Become a Counselor in Nebraska
As in many other states, counselors in Nebraska may be known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Unlike most other states, licensure as an LPC in Nebraska is actually the result of obtaining a primary license and credential: that of a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner and a Certified Professional Counselor.
The state’s premier professional organization for counselors is the Nebraska 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 Nebraska is managed by the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Licensure requirements for counselors in Nebraska, 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.
LCPs licensure (via LMHP and CPC licensure) in Nebraska requires the completion of a master’s or doctorate degree from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs-approved professional counseling program or from a regionally accredited institution.
Appropriate degree programs will include at least three semester hours of graduate coursework in counseling theory and five in the following content areas:
- Human growth and development
- Social and cultural foundations
- The helping relationship
- Group dynamics, processing, and counseling
- Lifestyle and career development
- Appraisal of individuals
- Research and evaluation
- Professional orientation
Like many other states, LCP licensure (via LMHP and CPC licensure) in Nebraska requires the completion of a practicum, also sometimes referred to as an internship. This practicum must be part of the graduate degree program and consist of at least three semester hours, and is a distinct requirement from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for LPC licensure in Nebraska. (See “Supervision” below for details.)
“Supervision” is shorthand for directed experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Nebraska requires aspiring LPCs to complete 3,000 hours of supervision in the five years immediately preceding the application for licensure. A ratio of two hours of face-to-face contact with the supervisor (no more than six supervisees per supervisor) for every 15 hours of contact with clients must be maintained, and no more than 45 hours may be gained without the presence of a supervisor.
LPC licensure (via LMHP licensure and CPC certification) in Nebraska 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.
LMHPs, CPCs, and LPCs in Nebraska can expect to pay the following fees for their license, renewal, and examination:
LMHP/CPC License: $50
LMHP/CPC License Renewal: $50
License Renewal Late Fee: $25 (Within 30 Days); $35 (Within One Year)
National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification: $195
National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination: $195
Both CPC and LMHP licenses in Nebraska expire biennially on September 1 of each even-numbered year. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate fees (see above) and the completion of Continuing Education.
Continuing Education (CE)
Although there are no CE requirements for CPC licenses, there are for LMHP licenses—which counselors must also possess to be certified as LPCs. Nebraska LMHPs are required to complete 32 hours of CE during each two-year renewal period. Of these 32 hours, at least two must be related to ethics. One graduate-level semester hour of coursework is equivalent to 15 hours of CE. CE may also be earned through home-study programs (maximum of 20 hours), publications (max 20), dissertations (max 32), university instruction (max 30), educational videos (max 10) or workshops, seminars, and lectures.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services 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 Department’s website.
Average Counselor Salary in Nebraska
The following types of counselors in Nebraska 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||$19.54||$40,650|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$24.26||$50,460|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$20.51||$42,670|
|Mental Health Counselors||$22.61||$47,030|
Nebraska Counseling Scholarships
The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LMHPs, CPCs, and LPCs in Nebraska:
- Type: Loan Repayments
- Amount: Up to $40,000 per Year
- Description: Counselors in Nebraska are eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance in exchange for working in a state-designated shortage area for three years. The program requires a 50 percent local match with state funds.
- 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).