How to Become a Counselor in Nebraska

State of Nebraska

As in many other states, counselors in Nebraska may be known as Certified Professional Counselors (CPCs). Unlike most states, licensure that results from a counseling degree program and appropriate supervised hours results in a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP) or Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner (LIMHP) title.

The state’s premier professional organization for counselors is the Nebraska 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 Nebraska is managed by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Licensure requirements for counselors in Nebraska, 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 in the state.

Counselor Education in Nebraska

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Licensure as a licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP) requires the completion of a master’s or doctorate degree from a:

  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Commission of Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or
  • American Psychological Association (APA) accredited graduate program or equivalent.

Appropriate degree programs will include at least three semester hours of graduate coursework in counseling theory and in five of the following content areas:

  1. Human growth and development
  2. Social and cultural foundations
  3. The helping relationship
  4. Group dynamics, processing, and counseling
  5. Lifestyle and career development
  6. Appraisal of individuals
  7. Research and evaluation
  8. Professional orientation

Internship Requirements

Like many other states, licensure as a mental health practitioner or professional counselor in Nebraska requires the completion of a practicum, also sometimes referred to as an internship. This practicum must be part of the graduate degree program and consists of at least three semester hours. For CACREP-approved programs, however, this requirement is six credit hours, equivalent to at least 600 hours of clinical graduate counseling experience.

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Supervision Hours

“Supervision” is shorthand for directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Nebraska requires aspiring mental health practitioners and professional counselors to complete 3,000 hours of supervision in the five years immediately preceding the application for licensure. Of the required hours, half of them must be in direct client contact. At least one hour per week should be dedicated to face-to-face supervision. While completing the supervised clinical contact hours, individuals are known as provisionally licensed mental health practitioners.

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Examination

Licensure as a licensed mental health practitioner and professional counselor in Nebraska requires a passing score on either the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam.

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 also administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

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LMHP, CPC, and LPC Fees

LMHPs, CPCs, and LPCs in Nebraska can expect to pay the following fees for their initial license and renewal:

LMHP License: $155

LIMHP License: $50

CPC Certification: $50

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LMHP and CPC License Renewal

Both CPC and LMHP licenses in Nebraska expire biennially on September 1 of each even-numbered year. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate fees and the completion of continuing education.

Continuing Education for LMHP and CPCs

Although there are no continuing education (CE) requirements for CPC certifications, there are for LMHP licenses—which counselors must also possess to be certified as LPCs. Nebraska LMHPs are required to complete 32 hours of CE during each two-year renewal period. Of these 32 hours, at least two must be related to ethics. One graduate-level semester hour of coursework is equivalent to 15 hours of CE. CE may also be earned through home-study programs, publications, dissertations, university instruction, educational videos, or workshops, seminars, and lectures.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has an alternative route to licensure for counselors who have already obtained their licenses in other states. This process is called “licensure by reciprocity”. Applicants must provide appropriate documentation that their licensing state’s standard for mental health practice is equivalent to Nebraska’s. Individuals seeking licensure a LMHP in Nebraska must also submit proof of a completed graduate degree, passed a mental health practice exam, and have been engaged in continuous mental health practice for at least one year prior to application.

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Average Counselor Salary in Nebraska

The following types of counselors in Nebraska 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 Nebraska
Type of Counselor Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors $19.83 $41,240
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors $27.78 $57,780
Marriage and Family Therapists $26.83 $55,800
Mental Health Counselors $23.82 $49,540
Rehabilitation Counselors $18.96 $39,440

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Nebraska Counseling Scholarships

The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LMHPs, CPCs, and LPCs in Nebraska:

Nebraska Loan Repayment Program

  • Type: Loan Repayments
  • Amount: Up to $40,000 per Year
  • Description: Counselors in Nebraska are eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance in exchange for working in a state-designated shortage area for three years. The program requires a 50 percent local match with state funds.

American Addiction Centers’ Behavioral Health Academic Scholarship Program

  • 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.

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, 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.