Idaho Counseling License Requirements
According to the US Census Bureau, Idaho has experienced significant growth in its population with an increase of 11.4% between 2010 and 2018; the population is now over 1,750,000 residents.1 This increase in population may also increase the demand for qualified counselors in the state. There are currently over 4,400 professionals employed in counseling in the state of Idaho according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).2-6 If you think you would like to begin a counseling career in Idaho you will need to understand the major types of licensure available and how to become licensed. This page details licensing information for prospective counselors in Idaho, including what it takes to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and other popular counseling professions.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Counselor in Idaho
- Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) Licensing Process
- Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Idaho
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
- School Counselor
- Advanced Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ACADC)
- Other Professional Counseling Careers
- Idaho Counseling Career and Salary Information
- Counseling Associations in Idaho
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Become a Counselor in Idaho
Idaho counseling licensure requires that most types of counselors earn a master’s degree that meets coursework requirements for the specific practice area. There are various counseling schools in Idaho that offer programs that meet state requirements. Prospective counselors may also be able to meet requirements with a program based in another state. Some licenses also require prospective counselors to meet experience and testing requirements.
1. Choose which area of counseling to pursue.
To become a professional counselor, you must choose an area of counseling to pursue because the pathway to licensure will vary depending on the type of counseling you wish to practice. There are many different types of counseling degrees, and counseling licensure processes often have strict requirements for coursework and practicum experience, so deciding upon your area of specialization first will help you make the right program choices.
2. Complete the degree(s) required for your counseling practice area.
Most types of Idaho counseling licenses require at least a master’s degree for licensure. Mental health counselors must have a master’s degree in counseling or a related field; marriage and family therapists must have a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field; and school counselors must have a graduate degree in school counseling. Substance abuse counselors can earn certification with at least 21 college-level credits in related areas, or earn more advanced certifications with an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in a related behavioral science field.
3. Get licensed to practice counseling in Idaho.
After completing your degree, you can apply for a counseling license through the appropriate licensing board. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists; school counselors are licensed by the Idaho State Department of Education; and substance abuse counselors are licensed by the Idaho Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification. Continue reading to learn more about the Idaho counseling licensure processes.
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) Licensing Process
In Idaho, mental health counselors assess and treat mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders that interfere with mental health and wellness and develop treatment plans to address these issues using psychotherapeutic counseling interventions. If you would like to know more about what professional counselors do, see our mental health counselor career guide. The Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists offers two types of professional counseling licenses: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). Counselors can work with an LPC license or continue their training to earn the LCPC license. LPCs and LCPCs have a 60-credit master’s degree in counseling or a related field with six credits of practicum. The degree must either be accredited by CACREP or meet the coursework standards in the Board rules.
1. Apply to become a Registered Counselor Intern.
The Board issues intern licenses to individuals who meet the educational requirements for LPC licensure. The intern license allows these candidates to earn the required work experience for full licensure as an LPC. Intern applicants must submit the application form signed by their supervisor to gain approval from the Board. The registration fee is $25 (as of October 2019).
2. Complete supervised experience.
LPC applicants must complete 1,000 hours of supervised work experience with at least 400 hours of direct client contact. Experience gained through a graduate degree practicum or internship may be used to reduce the total number of post-degree hours required. The applicant must receive one hour of supervision individually or with a maximum of one other intern for every 20 hours of work experience or one hour of supervision for every 10 hours of practicum. Sample worksheets are provided to track practicum, internship, and supervision hours. Supervision must be provided by an approved professional mental health supervisor licensed in Idaho, such as an LPC supervisor, an LCPC supervisor, or a Clinical Social Worker supervisor. The Board provides a list of approved supervisors.
3. Pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE).
The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is a multiple-choice, computer-based test administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The exam tests core counseling knowledge areas, such as assessment, treatment planning, and counseling theory. The online handbook provides more information about the format and content.
4. Apply for and receive your LPC license.
To earn your LPC license, submit the LPC application form and have your supervisor submit a form verifying your experience directly to the Board. The completed application package must be received at least seven days before a scheduled board meeting to be considered. As of October 2019, the LPC application fee is $75. You can practice with an LPC license and work towards the LCPC at any time, if desired, by following the remaining steps.
5. Pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE).
To earn an LCPC license, you must pass the NBCC National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE). This exam tests for clinical mental health counseling knowledge using 10 simulations. The NCMHCE handbook helps candidates prepare by providing detailed information about the exam process and format.
6. Complete supervised experience.
To earn LCPC licensure, LPCs must complete an additional 2,000 hours of supervised direct client work experience in no less than two years. At least 1,000 hours must be completed under the supervision of an approved LCPC; the remaining hours may be completed with supervision from any approved mental health professional supervisor. LCPC applicants must receive one hour of supervision for every 30 hours of work experience.
7. Apply for and receive your LCPC license.
Once you have completed the required work experience, you can submit the LCPC application form and have your supervisor verify your experience directly with the Board. As of October 2019, the LCPC application fee is $75. Once you receive your license, you can practice as an LCPC independently.
Professional Counselor Licensure by Endorsement in Idaho
Idaho does not have reciprocity agreements with other states for counseling licensure, but an experienced applicant who has an active license in another state with substantially similar requirements can apply for licensure by endorsement. The applicant must have at least five years of experience within the previous seven years with no disciplinary actions on their file in the past five years. The Board has a separate licensure by endorsement application and the licensing state must also send a verification of the license to the Board directly. Additionally, supervised work experience will only be counted if the supervisor is licensed in the home state and meets similar standards to those in Idaho.
Counselor Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information
LPC and LCPC licenses must be renewed annually and the fee is $100 (as of October 2019). The Board mails renewal applications six weeks prior to the expiration date. Licensees must complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) each year with at least three hours in legal issues or ethics. The Board accepts online education, graduate-level coursework, presentations, and other professional development activities; a list of approved CE providers is available online and a complete list of approved activities is available in the Board rules. Documentation of attendance or completion should be kept as the Board may conduct a random audit.
Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Idaho
The steps to becoming a licensed counselor in Idaho vary depending on the type of counseling you wish to practice. In addition to LPCs and LCPCs, the major licensed counseling professions in Idaho include: licensed marriage and family therapists, school counselors, and substance abuse counselors.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
The Idaho Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists issues licenses for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs). LMFTs must have a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field that is accredited by COAMFTE, CACREP, or that meets coursework guidelines. The degree must also have a practicum component. In Idaho, LMFTs work with individuals, couples, and families to evaluate and treat mental, cognitive, and emotional disorders related to marriage and family systems using therapeutic techniques. LPCs and LCPCs are also permitted to provide marriage and family therapy provided they have sufficient training in this area of practice. To earn an LMFT license, follow these steps:
- Apply to become a Registered Marriage and Family Therapy Intern to complete additional practicum training, if not completed as part of the degree.
- Register as a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (LAMFT).
- Earn supervised post-degree experience.
- Take the AMFTRB National Marriage and Family Therapy Exam.
- Apply for and receive your LMFT license.
For more about licensed marriage and family therapy careers, visit our LMFT career guide.
In Idaho, school counselors develop and implement age-appropriate guidance, counseling, and career development programs for grades K-12. Aspiring school counselors in Idaho must apply for a Pupil Service Staff certificate through the Idaho State Department of Education. The certificate endorses the candidate to provide school counseling services for five years before renewal. The minimum educational requirement for Idaho school counselors is a state-approved school counseling master’s degree. Follow these steps to become a school counselor in this state:
- Submit the institutional recommendation form.
- Complete state and federal background checks.
- Submit the application packet with supporting documentation.
- Receive your Pupil Service Staff Certificate in school counseling.
To learn more about school counseling careers, visit our school counseling career guide.
Advanced Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ACADC)
The Idaho Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification issues three certifications to substance abuse counseling professionals: Idaho Student of Addiction Studies (ISAS), which is a temporary, trainee certification; Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC); and Advanced Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ACADC). ISASs provide screening, referral, and addiction education services under the supervision of an approved substance abuse professional; CADCs provide a wider range of assessment, treatment planning, and service coordination services under the supervision of an approved supervisor; and ACADCs can provide independent screening, assessment, treatment planning, and counseling services. To be eligible for certification, ISAS applicants must have 21 college credits in substance abuse areas, CADC applicants must have at least an associate’s degree, and ACADCs must have a master’s degree in a clinical behavioral science field. Certification is required for those who work in publicly-funded organization, although other mental health professionals, such as LPCs and LMFTs, are also considered to be Qualified Substance Use Disorders Professionals (QSUDPs) and are able to provide substance abuse counseling if they have appropriate training. Applicants who do not already have a QSUDP credential can become certified by following these steps:
- Complete additional alcohol and drug education and training, if not completed as part of degree requirements.
- Complete training in ethical responsibilities for substance abuse counselors.
- Earn supervised experience.
- Apply for certification and permission to take the required exam.
- Pass the required exam (the Board ISAS exam for ISAS applicants; the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor Exam for CADC applicants; and the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam of ACADC applicants).
- Receive your certification.
Other Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Idaho
- Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS)
- Certified Peer Recovery Coach (CPRC)
- Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS)
- Certified Recovery Coach (CRC)
- Idaho Student of Addiction Studies (ISAS)
To read more about substance abuse counselors, see our substance abuse counseling career guide.
Other Professional Counseling Careers
A counseling degree can open up many doors to different counseling career pathways. In addition to the major types of licensure mentioned above, you may also be interested in the following careers:
- Rehabilitation Counselor
- Gambling Counselor
- Genetic Counselor
- Youth Counselor
- Guidance Counselor
- Pastoral Counselor
- Recreational Therapist
Idaho Counseling Career and Salary Information
Idaho has the highest concentration of rehabilitation counselors per capita of any other state in the country, accounting for 2.14 counselors per thousand jobs for a total of 1,510 employed.5 In most reported counseling areas, counselors working in Idaho have salaries comparable to those in neighboring states to the east (Montana and Wyoming).2-6 Of the counseling practice areas reported, the highest average annual salaries were reported for the 1,540 counselors in substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling ($46,920) and the 1,420 working in educational, guidance, school, and vocational counseling ($43,660).2,4
The rapid pace of population growth in Idaho could be a good sign for future counseling job opportunities. According to long term estimates from Projections Central, Idaho is expected to add around 590 jobs by the year 2026.7 Educational, guidance, school, and vocational could add 200 new jobs (15.5% growth), while mental health counseling and rehabilitation counseling are both expected to add 150 new positions (18.1% and 8.6% growth respectively).7
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Counselors, All Other||—||—|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||1,420||$43,660|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||—||—|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||1,540||$46,920|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.2-6
Counseling Associations in Idaho
- Idaho Counseling Association (ICA): Comprised of professionals in human development and counseling, the association’s goal is to enhance wellbeing and development and promote the profession.
- Idaho School Counselors Association (ISCA): Committed to professional school counselors in Idaho by hosting conferences and workshops and advocating for the profession by influencing public policy and legislation.
- Idaho Mental Health Counselors Association (IMHCA): Organization that supports, LPCs, LCPCs, and others in clinical mental health counseling by imparting skills and resources to ensure their success.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can provide LPC or LCPC supervision in Idaho?
To accrue work experience, LPC and LCPC applicants must be supervised by a Board-approved individual. To be eligible for a supervisory credential, the supervisor must have at least two years of experience as an LPC or LCPC or other mental health professional, including 1,500 hours of direct client contact. The supervisor must also complete 15 hours of supervisory training and have no disciplinary actions on their licensing file five years prior to approval.
Does the Board accept counseling or marriage and family therapy applications by endorsement?
Yes, the Board has a licensure by endorsement application for LPCs, LCPCs, and LMFTs licensed in other states. Applicants must have five years of experience in their respective field of counseling within the past seven years to be eligible or else they must meet the Idaho requirements and apply using the standard application form. The licensing requirements in the home state must be similar to those in Idaho and the license must be verified directly by the home state licensing body. Licensure by endorsement applicants must be of good moral character with no disciplinary actions on file in the past five years.
How long does it take the Board to review my LPC or LCPC application?
You must submit your complete application to the Board at least seven days before a scheduled Board meeting to be eligible for review; the Board meets at least four times per year and dates are listed on the Board website. Once your application has been reviewed, the Board will send you a written notice of the decision within four weeks.
What are the 12 core functions of substance abuse counselors in Idaho?
Idaho substance abuse counselors must be proficient in 12 core functions: screening, intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, case management, crisis intervention, client education, referral, report and record keeping, and consultation. ISASs are expected to learn screening, client education, and referral skills, while CADCs and ACADCs must have advanced skills in all areas with a focus on counseling, case management, and consultation. Counselors will develop these skills as they progress to higher levels of certification.
How many annual openings will there be in Idaho for counselors?
Through 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be 550 annual openings for counselors, including replacements, each year in Idaho.7 The highest number of annual openings is projected for rehabilitation counselors (200); followed by educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (160); and mental health counselors (110). Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling and marriage and family therapy are also projected to have 40 average annual openings each.7 No annual openings are expected for all other counselors, which is not surprising given there are only 20 reported counselors in this category across the state.7
1. US Census Bureau Idaho Quick Facts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/ID
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211018.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Marriage and Family Therapists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211012.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Rehabilitation Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211015.htm
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Counselors, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211019.htm
7. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections 2016-2026: https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm