How to Become a Counselor in Maine

State of Maine

Counseling professionals in Maine are known under three different titles, conditional licensed professional counselor, licensed professional counselor (LPC) and licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC).

  • Conditional LPC: Post-graduate applicants in the process of completing their supervision requirements for licensure.
  • LPC: Applicants who have completed at least 2,000 hours of clinical supervised experience and a 48-credit graduate degree program.
  • LCPC: Applicants who have completed at least 4,000 hours of clinical supervised experience and a 60-credit graduate degree program.

The premier professional organization for professional counselors in the state is the Maine Counseling Association, whose mission is to “enhance individual human development and to advance and promote the discipline of counseling.”

Licensure for both LPCs and LCPCs in Maine is managed by the state Professional and Financial Regulation Agency. Licensure requirements for counselors in Maine, 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 LPCs and LCPCs in the state.

Counselor Education in Maine

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Becoming a professional counselor in Maine requires the completion of a master’s in counseling or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution. The degree program must be at least 48 semester hours and be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). Alternatively, the program may be acceptable if it includes coursework covering the content areas listed below.

To become a licensed clinical professional counseling in Maine, applicants must complete a 60 credit degree program accredited by CACREP or meet the standards set forth by the Board of Counseling Professionals Licensure. Coursework includes:

  1. Human Growth and Development
  2. Helping Relationships
  3. Groups
  4. Measurement
  5. Research and Evaluation
  6. Diagnosis and Treatment
  7. Professional Orientation
  8. Social and Cultural Foundations
  9. Practicum
  10. Internship

Additional coursework requires at least nine semester hours in the following:

  1. Lifestyle and Career Development
  2. Marriage and Family Counseling
  3. Human Sexuality for Counselors
  4. Supervision
  5. Consultation
  6. Crisis Intervention
  7. Addictive Disorders
  8. Treatment Modalities

Applicants with degrees in clinical psychology or counseling psychology earned from an American or Canadian Psychological Association accredited programs are also accepted.

Internship Requirements

In addition to the coursework listed above, LPC licensure in Maine requires the completion of a practicum and an internship. A practicum should provide practical experience in counseling for the purpose of developing individual and group counseling skills and be comprised of at least 100 hours. An internship, on the other hand, should consist of 600 hours of supervised counseling experience.

Licensure as a clinical professional counselor requires the completion of 1,000 hours of supervised experience with at least 40 involving direct client contact.

Both the practicum and internship are distinct from post-graduate supervision, also a requirement for LPC and LCPC licensure in Maine.

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Supervision Hours

“Supervision” is shorthand for post-degree, directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Maine requires aspiring LPCs to complete at least 2,000 hours of post-graduate, supervised experience in the practice of counseling in a minimum of two years. One thousand of those hours must be in direct counseling with clients with at least one hour of supervision for every 30 hours of experience. Additionally, 34 of the total 67 supervision hours must be individual. The supervisor must be an LCPC, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed pastoral counselor, licensed clinical social worker, certified social worker, licensed psychologist, or licensed psychiatrist certified by a national professional organization in training or supervision.

For LCPC licensure, applicants in Maine must complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical counseling experience within at least 2 years following their degree completion. Of these hours, 1,500 must involve direct client contact with 100 minimum hours of supervision.

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Examination

LPC licensure in Maine requires a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE), a 200-question, multiple-choice examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. It assesses knowledge, skills, and abilities in effective counseling services.

For non-clinical practice, LCPC must pass the NCE while clinical practice requires the passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (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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LPC and LCPC Licensure Fees

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

Conditional Licensure: $200

LPC/LCPC License: $250

LPC/LCPC Application: $25

Conditional Licensure Renewal: $200

LPC/LCPC License Renewal: $250

Out of State Application: $25

Out of State Licensure Fee: $250

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LPC License Renewal

LPC licenses in Maine expire biennially on the date they were issued. Following a 90-day grace period, unrenewed licenses are terminated. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate renewal fee and completion of continuing education.

Continuing Education

LPCs in Maine must complete at least 55 hours of continuing education (CE) in professional counseling during the two-year renewal period to successfully renew their licenses. Of those 55 hours, at least four must relate to ethics. CE may be earned through optional peer consultation,  graduate academic courses, institutes, workshops, seminars, conferences, in-service training, formal home study courses, online or distance learning programs, and informal home study, professional writing, teaching graduate academic courses, and field supervision of interns.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

The Maine Professional and Financial Regulation Agency has alternative routes to licensure for counselors who have already obtained their licenses in other states. These processes include submitting evidence of 5 active years of practice with a good standing counseling license or meeting qualifications that are similar to Maine’s licensing requirements.

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Average Counselor Salary in Maine

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

Average Counselor Salary in Maine
Type of Counselor Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor $22.38 $46,550
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor $23.72 $49,330
Marriage and Family Therapists $29.87 $62,130
Mental Health Counselor $24.19 $50,320
Rehabilitation Counselor $19.18 $39,890

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Maine Counseling Scholarships

The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LPCs and LCPCs in Maine:

American Addiction Centers’ Behavioral Health Academic Scholarship Program

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

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

  • Type: Loan Repayments
  • Amount: Between $30,000 and $50,000
  • Description: Maine LPCs and LCPCs 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.

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

  • 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, and fees were retrieved as of May 2017. Information may have changed since, check with the state's board of licensing for more information.