How to Become a Counselor in Texas

State of Texas

As in many other states, counselors in Texas who have obtained their licensure are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Texas counselors who are still in the supervision portion of the licensure process are referred to as Licensed Professional Counselor Interns (LPCIs).

The state’s premier professional organization for LPCs and LPCIs is the Texas Counseling Association, a local branch of the American Counseling Association, whose mission is “to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.”

Licensure for Texas LPCs is managed by the state Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, a branch of the Texas Department of State health Services. Licensure requirements for counselors in Texas, including education, supervision, examination, fees, renewal, and “provisional licensure,” 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 Texas

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Texas LPC licensure requires the completion of a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a counseling-related field from an accredited college or university. Counseling-related fields include psychology, psychiatry, social work, and marriage and family therapy.

Appropriate degree programs will be at least 48 graduate semester hours long and include coursework in each of the following areas:

  1. Normal human growth and development
  2. Abnormal human behavior
  3. Appraisal or assessment techniques
  4. Counseling theories
  5. Counseling methods or techniques
  6. Research
  7. Lifestyle and career development
  8. Social, cultural, and family issues
  9. Professional orientation
  10. Practicum

*Beginning August 1, 2017, Texas State Board Examiners of Professional Counselors will require a 60 graduate semester credit program. Additional required coursework includes:

  1. Addictions counseling
  2. Counselor ethics
  3. Couples, Marriage, or Families
  4. Psyhopathology

Internship Requirements

In addition to the coursework listed above, Texas LPC licensure also requires the completion of a supervised practicum experience, sometimes referred to as an internship. The practicum should consist of at least 300 hours, with a minimum of 100 hours of direct client contact. This practicum requirement is distinct from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for LPC licensure in Texas.

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Supervision Hours

“Supervision” is shorthand for directed, post-graduate experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Texas requires LPCs to complete 3,000 hours of supervision in a minimum of 18 months, with at least 1,500 hours of client contact under the direction of an approved supervisor.

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Examinations

Texas LPC licensure requires a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification and the Texas Jurisprudence 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.

Texas Jurisprudence Exam

The Texas Jurisprudence Exam is a no-fail assessment designed to demonstrate familiarity with Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors’ rules. It is available online through the Board’s website.

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LPC Licensure Fees

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

LPC Application and License: $190

LPC Biennial License Renewal: $106

Out-of-state Application: $200

Texas Jurisprudence Exam: $40

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LPC License Renewal

Texas LPC licenses expire biennially. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate fees and the completion of continuing education and the Texas Jurisprudence Exam.

Continuing Education

LPCs in Texas are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year renewal cycle. Four of these hours must focus on ethics, with the Texas Jurisprudence exam qualifying for one.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors has an alternative route to licensure for counselors who have already obtained their licenses in other states. This process is called “provisional licensure”. Out-of-state applicants are required to submit a completed application, appropriate fee, submit a letter of verification from originating state licensing board, provide proof of a passing score on the NCE and submit graduate transcripts.

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Average Counselor Salary in Texas

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

Average Counselor Salary in Texas
Type of Counselor Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors $19.75 $41,090
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors $27.88 $57,980
Marriage and Family Therapists $20.52 $42,690
Mental Health Counselors $22.70 $47,210
Rehabilitation Counselors $21.33 $44,360
All Other Counselors $29.28 $60,900

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Texas Counseling Scholarships

The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to Texas LPCs and LPCIs:

Texas School Counselor Association (TSCA) Scholarships

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $500 to $2,000
  • Description: TSCA offers 10 scholarships to members, their students or family members (e.g., children, grandchildren, etc.) who plan on pursuing undergraduate or graduate study in school counseling and more.

Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: This award from the American Psychological Foundation is available 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: LPCs in Texas 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- 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, 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.