Become a Counselor in Oregon
As in many other states, licensed counselors in Oregon are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), and counselors still in the supervision portion of the licensure process are known as Registered Interns.
The state’s premier professional organization for LPCs is the Oregon Counseling Association, which was first organized in 1947 as the Oregon Personnel and Guidance Association for express purpose of serving and supporting professional counselors in their work. Licensure for LPCs in Oregon is managed by the state Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists, whose mission is to “assist the public by identifying and regulating the practice of qualified mental health counselors ....”
Licensure requirements for counselors in Oregon, including 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.
LPC licensure in Oregon requires the completion of a graduate degree in counseling from a program approved by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the Council on Rehabilitation Education or equivalent standards.
Appropriate degree programs will be at least 60 semester credit hours in length, including at least two hours of coursework in:
- Counseling theory;
- Human growth and development;
- Social and cultural foundations;
- The helping relationship;
- Group dynamics processing and counseling;
- Lifestyle and career development;
- Diagnosis and appraisal of individuals;
- Research and evaluation;
- Professional orientation.
In addition to the coursework listed above, LPC licensure in Oregon also requires the completion of a clinical/applied experience, sometimes referred to as an internship. This internship should consist of at least 700 clock hours with 280 hours in direct client contact. This is a distinct requirement from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for LPC licensure in Oregon. (See “Supervision” below for details.)
“Supervision” is shorthand for directed, post-graduate experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Oregon requires aspiring LPCs to complete 2,400 hours of supervision, with at least 50 percent of the direction from an approved supervisor happening on a one-to-one basis.
LPC licensure in Oregon requires a passing score on either the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification, the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam or the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam. Additionally, aspiring LPCs must also pass the Oregon Laws and Rules 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 assess 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.
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.
Administered online by the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists, the Laws and Rules Exam is comprised of 28 true-or-false, multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. It is graded on a pass-fail basis, with at least 23 questions being answered correctly to pass.
LPCs in Oregon can expect to pay the following fees for their license, renewal and examination:
LPC Application: $125
LPC License: $100
LPC License Renewal: $125
National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification: $195
National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination: $195
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam: $385
LPC licenses in Oregon expire annually. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate fees (see above) and the completion of Continuing Education.
Continuing Education (CE)
Oregon LPCs are required to complete 40 hours of CE during each two-year reporting period. That amount is prorated to 20 hours for licenses issued between 12 and 36 months before the reporting date, and is completely waived for licenses issued less than 12 months before the reporting date.
At least six hours of CE focusing on ethics are required for every reporting period. The remaining hours may focus on any core content areas. (See “Coursework” above for specifics.) Unlimited CE hours may be obtained through attendance of college or university courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, training and home study. Up to 20 CE hours per period may be earned through publication, professional presentations and leadership.
For Counselors Licensed in Other States
The Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists 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 Oregon
The following types of counselors in Oregon can expect to earn the respective 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||$21.99||$45,730|
|Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselors||$26.09||$54,270|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$19.33||$40,210|
|Mental Health Counselors||$25.64||$53,330|
|All Other Counselors||$24.73||$51,440|
Oregon Counseling Scholarships
The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to aspiring LPCs and Registered Interns in Oregon:
- Type: Scholarship
- Amount: To be Decided
- Description: Lake County, Oregon high school graduates who will be enrolling as graduate students at least part time during the next academic year may be eligible for this award.
- Type: Loan Repayments
- Amount: Up to $20,000
- Description: LPCs who have completed (or will complete within eight months) their graduate degree programs may apply for repayment of qualifying debt in exchange for at least one year of service at a practice site for underserved populations.
- 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: Oregon 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).