Maine Counseling License Requirements
The northeastern state of Maine is home to 2,000 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 regulates professional counselors and licensed marriage and family therapists; the Maine Department of Education regulates school counselors; and the State of Maine Board of Alcohol & Drug Counselors 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 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 Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). They have similar scopes of practice, both addressing the emotional, social, and vocational needs of clients, but only an LPCP can diagnose and treat mental health disorders. Both licensure 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 use this form to request permission and must take the NCE, a 200-question multiple-choice exam, and LCPCs will use this form and must take the NCMHCE, a 10-part test using clinical simulations designed to test applicants’ problem-solving ability. Both exams are administered by the NBCC. You can also apply 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 will use this application, while LCPCs will use this one. 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 as of August 2019. You can also apply online.
3. Accrue supervised experience.
With your conditional license, you will be able to gain the supervised experience you need for full licensure. LPCs need to accrue 2,000 hours (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 while you are accruing your supervised experience, you will need to complete 55 hours of continuing professional education.
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 $250, plus $21 for a Criminal History Check as of August 2019.
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.
Professional Counselor 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 and a licensure fee of $200 for a conditional license and $250 for a full license. 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 Licensing 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. 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. You can renew your license online.
Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Maine
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 also regulates the licensure of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists 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:
- Apply for permission to take the MFT Exam administered by the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
- Apply for your conditional LMFT license.
- Accrue supervised experience and meet continuing education requirements.
- Apply for full licensure.
For more information on the career in marriage and family counseling, check out our LMFT career guide.
Maine school counselors promote equity and access to educational opportunities that advance students’ academic achievement and manage their emotions and interpersonal skills. To become a school counselor, applicants will first need to obtain a master’s degree in school counseling or school psychology. As an extension of an educator’s license, school counselors in Maine are regulated by the Maine Department of Education and need to have classroom teaching experience to receive counseling certification. In general, to become a school counselor, you will need to:
- Apply for a conditional certificate if necessary.
- Take and pass the Praxis Professional School Counselor examination and other necessary assessments.
- Submit an application.
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 regulates the licensure of Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADCs), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADCs), and Alcohol and Drug Counseling Aides (ADCAs). LADCs are qualified to provide counseling services independently to individuals and groups. LADCs in Maine need an associate or bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in addiction counseling or a related field, while CADCs can become licensed with a high school diploma plus a passing score on an exam and supervised work experience. LADCs may become licensed without a college degree if they become a CADC first and gain experience. ADCAs can be licensed with a high school diploma. In general, Maine’s substance abuse counseling licensure process is:
- Apply to take the required exam and pass it.
- Submit an application.
- Accrue the required supervised practice hours.
- Become licensed as an LADC or CADC.
Other Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Maine
- Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS)
- Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist (CIPSS)
- Certified Prevention Specialist (PS-C)
- 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 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 second-highest paying state for marriage and family therapists, with an average salary of $75,460, and the fifth-highest paying state for rehabilitation counselors, with an average annual salary of $50,860.3,4 The metropolitan area of Portland-South Portland, Maine is also among the top-paying metropolitan areas 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 2026.6 The most promising prospects are for substance abuse and behavioral counseling, where jobs are projected to grow by 10%, but this is still far below the national average projected for the same category (23.2%).6
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Counselors, All Other||—||—|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||1,170||$53,100|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||—||$75,460|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||690||$50,600|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1-5
Counseling Associations in Maine
- Maine Counseling Association (MeCA): Comprised of 31 counseling associations in Maine including MESCA, MEMHCA, and others.
- Maine School Counselor Association (MSCA): Represents K-12 school counselors across the state, promoting professionalism and advocating for school counseling programs.
- Maine Mental Health Counselors Association (MEMHCA): Organization for licensed clinical professional counselors promoting education, advocacy, leadership, and collaboration.
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 number of 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 $57,505.1-5 Two of the five practice areas are among the highest-paid of all states.3,4
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, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes211018.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Marriage and Family Therapists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes211013.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/2017/may/oes211012.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Rehabilitation Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211015.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Counselors, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211019.htm
6. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections 2016-2026: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm