Maine Counseling License Requirements
As of May 2021, the northeastern state of Maine is home to over 2,200 counselors across the five major practice areas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1-5 Prospective licensed professional counselors in Maine will need to understand the state regulations for licensure in their practice area. On this page, you can find information about how to become licensed as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Maine as well as information about other types of counselors and licensure paths.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Counselor in Maine
- Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) Licensing Process
- Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Maine
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
- School Counselor
- Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC)
- Other Professional Counseling Careers
- Maine Counseling Career and Salary Information
- Counseling Associations in Maine
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Become a Counselor in Maine
If you are interested in becoming a counselor in Maine, you will need a degree. Most counseling types in Maine require a master’s degree in counseling or a related field along with testing and experience requirements. Counseling programs in Maine are generally designed to meet the state’s specific requirements; however, out-of-state schools may also satisfy requirements. The general process to become a licensed counselor is as follows:
1. Decide which area of counseling to pursue.
The first step to becoming a counselor is deciding which practice area of counseling you would like to pursue. Every subsequent step to getting your Maine licensure is dependent on this choice, so it would be advantageous to spend some time thinking carefully about what aspects of counseling are most interesting to you as well as the type of clients you would like to serve.
2. Earn the degree(s) required for your counseling practice area.
After you have decided on a type of counseling career, the next step is to get your degree. Most license types in Maine require a master’s degree; in fact, substance abuse counseling is the only counseling type covered here that offers a licensure pathway without a degree.
3. Get licensed to practice counseling in Maine.
The final step to becoming licensed to practice counseling is applying to the appropriate licensing board. The State of Maine Professional & Financial Regulation Board of Counseling Professionals Licensure (the Board) regulates professional counselors and licensed marriage and family therapists; the Maine Department of Education (DOE) regulates school counselors; and the State of Maine Board of Alcohol & Drug Counselors (the Board) regulates substance abuse counselors. Continue reading to learn more about how to become licensed in each of these practice areas.
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) Licensing Process
The State of Maine Professional & Financial Regulation Board of Counseling Professionals Licensure (the Board) licenses counseling professionals in the state. There are two levels of mental health counselors in the state: the non-clinical Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). They have similar scopes of practice, both addressing the emotional, social, and vocational needs of clients, but only an LCPC can diagnose and treat mental health disorders. Both license types require a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or psychology with certain coursework requirements and an internship component, but the LCPC must accrue more hours of supervised experience than the LPC. For more about a career in professional counseling, read our mental health counselor career guide. In Maine, to become an LCPC, you should complete the following steps.
1. Apply for permission to take the exam.
The first step after receiving your appropriate master’s or doctoral degree is to apply for permission from the Board to take the exam. LPCs will apply online to request permission and must take the National Counselor Examination (NCE), a 200-question multiple-choice exam. LCPCs will apply online and must take the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE), a test using 11 case studies designed to test applicants’ problem-solving ability. Both exams are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). You can also apply to take the exam online.
2. Apply for a Conditional License.
Either before or after you have achieved a passing score on the exam, you will apply for a conditional license that will allow you to accrue the required supervised experience you will need to get your full license. Prospective LPCs and LCPCs will apply online. Candidates for conditional licensure will need to include a Proposed Supervision Plan Form, which is attached to the application, along with official transcripts, three reference letters, and a $200 application fee along with a $21 criminal history check fee as of November 2022.
3. Accrue supervised experience.
With your conditional license, you will be able to gain the supervised experience needed for full licensure. LPCs need to accrue 2,000 hours (over at least two years) of post-graduate supervised counseling experience with 1,000 hours of direct counseling with clients and at least 67 hours of supervision, with 34 hours of individual supervision. LCPCs will need to accrue 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised clinical counseling experience over at least a two-year period, with at least 1,500 hours of direct clinical hours and 100 hours of clinical supervision.
4. Accrue continuing professional education.
During the two years you are accruing your supervised experience, you will need to complete 55 hours of continuing professional education. You can read more about continuing education requirements in Maine in the continuing education section below.
5. Apply for full licensure from the Board.
After you have completed the supervised experience required for your license, you are ready to apply for full licensure as a counselor. You will use the same forms referenced above (or submit your application online), and the fee for full licensure is $200, plus $21 for a criminal history check as of November 2022.
6. Receive your license.
Once the Board has reviewed your application materials, you will receive your full LPC or LCPC license to practice as a professional counselor in Maine. You can check the status of your application online at any time.
LCPC Licensure by Endorsement in Maine
Currently, Maine does not have any reciprocity agreements in place with any state, but if you have an out-of-state license, you can apply for licensure by endorsement. To be eligible for licensure by endorsement in Maine, you must have either a substantially equivalent license with five years of practice experience or substantially similar qualifications and a license in good standing. Along with your application, you will submit an application fee of $25, a background check fee of $21, and a licensure fee of $200 (as of November 2022). You will also need to include official transcripts, a copy of the licensing law and Board rules from your state, a copy of your license, a Verification of Licensure form from your state, and a proposed disclosure statement (instructions are in the application).
Counselor License Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Professional counseling licenses in Maine need to be renewed biennially, and the fee is the same as the initial licensure fee ($200 as of November 2022). Renewal reminders are sent via email at least 30 days prior to the expiration date of your license. A total of 55 hours of continuing education are needed each renewal period, with at least four hours of ethics training. Applicants for license renewal must also complete a one-time requirement of at least 12 continuing education hours in family or intimate partner violence. You can renew your license online.
Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Maine
Maine offers licensure in other practice areas of counseling, such as licensed marriage and family therapy, school counseling, and substance abuse disorder counseling.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
LMFTs in Maine are qualified to apply the principles and procedures of counseling to assess, treat, and diagnose couples, groups, and individuals who have intrapersonal issues or dysfunctional behaviors. The Maine Board of Counseling Professionals Licensure (the Board) also regulates the licensure of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) in the state. To be eligible to become licensed as an LMFT in Maine, you need to have a master’s degree or doctoral degree in counseling that meets certain qualifications outlined by the Board. In general, to become an LMFT, you will:
- Submit the standard application for full or conditional licensure to apply for permission to take the Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) National Examination administered by the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
- Apply for your conditional LMFT license.
- Accrue 3,000 hours of supervised experience in marriage and family therapy including 1,000 hours of direct client contact and 200 hours of clinical supervision.
- Submit the standard application for full or conditional licensure to apply for full licensure.
For more information on a career in marriage and family counseling, check out our LMFT career guide.
Maine school counselors can provide guidance services to ages pre-K to grade 12. They promote equity and access to educational opportunities that advance students’ academic achievement, help them manage their emotions, and help them strengthen their interpersonal skills. To become a school counselor, applicants will first need to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in school counseling or school psychology and complete an approved course for teaching students with exceptionalities in the regular classroom. As an extension of an educator’s license, school counselors in Maine are regulated by the Maine Department of Education (DOE). In general, to become a school counselor, you will need to:
- Complete a background check (CHRC).
- Apply for a conditional certificate if you are still in your graduate program (and have completed at least 24 graduate hours of school counselor coursework).
- Complete an approved course for teaching exceptional students.
- Take and pass the Praxis Professional School Counselor examination and other necessary assessments.
- Be recommended for certification by your graduate institution.
- Submit a Professional Teacher Certificate application with a school counseling endorsement and receive your certificate.
If you would like to learn more about the role of a school counselor, read our school counselor career guide.
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC)
In Maine, the Board of Alcohol & Drug Counselors (the Board) regulates the licensure of Alcohol and Drug Counseling Aides (ADCAs), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADCs), and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADCs). LADCs are the only ones who are qualified to provide counseling services independently to individuals and groups. ADCAs and CADCs can be licensed with a high school diploma and LADCs need an associate or bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in addiction counseling or a related field. LADCs may also become licensed without a college degree if they become a CADC first and gain experience. In general, Maine’s substance abuse counseling licensure process is:
- Secure employment at an agency before applying.
- Submit the online application to become an ADCA.
- Accrue at least 4,000 hours of clinically-supervised work experience as an ADCA or get an associate degree from an accredited school in behavioral sciences, addiction counseling or a related field.
- Take and pass the Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (IC&RC) Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) exam.
- Pass additional required coursework and/or gain a degree from an accredited school in behavioral sciences, addiction counseling, or a related field.
- Submit an online application for CADC licensure.
- Accrue 2,000 supervised practice hours as a CADC (or less if you have a related master’s degree).
- Take and pass the IC&RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) exam.
- Submit the https://licensing.web.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/licensing/begin.pl?board_number=4350″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>online application for LADC licensure and receive your license.
Optional Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Maine
In addition to the credentials listed above, there are several optional credentials offered for substance abuse professionals in Maine. These credentials are not required to work in the field, but they are available to those who wish to further specialize their knowledge and training from the following organizations:
- Board of Alcohol & Drug Counselors (the Board): Also offers the credential of Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) for addiction counselors interested in management positions.
- Maine Prevention Certification Board (MPCB): Offers add-on credentials for addiction professionals including Certified Prevention Specialist (PS-C), Professional Prevention Specialist (PPS), and Provisional Prevention Specialist (PPS).
If you would like to learn more about substance abuse counselors, see our substance abuse counselor career guide.
Other Professional Counseling Careers
There are also other types of counseling available, including the career types below. Click on any one to learn more.
- Rehabilitation Counselor
- Gambling Counselor
- Genetic Counselor
- Youth Counselor
- Guidance Counselor
- Pastoral Counselor
- Recreational Therapist
Maine Counseling Career and Salary Information
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lacks some data for the five main counseling practice areas in Maine, the state is still a promising place to work as a counselor.1-5 It is the highest paying state for rehabilitation counselors, with an average salary of $80,550, and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan area is the sixth-highest paying state for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, with an average annual salary of $68,3700.1,4 The metropolitan area of Portland is the highest paying in the country for rehabilitation counselors.4
However, Projections Central reports a relatively low number of new jobs expected over the 10-year period through 2030.6 The most promising prospects are for the category of “counselors, all other,” where jobs are projected to grow by 11.1%, which is above the national average projected for the same category (9%).6
|Occupation||Number Employed1-5||Average Annual Salary1-5|
|Counselors, All Other||40||$49,190|
|Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors||1,250||$58,620|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||690||$57,940|
Counseling Associations in Maine
- Maine Association for Addiction Professionals: The Maine chapter of the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) which advocates for standards for licensure and certification of substance abuse counselors and raises awareness of chemical dependency issues in Maine.
- Maine Counseling Association (MeCA): Comprised of 31 counseling associations in Maine including MESCA, MEMHCA, and others.
- Maine Mental Health Counselors Association (MEMHCA): Organization for licensed clinical professional counselors promoting education, advocacy, leadership, and collaboration.
- Maine School Counselor Association (MESCA): Represents K-12 school counselors across the state, promoting professionalism and advocating for school counseling programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a degree to become a counselor in Maine?
In general, the answer is yes. Licensed professional counselors in the state, as well as LMFTs and school counselors, need a master’s degree in counseling or a related subject. Substance abuse counselors are the main exception to this rule, as it is possible to become licensed with a high school diploma (if you become certified first, then licensed). To become licensed as a substance abuse counselor through any other pathway, however, you need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The higher the degree you have, the fewer hours of experience you have to accumulate.
How much do Maine counselors make per year?
The answer to this question varies based on where the counselor lives in Maine, the type of counseling practiced, and other factors. In general, though, the average annual salary for counselors in Maine is $61,575.1-5 Rehabilitation counselors are the highest-paid of all states.4
How long does it take to become a professional mental health counselor in Maine?
The amount of time it will take you to become a counselor can vary, but in general, you will need at least two years after completing your master’s or doctoral degree to accumulate the supervised hours and take the exam to become licensed.
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