Become a Counselor in Arkansas
After obtaining their license, counselors in Arkansas become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Before applying for their professional licensure, counselors who are practicing under supervision are referred to as Licensed Associate Counselors (LACs).
Arkansas’ professional association for LPCs is the Arkansas Counselors Association, which provides organizational listings, a leadership development institute, and career resources. 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 an oral exam.
An application for licensure as a professional counselor in Arkansas requires the completion of an accredited counseling master’s degree program with a counseling or therapy curriculum.
In order to qualify for application as a LPC in Arkansas, the graduate degree program must consist of a minimum of 60 graduate semester hours completed with a “B” or better grade and include at least three semester credits 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
- Family & Relationship
LPC licensure in Arkansas requires a practicum and internship. The practicum must total at least 100 clock hours, including 40 hours of direct service with clients. Internship experience is 600 clock hours that begins right after the practicum. 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 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 and current.
One year is defined as 1,000 supervised Client Contact Hours (CCHs). Supervision must be provided in the following manner by Phase:
- Phase I: at least 100 hours of supervision for 1,000 CCHs
- Phase II: at least 50 hours of supervision for 1,000 CCHs
- Phase III: at least 25 hours of supervision for 1,000 CCHs
Group supervision must not exceed 50 percent of the total CCHs. Indirect services must not exceed 200 for Phase I, 300 for Phase II, or 300 CCHs for Phase III. LACs have six years to complete their 3,000 CCHs, otherwise their LAC licensure may not be renewed.
During the third phase, licensed associate counselors may opt to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) with recommendation from their supervisor and approval of the Board. A passing score on the NCMHCE is equivalent to 500 CCHs and is applied to Phase III.
National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification
The NCE is a 200-question multiple-choice examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). It assesses knowledge, skills, and abilities in effective counseling services.
The National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam
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 NBCC.
LPCs in Arkansas can expect to pay the following fees for their application, renewal, examination, and other licensure expenses:
Initial LAC/LPC Application: $200
LAC to LPC Application: $100
Application for Specialization License(s): $50
Biennial License Renewal - LAC: $250
Biennial License Renewal - LPC: $300
Late Renewal Fees: $100-$200
All licenses expire every two years on June 30th of the renewal year. Licensing dates and payments of fees are set from July 1st to June 30th. All applicants for renewal of their counselors licensure must provide evidence of completion of at least 24 clock hours of continuing education and/or training.
Arkansas LPC license renewal involves submitting the appropriate fees (see above) and this 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 NCE or NCMHCE 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||$16.13||$36,430|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor||$25.95||$53,550|
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).
*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.