Become a Counselor in Montana
Counselors in Montana who have obtained their licensure are known as Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPCs). The state’s premier professional organization for LCPCs is the Montana Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors Association, which is a local chapter of the American Mental Health Counselors Association whose mission is to “advocate and defend Licensed Professional Counselors through [their] practice law, public policy advocacy, education, and professional development.” Licensure for LCPCs in Montana is managed by the state Board of Social Work Examiners and Professional Counselors, a division of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.
Licensure requirements for counselors in Montana, including those relating to education, supervision, examination, fees, renewal, and “licensure by credential,” 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 LCPCs in the state.
LCPCs licensure in Montana requires the completion of a 60-semester-hour graduate degree in counseling or a related field.
Appropriate degree programs will include core courses as identified by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs:
- Professional orientation and ethical practice
- Social and cultural diversity
- Human growth and development
- Career development
- Helping relationships
- Group work
- Research and program evaluation
Like many other states, LCPC licensure in Montana requires the completion of a practicum, also sometimes referred to as an internship. This practicum must be at least six semester hours and is a distinct requirement from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for LCPC licensure in Montana. (See “Supervision” below for details.)
“Supervision” is shorthand for directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Montana requires aspiring LCPCs to complete 3,000 hours of supervision—at least 1,500 of which must be post-degree. Supervisors must hold a current, valid license in any state as a professional counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
LCPC licensure in Montana 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 also administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
LCPCs in Montana can expect to pay the following fees for their application, license, renewal, and examination:
LCPC Application: $50
LCPC License: $50
LCPC License Renewal: $175
LCPC License Renewal Late Fee: $175
National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification: $195
National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination: $195
LCPC licenses in Montana expire annually, with the renewal period beginning November 1 and ending December 31. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate renewal fee (see “Fees” above) and completion of Continuing Education.
Continuing Education (CE)
Montana LCPCs are required to complete 20 hours of CE each year. A full list of approved CE courses can be found on the Montana Board of Social Work Examiners and Professional Counselors’ website.
For Counselors Licensed in Other States
The Montana Board of Social Work Examiners and 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 credential” and is delineated on the Montana Secretary of State’s website.
Average Counselor Salary in Montana
The following types of counselors in Montana 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||$22.14||$46,040|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$25.28||$52,570|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$23.62||$49,140|
|Mental Health Counselors||$22.38||$46,550|
|All Other Counselors||$18.85||$39,210|
Montana Counseling Scholarships
The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LCPCs in Montana:
- Type: Grants and Scholarships
- Amount: Varies According to Award
- Description: The Pride Foundation offers residents of the Northwest, including Montana, 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: Loan Repayments
- Amount: Between $7,500 and $15,000
- Description: Montana LCPCs 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: $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: 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).