How to Become a Counselor in Ohio

As in many other states, counselors in Ohio who have obtained their licensure are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Those who have not yet completed the internship/practicum portion of the licensure process are called Counselor Trainees, and those who have continued their education and further developed their clinical skills can obtain licensure as Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs). The state’s premier professional organizations for counselors is the Ohio Counseling Association, and licensure for LPCs, Counselor Trainees and LPCCs in the state is managed by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board.

Licensure requirements for counselors in Ohio, 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 LPCs, Counselor Trainees and LPCCs in the state.

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Counselor Education in Ohio

Licensure as a professional counselor in Ohio requires the completion of a 60 semester credit master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, clinical rehabilitation counseling or addiction counseling from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Non-CACREP-approved programs may still be eligible if offered by an institution accredited by an accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and include the coursework outlined below.

Appropriate degree programs will include at least one graduate course in each of the following content areas:

  • Counseling theory
  • Counseling techniques
  • Human growth and development
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Group dynamics, processing and counseling
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Appraisal of the individual
  • Research and evaluation
  • Professional, legal and ethical

Either as a part of the degree program or after graduation, applicants must also provide proof of completed coursework in the following areas:

  • Clinical psychopathology, personality, and abnormal behavior
  • Evaluation of mental and emotional status
  • Diagnosis of mental and emotional disorders
  • Methods of intervention and prevention of mental and emotional disorders
  • Treatment of mental and emotional disorders

Internship Requirements

In addition to the coursework listed above, LPC licensure in Ohio also requires the completion of a practicum of 40 direct hours and an internship of 240 direct hours. These requirements are distinct from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for LPCC licensure in Ohio.

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Supervision Hours

“Supervision” is shorthand for directed, post-graduate experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Although LPC licensure in Ohio does not require any supervision for LPCs, it does require it of LPCCs, who need two years and a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervision, at a rate of at least 1,500 hours each year, for licensure. At least 50 percent of the 3,000 hours must be in clinical services that include diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. There must also be at least 150 hours of face-to-face direction from an approved supervisor each year, at an average rate of one hour of direction for every 20 hours worked. The supervisee must maintain a log of all face-to-face direction.

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Ohio LPC licensure requires a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification and the Laws and Rules Examination. LPCC applicants must take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). All applicants are required to request approval from the board in order to sit for these exams.

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.

Laws and Rules Examination

The Laws and Rules Examination is administered online by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. It tests applicants on the legal and ethical conduct of counselors in the state.

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LPC and LPCC Licensure Fees

LPCs and LPCCs in Ohio can expect to pay the following fees for their license:

Out-of-state Application Fee: $100 + $3.50

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LPC and LPCC License Renewal

Ohio LPC and LPCC licenses expire two years after being issued. License renewal requires completing the renewal application, paying of renewal fees (see above) and completing the required hours of Continuing Education.

Continuing Education

LPCs and LPCCs in Ohio are required to complete 30 clock hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year renewal period. Three of those hours must focus on ethics, and a maximum of 15 hours may be earned through distance learning each period. CE programs pre-approved by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board will have approval numbers like RCSTX000000 or MCSTX00000 listed on the attendance certificate. CE programs may also be eligible for post-approval if they are out of state, online, home study, college coursework, publications, teaching or presentations.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board has an alternative route to licensure for counselors who have already earned their licenses in other parts of the United States. This process is known as “licensure by endorsement”. Out-of-state applicants are required to provide proof of licensure for at least five years. In general, LPC and LPCC applicants must complete the appropriate application, fees, submit exam results, proof of supervision (for LPCC), and complete a background check and Laws and Rules Examination for the state of Ohio.

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Average Counselor Salary in Ohio

Ohio counselors can expect to earn the following average hourly wages and average annual wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Average Counselor Salary in Ohio
Type of Counselor Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $22.61 $47,040
Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselors $27.54 $57,280
Rehabilitation Counselors $19.18 $39,890
All Other Counselors $21.53 $44,790

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Ohio Counseling Scholarships

The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to LPCs and LPCCs in Ohio: 

Recovery Workforce Development Scholarship

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Description: The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Stark County is offering one award to an employee of a local not-for-profit behavioral health organization or a county resident interested in working in behavioral health. Funding must go towards advancing education in mental health or an alcohol and drug-related field through an accredited vocational, technical or college program.

National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation (NBCCF) Rural Scholarship

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: NBCCF offers this award to master’s-level, Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs-accredited counseling program students who live in a rural area and are committed to serving in rural areas for at least two years upon graduation. 

Predoctoral Fellowship in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Program

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: To be Decided
  • Description: The American Psychological Association (APA), with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, offers assistance to students enrolled full time in APA-accredited doctoral programs and who have a strong commitment to a career in ethnic minority behavioral health services.

Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: This award from the American Psychological Foundation is available each year to one full-time graduate student in good standing at an accredited university who has demonstrated a commitment to stigma issues.

American Addiction Centers’ Behavioral Health Academic Scholarship Program

  • 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 students pursuing careers in behavioral health and addiction-related studies, including counseling. 

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

  • Type: Loan Repayments
  • Amount: Between $30,000 and $50,000
  • Description: Ohio LPCs and LPCCs 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- or half-time service.

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: To be Decided
  • 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.

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*Licensure information including requirements, salaries, renewals, scholarships, and fees were retrieved as of November 2019. Information may have changed since, check with the state's board of licensing for more information.