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:

  1. Human growth and development
  2. Abnormal human behavior
  3. Appraisal/assessment techniques (two courses required)
  4. Counseling theories/methods (two courses required)
  5. Professional orientation/ethics
  6. Research
  7. Practicum/Internship

An additional five, three semester-credit hour courses should be completed in the following knowledge areas:

  1. Group dynamics
  2. Lifestyle and career development
  3. Social and cultural foundations
  4. Personality theories
  5. Crisis intervention
  6. Marriage/family counseling
  7. Addictions counseling
  8. Rehabilitation counseling
  9. Gerontology
  10. Human sexuality
  11. Counseling with children/adolescents
  12. Clinical supervision
  13. Psychopharmacology
  14. Consultation
  15. Physical and emotional health
  16. Grief Counseling

Internship Requirements

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.

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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 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.

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Examinations

Oklahoma LPC licensure requires a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification and the Oklahoma Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination.

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.

Oklahoma Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination (OLERE)

The OLERE is a one-hour-long, multiple-choice jurisprudence exam that covers the LPC Act and Regulations. It is administered by Oklahoma CareerTech.

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LPC Licensure Fees

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

LPC License Application: $145

LPC License Examination: $100

LPC Initial License: $90

LPC Annual License Renewal: $80

Oklahoma Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination: $40

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LPC License Renewal

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.

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.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

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.

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Average Counselor Salary in Oklahoma

Oklahoma counselors can expect to earn the following average hourly wages and average annual wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Average Counselor Salary in Oklahoma
Type of Counselor Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors $21.47 $44,650
Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselors $20.63 $42,920
Marriage and Family Therapists $19.97 $41,540
Mental Health Counselors $23.73 $49,350
Rehabilitation Counselors $13.54 $28,160
All Other Counselors $21.24 $44,170

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Oklahoma Counseling Scholarships

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

National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation (NBCCF) Rural Scholarship

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $5,000
  • 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.

Predoctoral Fellowship in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Program

  • 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.

Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $5,000
  • 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.

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 students pursuing careers in behavioral 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: 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.

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

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