Become a Counselor in Idaho
Counselors in Idaho can go by three different titles corresponding to their professional status: Those who have yet to complete the supervision portion of the licensure process may be Registered Counselor Interns; those who have completed the licensure process are Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs); and those who wish to continue their education and further develop their clinical skills can obtain licensure as Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPCs).
The premier professional organization for Registered Counselor Interns, LPCs, and LCPCs is the Idaho Counseling Association, whose mission is “to enhance human development throughout the lifespan and to promote the counseling and human development profession.” Licensure for counselors in Idaho is managed by the state Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, a division of the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses.
Licensure requirements for counselors in Idaho, including those relating to education, supervision, examination, fees, and renewal, are examined in further detail below, along with salary information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as public and private scholarships available to aspiring counselors in the state.
LPC licensure in Idaho requires the completion of a 60-semester-hour graduate degree program in counseling, which is approved by either the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or the Council on Rehabilitation Education. Alternatively, the Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists may approve a program that demonstrates instruction in counseling theory and counseling techniques, and includes supervised counseling experience.
Appropriate degree programs will consist of at least one graduate-level course in each of the following eight content areas:
- Human growth and development
- Social and cultural foundations
- The philosophic bases of counseling
- Group theory and practice
- Lifestyle and career development
- Appraisal of the individual
- Research and evaluation
- Professional orientation
In addition to the content areas listed above, LPC applicants in Idaho must complete at least six semester hours of advanced counseling practicum, sometimes referred to as an internship. The internship must be supervised at a ratio of at least one hour of one-to-one supervision for every 10 hours of experience. This requirement is distinct from the post-degree, directed experience commonly referred to as “supervision,” although these hours can be applied towards supervision.
“Supervision” is shorthand for post-degree, directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting, a requirement for LPC licensure in Idaho. As previously mentioned, counselors who have yet to complete their supervision may be known as Registered Counselor Interns.
Registered Counselor Interns must complete 1,000 clock hours of experience working in a counseling setting—400 hours of which should be in direct client contact. Supervision must include one hour of one-on-one or one-on-two direction from the supervisor—an LPC or LCPC—for every 10 or 20 hours of experience, depending on the setting. This direction must be face to face, although that may be facilitated by a secure live electronic connection.
LPC licensure in Idaho requires a passing score on the National Counselors Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE), which 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.
LCPC licensure additionally requires passing the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE), which 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.
Registered Counselor Interns, LPCs, and LCPCs in Idaho can expect to pay the following fees for their application, renewal, examination, and other licensure expenses:
LPC/LCPC Application: $75
Registered Counselor Intern Application: $25
LPC/LCPC License: $75
LPC/LCPC License Renewal: $100
National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification: $195
National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination: $195
LPC and LCPC licenses in Idaho expire annually. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate renewal fee (see above) and completion of Continuing Education.
Both LPCs and LCPCs in Idaho must complete 20 hours of Continuing Education (CE) during the 12-month renewal period to successfully renew their licenses. No less than three hours must be in ethics and obtained in a face-to-face setting with instructor/participant interaction. CE may also be earned through college or university courses (one semester credit equals 15 hours), seminars, workshops, conferences, publications (maximum of four hours each period), presentations (max four hours), clinical supervision and case consultation (max five hours), dissertation (max five hours), leadership (max four hours), and home study or online education (max 10 hours). Excess hours may be applied towards the following renewal period.
For Counselors Licensed in Other States
The Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists has an alternative route to licensure for counselors who have already obtained their professional counseling licenses in other states. This process is known as “licensure by endorsement” and is delineated on the Board’s website.
Average Counselor Salary in Idaho
The following types of counselors in Idaho can expect to earn the corresponding average hourly and annual wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Occupation||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor||$20.36||$42,340|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor||$19.76||$41,110|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$18.92||$39,340|
|Mental Health Counselor||$22.13||$46,020|
Idaho Counseling Scholarships
The following grants, scholarships, and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LPCs and LCPCs in Idaho:
- Type: Grants and Scholarships
- Amount: Varies According to Award
- Description: The Pride Foundation offers residents of the Northwest (including Idaho) who are pursuing post-secondary education anywhere in the world to apply to more than 50 scholarships through one application. Preference is given to students who self-identify as LGBTQ, are members of LGBTQ families, or have been strongly supportive of the LGBTQ community.
- Type: Scholarships
- 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).
- Type: Loan Repayment
- Amount: Between $30,000 and $50,000
- Description: LPCs and LCPCs in Idaho 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.