How to Become A Counselor in Oklahoma - Online Counseling Programs
How to Become a Counselor in Oklahoma
As in many other states, counselors in Oklahoma who have obtained their licensure are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). The state’s premier professional organizations for LPCs is the Oklahoma Counseling Association, a branch of the American Counseling Association. Licensure for LPCs in Oklahoma is managed by the State Board of Behavioral Health.
Licensure requirements for counselors in Oklahoma, 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.
Counselor Education in Oklahoma
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Oklahoma LPC licensure requires the completion of a master’s degree in counseling or a related mental health graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university recognized by the United States Department of Education.
Appropriate degree programs will be at least 60 semester credit hours long and include at least one course of at least three semester credit hours in each of the following content areas:
An additional five, three semester-credit hour courses should be completed in the following knowledge areas:
Lifestyle and career development
Social and cultural foundations
Counseling with children/adolescents
Physical and emotional health
In addition to the coursework listed above, LPC licensure in Oklahoma also requires the completion of a practicum, also sometimes referred to as an internship. This must be at least 300 hours long, with planned experiences providing classroom and field experience with clients under the supervision of college- or university-appointed counseling professionals.
“Supervision” is shorthand for directed, post-graduate experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. LPC licensure in Oklahoma requires three years or 3,000 hours of full-time supervision. For each 1,000 hours of supervision, at least 350 must be in face-to-face client contact. There must also be at least 45 minutes of direction from an approved supervisor for every 20 hours of on-the-job experience, with no more than half of all supervisor direction in a group setting.
Before pursuing supervised counseling hours, applicants must first submit an application, verification of Oklahoma Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Exam passing score, a supervision agreement, statement of professional disclosure, and an on-site supervisor verification form.
Unlike other states, Oklahoma LPC licenses expire in three consecutive periods: initial, interim and annual. The initial license period expires two years after the license was issued, on the last day of the month. The interim renewal period expires on the following June 30. The annual renewal period expires every two years following then, also on June 30.
License renewal in Oklahoma requires completing the renewal application, paying of renewal fees and, for interim and annual license periods, completing the required hours of continuing education.
LPCs in Oklahoma who are in an interim or annual license period are required to complete up to 20 hours of continuing education (CE) every year, though that number will be prorated according to the length of the license period. Three of those CE hours must be in pre-approved, face-to-face counseling ethics program. The Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health maintains a list of pre-approved workshops, home-study courses and technology-assisted learning programs. Home-study and technology-assisted courses must be pre-approved by the board and may not make up more than 10 hours during each renewal period.
The Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health has an alternative route to licensure for counselors who have already earned their licenses in other parts of the United States. This process is known as “licensure by endorsement”.
Applicants from out-of-state must request fingerprint cards, complete documents of recommendation and an out-of-state verification form, submit an official graduate transcript, provide proof of a passing score on the NCE, and complete the appropriate application.
Description: NBCCF offers this award to master’s-level, Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs-accredited program students who live in a rural area and are committed to serving in rural areas for at least two years upon graduation.
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.
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.
Description: American Addiction Centers offers three scholarships providing financial assistance to full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in behavioral health and addiction-related studies, including counseling.
Description: Oklahoma LPCs are eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance in exchange for working at a site approved by the National Health Service Corps in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Funding is tied to HPSA score and is in exchange for two years of full- or half-time service.
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.
*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.