NBCC certification, counselor licensure in Delaware has no additional educational requirements.

For NBCC Certification

National certification from the NBCC, also known as the National Certified Counselor (NCC) certification, requires completion of a master’s degree in counseling or with a major study in counseling from a regionally accredited institution. A passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) is necessary. (For more information on the NCE, see “Examination” below.)

In order to qualify for the NCC, the master’s program must include at least 48 semester hours of graduate-level academic credit in counseling. Coursework must cover the following nine content areas:

  1. Human Growth & Development Theories
  2. Social & Cultural Foundations
  3. Helping Relationships in Counseling
  4. Group Counseling
  5. Career Counseling & Lifestyle Development
  6. Assessment
  7. Research and Program Evaluation
  8. Professional Orientation
  9. Field Experience

Internship Requirements

An internship, also known as field experience, is one of the nine content areas that must be covered for NCC certification, and therefore licensure as a professional counselor of mental health.

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Supervision Hours

Although NCC certification requires 100 hours of supervision, professional counselor licensure in Delaware requires 3,200 hours of total experience. Of this total, 1,600 hours must be completed while under the direct supervision of one or more approved clinical supervisors over a period of at least two but not more than four years. Of these 1,600 hours, at least 100 must be face-to-face sessions between you and your supervisor—of which only 40 may be in a group setting.

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Examination

NCC certification and Delaware LPCMH licensure both require a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification.

National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)

The NCE is a 200-question multiple-choice examination administered by the NBCC. It assesses knowledge, skills and abilities in effective counseling services.

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LACMH and LPCMH Licensure Fees

LPCMH in Delaware can expect to pay the following fees for their application, renewal, examination, and other licensure expenses:

LACMH Application: $221

LPCMH Application: $221

LPCMH Renewal: Amount provided at time of renewal

Request for Approval of Continuing Education: $40

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LPCMH License Renewal

Delaware LPCMH licenses expire on September 30 every even year. (LACMH licenses expire every two years from the date they were issued.) LPCMH license renewal requires good standing with the NBCC or a similar national board, payment of the appropriate renewal fees, and the completion of continuing education (also required by the NBCC to maintain NCC certification).

Continuing Education (CE)

LPCMH license renewal in Delaware requires the completion of 40 hours of CE during the previous licensure period (prorated for initial licenses of less than two years), and NCC renewal requires 100 clock hours of continuing education every five years.

Qualifying CE activities, according to the Board of Professional Counselors of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals, include:

  • CE approved by a national mental health organization or substance abuse treatment organization, such as the NBCC, or their local affiliates
  • Interactive courses, workshops, seminars, or webinars that maintain a licensee's professional competence in the practice of professional mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or chemical dependency counseling
  • Teaching academic or CE courses, presenting original papers, or writing peer-reviewed articles (only up to 20 hours)

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Average Counselor Salary in Delaware

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following types of counselors in Delaware can expect to earn the corresponding average hourly and annual wage:

Average Counselor Salary in Delaware
Type of Counselor Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor $19.02 $39,560
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor $29.20 $60,740
Marriage and Family Therapists $24.57 $51,120
Mental Health Counselor $19.79 $41,140
Rehabilitation Counselor $17.86 $37,150

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Delaware Counseling Scholarships

The following scholarships are available to aspiring LPCMH in Delaware:

Delaware School Counselor Association (DSCA) Graduate Student Scholarship

  • Type: Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Description: The DSCA will award their Graduate Student Scholarship to two members in good standing who have completed or been enrolled in a graduate-level internship during the current school year.

Delaware State Loan Repayment Program

  • Type: Loan Repayment
  • Amount: $35,000 to $100,000
  • Description: LPCMH 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 or half-time service.

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

  • 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).

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*Licensure information including requirements, salaries, renewals, and fees were retrieved as of May 2017. Information may have changed since, check with the state's board of licensing for more information.