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What Does a Licensed Professional Counselor Do?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 43.8 million adults in the United States experience mental ilnness in a given year. There is a growing need for exceptional mental health service providers in the U.S. to help this vulnerable population. Fortunately, that’s where Licensed Professional Counselors come in.

Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) are master’s-degreed professionals who serve a diverse clientele with different mental, emotional and behavioral difficulties. Although there are many different reasons to become an LPC, individuals who choose to seek careers in the field of professional counseling usually have one thing in common: the desire to help others overcome psychological and bevahorial issues in order to lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives. If you are interested in a career in counseling and you want to help others work through life’s challenges, read on to learn more about the LPC designation for counselors.

The LPC Job Description

As an LPC, you may focus on working with children and families; with people who are elderly, homeless, immigrants or veterans; or with people who have addictions, mental illnesses, criminal records, employment issues, or disabilities. LPCs work with a client-centered outlook to:

  • Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, including addictive disorders
  • Provide direct therapy to clients in individual and group settings (this may include interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic therapy)
  • Research more effective therapeutic treatment modalities to benefit clients and advance the counseling/therapy profession

Jobs for Licensed Professional Counselors and Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2015 report on mental health counselors, the average annual salary for counselors is $45,080. For those industries and settings with the highest employment concentrations—including outpatient care services and mental health/substance abuse facilities. Because many counseling jobs require an LPC title, becoming licensed in your state will opens doors to a wider range of counseling career options.

As an LPC, you can offer mental health services in a variety of settings, including but not limited to:

  • Mental Health Facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Educational Institutions
  • Detoxification and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Commercial and Private Settings

LPC Licensure Requirements

Because there are such varied counseling career paths and opportunities for LPCs, professional counseling is an attractive career for individuals seeking challenging, rewarding and plentiful work opportunities. To work as an LPC in the United States, you must meet your state’s licensing requirements. For example, in order to become an LPC in Texas you must:

  • Obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a counseling-related field from an accredited college or university
  • Complete at least 300 clock-hours (minimum 100 clock-hours of direct client contact) of supervised counseling practicum experience in graduate school
  • Complete 3,000 clock-hours (minimum 1,500 clock-hours of direct client contact) of post-graduate counseling experience (internship) under the supervision of a board-approved supervisor within 18 months of graduation
  • Pass the National Counselor Exam (NCE) and the Nursing Jurisprudence Exam (NJE)

LPC licensure is available in each state, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Check with your state’s professional counseling licensure board to learn more about the specific requirements to become an LPC where you live.

Become an LPC with OLLU’s Master of Education in School Counseling Program

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one in four adults in America, and about one in five adolescents between ages 13 and 18, experience mental illness in a given year. This statistic underscores the need for mental health professionals, and the value in becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor. As an LPC you can serve and empower individuals in your community who are struggling with their mental health. To gain the skills and knowledge necessary for the LPC examination while embarking on a meaningful and rewarding career path, learn more about the online Master of Education in School Counseling at Our Lady of the Lake University.