Idaho Counseling License Requirements
As of May 2021, there are over 4,800 professionals employed in counseling in the state of Idaho according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1-5 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 (SDE); and substance abuse counselors are licensed by the Idaho Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification (IBADCC). 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 (the Board) offers two types of professional counseling licenses: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). LPCs and LCPCs both must 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 and include a counseling practicum that consists of 280 hours of supervised direct client contact.
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 November 2022).
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. Sample worksheets are provided to track practicum, internship, and supervision hours. Supervision must be provided by an approved Idaho-Licensed Mental Health Professional Supervisor licensed in Idaho, who may be an LPC, an LCPC, a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), a psychiatrist, or a Clinical Social Worker. 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 NCE content outline provides more information about the format and content of the exam.
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. As of November 2022, the LPC application fee is $200. 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), if desired.
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 11 case studies. The NCMHCE content outline 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 November 2022, the LCPC application fee is $200. Once you receive your license, you can practice as an LCPC independently.
LPC and LCPC 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 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 License Renewal and Continuing Education Information
LPC and LCPC licenses must be renewed annually and the fee is $120 (as of November 2022). The Board mails renewal applications six weeks prior to the expiration date. Licensees must complete 40 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years with at least six 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.
Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)
The Board also issues licenses for Associate Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) and MFTs. Associate MFTs and MFTs must have a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Education (COAMFTE), the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), or that meets coursework guidelines. The degree must also have a practicum component that includes at least 300 hours of direct client contact. MFT applicants are also required to complete at least 3,000 hours of graduate or postgraduate supervised experience in marriage and family therapy. In Idaho, associate MFTs and MFTs work with individuals, couples, and families to evaluate and treat mental, cognitive, and emotional disorders related to marriage and family systems using therapeutic techniques. Associate MFTs must practice under the supervision of an MFT. 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 MFT Intern to complete additional practicum training, if not completed as part of the degree.
- Submit the Associate MFT application.
- Earn supervised post-degree experience if working towards full MFT licensure.
- Take the Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) National Examination from the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
- Apply for and receive your MFT 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 (SDE). 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 that must include a 700-hour practicum, 525 of which must be in a K-12 setting with time spent in elementary, middle, and high school. Idaho LPCs, LCPCs, and licensed social workers are eligible to apply for a School Counselor-Basic license by submitting an official master’s degree transcript and a copy of a valid license issued by the applicable Idaho licensing body to the SDE. Otherwise, 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 (IBADCC) issues three certifications to substance abuse counseling professionals: Substance Use Disorder Associate (SUDA), which is a temporary, trainee certification; Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC); and Advanced Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ACADC). SUDAs 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 clinical supervisor; and ACADCs can provide independent screening, assessment, treatment planning, and counseling services. To be eligible for certification, SUDA applicants must have 21 college credits in substance abuse areas, CADC applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a behavioral science field, and ACADCs must have a master’s degree in a clinical behavioral science field. Certification is required for those who work in publicly-funded organizations, 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 are not already QSUDPs can become certified by following these steps:
- Complete additional alcohol and drug education and training, if not completed as part of degree requirements. (SUDAs are required to complete a 300-hour supervised practicum).
- Complete training in ethical responsibilities for substance abuse counselors.
- Earn supervised experience. (CADCs must complete 6,000 total hours of supervised work experience.)
- Apply for certification and permission to take the exam.
- Pass the required exam (the IBADCC exam for SUDA applicants; the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor Exam for CADC applicants; and the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor Exam (AADC) for ACADC applicants).
- Receive your certification.
Optional Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Idaho
In addition to the three credentials described above that qualify holders to be substance abuse counselors in Idaho, the Idaho Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification (IBADCC) offers other optional credentials for substance abuse professionals. While they are not necessary to practice substance abuse counseling in the state, these additional credentials might help advance your career:
- Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS)
- Certified Peer Recovery Coach (CPRC)
- Supervisor SUDA, CADC, ACADC
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 fifth-highest concentration of rehabilitation counselors per capita in the country, with 1.55 counselors per thousand jobs for a total of 1,170 employed.4 Of the counseling practice areas tracked, the highest average annual salaries were reported for marriage and family therapists ($53,870) and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors ($53,630).1,2
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 960 jobs by the year 2030.6 Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling could add 370 new jobs (19.9% growth) while educational, guidance, school, and vocational counseling as well as rehabilitation counseling are both expected to add 430 new positions (14.7% and 13.1% growth respectively).6
|Occupation||Number Employed1-5||Average Annual Salary1-5|
|Counselors, All Other||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors||2,130||$52,990|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||N.Av.||$53,870|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||1,860||$53,630|
Counseling Associations in Idaho
- Idaho Association of Addiction Professionals (IAAP): IAAP is the Idaho chapter of the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) which provides education, clinical training and certification.
- 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 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.
- 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.
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, 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 currently licensed in other states. 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. SUDAs 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 2030, Projections Central estimates there will be 640 annual openings for counselors, including replacements, each year in Idaho.6 The highest number of annual openings is projected for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (220); followed by rehabilitation counselors (180); and educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (160). Marriage and family therapy are also projected to have 80 average annual openings.6 No annual openings are expected for all other counselors, which is not surprising given there are only 30 reported counselors in this category across the state.6
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211018.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Marriage and Family Therapists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211012.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Rehabilitation Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211015.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Counselors, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211019.htm
6. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm