Become a Counselor in Arkansas
As in many other states, counselors in Arkansas are called Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). While under supervision — a requirement for LPC licensure in Arkansas — counselors are referred to as Licensed Associate Counselors (LACs).
Arkansas’ largest professional association for LPCs is the Arkansas Counselors Association. LPC licensure in the state is handled by the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling, which maintains all of the requirements for education, supervision, and examination, including the oral exam — which, among all of the states, is unique to Arkansas.
Licensure details are examined further below, along with salary information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as scholarships available to aspiring LPCs in Arkansas.
An application for licensure as an LPC in Arkansas requires the completion of a master’s degree or higher in counseling or therapy.
In order to qualify for LPC licensure in Arkansas, the degree program must consist of a minimum of 60 graduate hours completed with a grade of A or B, and include at least three hours of coursework in the following content areas:
- Professional identity
- Social and cultural diversity
- Human growth and development
- Career development
- Helping relations
- Group work
- Research and program evaluation
- Abnormal psychology/psychopathology
- Family and relationship
LPC licensure in Arkansas requires an internship, also known as a practicum. The internship must total at least 100 clock hours, including 40 hours of direct service with clients. This must include:
- Experience in individual counseling and group work
- An average of one hour per week with individual and/or triadic supervision by a program faculty member or supervisor
- One and a half hours of group supervision per week
- A performance evaluation
Aspiring LPCs in Arkansas must complete at least 3,000 hours of client contact in psychotherapy under the oversight of a state-approved supervisor. Supervision must be provided by a practitioner who is an LPC, holds approved supervisor status from the Arkansas Board, and whose license is valid.
Supervision typically lasts three years. One year is defined as 1,000 supervised Client Contact Hours (CCHs). Supervision must be provided in the following manner by year:
- Year one: at least 100 hours of supervision for 1,000 CCHs
- Year two: at least 50 hours of supervision for 1,000 CCHs
- Year three: at least 25 hours of supervision for 1,000 CCHs
As previously noted, aspiring LPCs under supervision are known as Licensed Associate Counselors (LACs). Group supervision may not exceed 50 percent of the total 3,000 CCHs for LACs.
LPC licensure in Arkansas requires a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure (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.
LPCs in Arkansas can expect to pay the following fees for their application, renewal, examination, and other licensure expenses:
LPC/LAC Application Packet by Mail: $20 (Plus Shipping and Handling)
LPC/LAC Application Packet Online: Free
National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification: $195
LAC License: $250 (Prorated)
LPC License: $300 (Prorated)
LAC License Renewal: $250
LPC License Renewal: $300
Late Renewal Fee: $100 (July 1 to December 1) / $200 (December 2 to June 30)
Application for Retired Status: $50
Application for Reactivation: $50
Arkansas LPC license renewal involves submitting the appropriate fees (see above) and a statement of Continuing Education. LPC and LAC licenses must be renewed every two years.
License renewal requires documentation of at least 24 clock hours of Continuing Education (CE) for each renewal period (or retaking and passing the National Counselor Examination or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination 12 months prior to license expiration).
Two of the 24 CE hours must be in ethics. CE activities can include passing college or university courses; attending seminars, workshops, and conferences; publishing; providing supervision; completing dissertations; or taking on leadership roles.
>Additional Licensure Requirements
Arkansas LPC licensure requires three or more letters of reference, a statement of professional intent to provide psychotherapy, and a plan for client records upon the incapacitation or termination of the counselor. A criminal background check must also be completed. Following their receipt of passing written examination scores, the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling will additionally schedule the applicant for an interview, which constitutes the required oral exam and must be passed.
Average Counselor Salary in Arkansas
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following types of counselors in Arkansas can expect to earn the corresponding average hourly wage and average annual wage:
|Occupation||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor||$16.82||$34,990|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor||$24.99||$51,970|
Arkansas Counseling Scholarships
The following scholarships are available to aspiring LPCs in Arkansas:
- Type: Scholarship
- Amount: To Be Determined by ArMHCA
- Description: The ArMHCA Scholarship is open to graduate students studying counseling in Arkansas. Applicants must be dues-paying members of the association and submit a short essay about themselves, their inspiration, and their goals for counseling.
- Type: Scholarships
- Amount: Varies According to Award
- Description: The Arkansas Rehabilitation Association offers a number of scholarships based on merit, financial need, and thoroughness of the completed application.
- Type: Loan Repayment
- Amount: Between $30,000 and $50,000
- Description: LPCs 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.
- Type: Scholarship
- 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).