Become a Counselor in Missouri
As in many other states, counselors in Missouri who have obtained their licensure are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Those counselors still in the supervision portion of the licensure process are known as Provisional Licensed Professional Counselors (PLPCs). The state’s premier professional organization for LPCs and PLPCs is the American Counseling Association of Missouri, whose mission is to “enhance quality of life in the state of Missouri by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.”
Licensure for LPCs and PLPCs in Missouri is managed by the state Committee for Professional Counselors, a branch of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. Licensure requirements for counselors in Missouri, 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 scholarships and loan repayment programs available to aspiring LPCs and PLPCs in the state.
Licensure as a professional counselor in Missouri requires the completion of a 48 semester-hour master’s degree in counseling or a related field.
Appropriate degree programs will include a three-semester-hour, graduate-level course in the following core areas of study:
- Counseling theory
- Human growth and development
- Helping relationship
- Social and cultural foundations
- Career development
- Appraisal of individuals
- Group dynamics
- Research methods
- Professional orientation
Like many other states, LPC licensure in Missouri requires the completion of a practicum, also sometimes referred to as an internship. This practicum must be at least six credit hours of 600 supervised graduate hours and is a distinct requirement from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for LPC licensure in Missouri.
“Supervision” is shorthand for post-degree, directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. After completion of graduate degree requirements, individuals apply to become a provisional licensed professional counselor (PLPC) while pursuing supervised counseling hours for licensure. The requirement for full licensure as a licensed professional counselor includes 3,000 hours of supervision in at least two years, with a minimum of 15 hours per week. At least 1,200 of those hours must be in direct counseling services for clients, and there must be one hour per week of face-to-face supervision from an approved supervisor, with a minimum of two weeks of individual supervision.
Licensure first as a PLPC requires a passing score on both the National Counselor Examination for Licensure. Application for licensed professional counselors requires the completion of the Missouri Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination.
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.
Missouri Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination
The Missouri Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination is an online, open-book exam with no time limit. In 20 two-part, true-or-false and identification questions, it tests knowledge of the laws and regulations that govern LPC practice in Missouri.
LPCs in Missouri can expect to pay the following fees for their application, renewal, and examination:
PLPC Registration for Supervision: $75
LPC Application: $100
LPC License Renewal: $125
LPC License Renewal Late Fee: $50-$100
Missouri Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination: $45
LPC licenses in Missouri expires biennially. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate renewal fee and completion of continuing education.
Missouri LPCs are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year renewal period. At least 20 of these hours must consist of formal CE and at least 20 of formal, self-study, or a combination of both. Formal CE may include post-graduate coursework, research presentations at professional meetings, attendance at verified professional meetings, attendance at workshops or seminars relevant to counseling, written contributions to relevant professional books, journals, or periodicals, instruction as a faculty member at an accredited institution, and instruction of continuing education (up to 4 hours). Acceptable providers of CE include the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, American Counseling Association, American Medical Association, American Mental Health Counselors Association, national psychology associations, national social work associations, National Board for Certified Counselors, regionally accredited colleges and universities, or any of their affiliates.
Average Counselor Salary in Missouri
The following types of counselors in Missouri 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 Counselors||$17.72||$36,850|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$22.88||$47,580|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$21.13||$43,950|
|Mental Health Counselors||$20.01||$41,620|
|All Other Counselors||$15.52||$32,270|
Missouri Counseling Scholarships
The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LPCs and PLCPs in Missouri:
- 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 Missouri; 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: Missouri 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).
*Licensure information including requirements, salaries, 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.