Become a Counselor in Mississippi
As in many other states, counselors in Mississippi who have obtained their licensure are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). The state’s premier professional organization for LPCs is the Mississippi Counseling Association, a branch of the American Counseling Association, which was founded in 1950 to “encourage the personal and professional development of counselors, influence decisions that affect the counseling profession, and promote progress, understanding, and improvement of counseling."
Licensure for LPCs in Mississippi is managed by the State Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors. Licensure requirements for counselors in Mississippi, 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 in the state.
LPCs licensure in Mississippi requires the completion of a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field from a regionally or nationally accredited institution.
Appropriate degree programs will be at least 60 semester hours and include a three-hour semester course in the following core content areas:
- Human growth and development
- Social and cultural foundation
- Helping relationships
- Lifestyle and career development
- Research and evaluation
- Professional orientation
- Marriage and/or family counseling/therapy
- Diagnosis and treatment
Unlike many other states, LPC licensure in Mississippi does not require the completion of an internship or practicum as part of the degree program. This is distinct from post-graduate supervision, which Mississippi does require for LPC licensure. (See “Supervision” below for details.)
“Supervision” is shorthand for post-degree, directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Mississippi requires aspiring LPCs to complete at least 3,500 hours of supervision, with a maximum of 40 hours per week. Up to 1,750 hours may also be obtained while enrolled in a degree program, through an internship or practicum. Of the required hours of supervision, at least 1,167 should be in direct counseling services for clients. One hundred hours of individual face-to-face supervision are also required, of which only 50 hours may be group supervision.
LPC licensure in Mississippi requires a passing score on either the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor 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.
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.
LPCs in Mississippi can expect to pay the following fees for their application, renewal, and examination:
LPC Application: $100
LPC License Renewal: $121
LPC licenses in Minnesota expire biennially. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate renewal fee (see “Fees” above) and completion of Continuing Education.
Continuing Education (CE)
Mississippi LPCs are required to complete 24 hours of CE during each two-year renewal period. Six of these hours must focus on professional ethics or legal issues in the delivery of counseling services. CE may be obtained through activities approved by the American Counseling Association, American Mental Health Counselors Association, Mississippi Counseling Association, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, and National Board of Certified Counselors.
For Counselors Licensed in Other States
The Mississippi Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors 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 Mississippi
The following types of counselors in Mississippi 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||$15.32||$31,860|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor||$23.30||$48,470|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$20.91||$43,490|
|Mental Health Counselor||$16.22||$33,730|
Mississippi Counseling Scholarships
The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LPCs in Mississippi:
- Type: Scholarships
- Amount: To Be Decided by NAJA
- Description: Applicant must be working or planning to work directly with children; be pursuing graduate-level studies for one year in fields that address the special needs of children and youth, such as counseling; be a U.S. citizen and permanent resident of a state with a Junior Auxiliary Chapter, such as Mississippi; and be planning to attend a U.S. college or university for full-time or part-time study.
- 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: Mississippi 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).