Become a Counselor in Minnesota
As in many other states, counselors in Minnesota who have obtained their licensure are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs)—although those who have continued their education and further developed their clinical skills can also obtain licensure as Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPCs). The state’s premier professional organization for LPCs and LCPCs is the Minnesota Counseling Association, which was founded in 1970 to “provide information and resources about the counseling profession and to provide networking, education, legislative, and other support for Minnesota’s professional counselors.”
Licensure for LPCs and LCPCs in Minnesota is managed by the state Board of Behavioral and Health Therapy, a division of the Minnesota Health Licensing Boards. Licensure requirements for counselors in Minnesota, including those relating to education, supervision, examination, fees, renewal, and “licensure by reciprocity,” 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 aspiring LPCs and LCPCs in the state.
LPCS licensure in Minnesota requires the completion of a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program or an accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Appropriate degree programs will be at least 48 semester hours and include instruction in the following core content areas:
- Counseling theory and practice
- Human growth and development
- Lifestyle and career development
- Group dynamics, processes, counseling, and consulting
- Assessment and appraisal
- Social and cultural foundations
- Principles of etiology, treatment planning, and prevention
- Family counseling and therapy
- Research and evaluation
- Orientation and ethics
In addition to the coursework listed above, LPC licensure in Minnesota requires the completion of an internship as part of the degree program. This internship must include at least 700 hours of supervised field experience.
The internship requirements are distinct from post-graduate supervision, also a requirement for LPC licensure in Minnesota. (See “Supervision” below for details.)
“Supervision” is shorthand for post-degree, directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Minnesota requires aspiring LPCs to complete at least 2,000 hours of supervision following a plan arranged by the applicant and approved by the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy.
LPC licensure in Minnesota requires a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification, National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam, or Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology.
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.
National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE)
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 administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Exam
The CRC Exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions across 10 subjects underlying rehabilitation counseling. One portion of the exam tests knowledge regarding counseling, while the other pertains to rehabilitation and disability issues. It is administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.
Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP)
The EPPP is a 225-question, multiple-choice exam testing the knowledge base required for the various responsibilities psychologists are expected to assume in professional practice. It is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.
LPCs and LPCCs in Minnesota can expect to pay the following fees for their application, license, renewal, and examination:
LPC/LPCC Application: $150
LPC/LPCC License: $250
LPC/LPCC License Renewal: $250
LPC/LPCC License Renewal Late Fee: $100 per Month Delayed
National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification: $195
National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination: $195
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam: $385
Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology: $687.50
LPC licenses in Minnesota expire annually. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate renewal fee (see “Fees” above) and completion of Continuing Education.
Continuing Education (CE)
During the first four years of licensure, Minnesota LPCs are required to complete 40 hours of CE; thereafter, LPCs must still complete 40 hours of CE, though in two-year terms. CE may be obtained through courses relating to the 10 core counseling subjects listed above, beneath “Coursework.” Additionally, any educational activity approved by the American Counseling Association, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Program, American Association of State Counseling Boards, or National Board for Certified Counselors is automatically approved for CE by the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy.
For Counselors Licensed in Other States
The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy has an alternative route to licensure for counselors who have already obtained their licenses in other states. This process is called “licensure by reciprocity” and is delineated on the Board’s website.
Average Counselor Salary in Minnesota
The following types of counselors in Minnesota can expect to earn the corresponding average hourly and average annual wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Occupation||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor||$22.14||$46,040|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor||$25.28||$52,570|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$23.62||$49,140|
|Mental Health Counselor||$22.38||$46,550|
|All Other Counselors||$18.85||$39,210|
Minnesota Counseling Scholarships
The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LPCs and LPCCs in Minnesota:
- Types: Scholarships
- Amount: $500
- Description: The MSCA will award this scholarship to an individual pursuing a master’s degree in guidance and counseling with an emphasis in school counseling. Criteria include Minnesota residency or enrollment in a Minnesota school counseling program, completion of a bachelor’s degree, MSCA membership, and community involvement.
- 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 school students pursuing careers in behavior health and addiction-related studies, including counseling.
- Type: Loan Repayments
- Amount: Between $30,000 and $50,000
- Description: Minnesota 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: 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).