Nevada Counseling License Requirements
There are almost 4,000 counselors working in Nevada, including mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, school counselors, and many others.1-5 The state requires prospective counselors to go through the steps of counseling licensure in Nevada and maintain a valid certification or license, such as the Clinical Professional Counselor (CPC) license for those interested in mental health counseling. If you are planning to earn a Nevada counseling license, this guide summarizes the requirements and steps you will need to follow to be successful.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Counselor in Nevada
- Clinical Professional Counselor (CPC) Licensing Process
- Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Nevada
- Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)
- School Counselor
- Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC)
- Other Professional Counseling Careers
- Nevada Counseling Career and Salary Information
- Counseling Associations in Nevada
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Become a Counselor in Nevada
Nevada requires counseling professionals in all major fields to have a license before providing counseling services or using the professional title. There are many different types of counseling licensure in Nevada, each with different requirements and steps.
1. Decide which area of counseling to pursue.
With so many different types of counseling subspecialities, each with unique educational requirements, it makes sense to choose an area of counseling interest before you begin the path to licensure. Take some time to research what different types of counselors do and consider your skills and interests. Choosing an area of focus will help you earn licensure faster and ensure that you choose the correct educational path for your unique goals.
2. Complete the degree(s) required for your chosen area of counseling practice.
There are many different types of counseling degrees related to the various types of counseling practice. However, each licensure process in Nevada has strict degree and coursework requirements. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists must have a master’s degree with related coursework. School counselors must have at least a master’s degree and if the degree is not in school counseling, they must complete additional requirements. Substance abuse counselors can begin the certification process with 60 credits of undergraduate study but at least a bachelor’s degree is necessary to earn a full certification or license.
3. Earn a license to practice counseling in Nevada.
After completing the educational requirements, you will apply for licensure through the correct board. In Nevada, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Nevada State Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists and Clinical Professional Counselors; school counselors are licensed by the Nevada Department of Education; and substance abuse counselors are licensed by the Nevada State Board of Examiners for Alcohol, Drug, and Gambling Counselors. Keep reading to learn more about these licensure processes.
Clinical Professional Counselor (CPC) Licensing Process
The Nevada State Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists and Clinical Professional Counselors issues licenses for clinical professional counselors (CPCs). These counseling professionals assess and provide counseling interventions to individuals related to mental, emotional, and social development; they may also provide treatment to couples and families with sufficient training at the Board’s discretion. CPCs do not provide psychological assessments or diagnostic services for psychotic illnesses. For more about a career in professional counseling, read our mental health counselor career guide. The minimum required education in Nevada is a 60-credit graduate degree from a regionally-accredited institution that meets specific coursework requirements. Mental health counseling programs accredited by CACREP are pre-approved for meeting these requirements.
1. Apply as a Clinical Professional Counselor-Intern (CPC-Intern).
Once you have completed the minimum education, you can apply to the Board for a CPC-Intern license. The application package is available online and the application fee is $75 as of September 2019. The Board also requires fingerprint cards that can be used to conduct background checks by the Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Once the Board has conducted an academic review of your package, you will be invited to an in-person interview that may include an oral exam. If you pass the interview, the Board will send you a list of approved supervisors. You must secure primary and secondary supervisors and submit the primary supervision and secondary supervision contracts before receiving your intern license.
2. Accrue supervised experience.
As a CPC-Intern, you must accumulate 3,000 hours of supervised experience, including 1,500 direct contact hours providing counseling services and 100 hours of supervision. You must submit primary supervision and secondary supervision reports by March 15 and September 15 each year as well as a final report once the required hours are completed. Supervisors must have at least three years of experience as licensed counseling professionals, show proof of attending supervision training, and be approved by the Board. More information about supervision can be found in Nevada’s administrative code.
3. Request permission to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE).
During the internship stage, you must submit the testing request form to take the NCMHCE. Interns must receive a passing score on this simulation-based exam, which is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) at Pearson Vue testing centers across the country. The NCBB provides an online handbook to help prepare. Interns must take the exam within one year of earning the intern license but if you fail the exam three times, the Board may require additional coursework before further attempts are allowed.
4. Request and receive your CPC license.
The final step in receiving your CPC license is to request a review of your completed file by submitting all remaining paperwork, such as the final supervision report, and paying the $200 application review fee (as of September 2019). Once your application is approved, you must pay the $50 issuance fee (as of September 2019) before your license will be issued.
Professional Counselor Licensure by Endorsement in Nevada
While Nevada does not have any reciprocity agreements in place with any other states, individuals who have an active license in good standing in another state and have met the Nevada CPC education, experience, and exam requirements may be eligible for licensure by endorsement by the Board. Applicants must complete the application form as well as the summary of supervised experience form and the supervised experience verification form. If the applicant has completed the necessary work experience but has not passed the exam, they can apply for an interim permit that allows them to practice as a CPC under approved supervision until they take the exam. An interim supervision contract must also be submitted.
Counselor Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Licenses expire on January 1 each year and cost $150 to renew (as of September 2019). The renewal form is available online. Licensees must complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) each year, including three hours of ethics training and two hours of suicide prevention. A maximum of 10 hours can be completed through distance and online education.
Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Nevada
If mental health counseling is not your preferred area of counseling, you will find many other ways to use your knowledge as a counselor in a different field. Other major types of counseling that requires licensure in Nevada include: marriage and family therapy, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling.
Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)
Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are licensed by the Nevada Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists and Clinical Professional Counselors. MFTs diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders using psychotherapy and other counseling techniques in the context of interpersonal relationships. MFT applicants must have a 60-credit graduate degree with specific coursework in marriage and family therapy to be eligible. In Nevada, the MFT licensure process requires candidates to:
- Register as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (MFT-Intern).
- Attend an interview and oral exam, if requested by the Board.
- Earn supervised experience.
- Pass the AMFTRB marriage and family therapy exam.
- Request and receive your MFT license.
More about marriage and family therapist careers can be found on our LMFT career guide.
The Nevada Department of Education offers several pathways to the school counselor endorsement. Applicants must have a master’s degree or be certified by the NBCC as a national certified school counselor (NCSC); if the degree is not in school counseling, applicants must complete at least 36 credits in counseling-related courses and a 600-hour practicum. In Nevada, school counselors work with students from kindergarten through twelfth grade to improve academic, social, career, and personal development. The steps to earning a school counselor endorsement are:
- Take the Parental Involvement and Family Engagement course, if not already completed as part of degree requirements.
- Pass the Praxis school counselor exam.
- Request and receive your school counselor endorsement.
To learn more about this pathway, see our school counseling career guide.
Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC)
The Nevada State Board of Examiners for Alcohol, Drug, and Gambling Counselors offers numerous substance abuse certifications and licenses with progressive education and experience requirements: Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor-Intern (CADC-Intern), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), Provisional Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PADC), Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC), and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC). The minimum education for the CADC-Intern certification is at least 60 credits of an undergraduate degree, while the CADC and LADC applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree and LCADC applicants must have a master’s degree in mental health counseling. All substance abuse counselors provide assessment, diagnosis, and treatment services, while LCADCs may provide mental health counseling services to individuals with identified substance abuse challenges so long as the mental health issue is not a psychotic disorder. To earn a substance abuse counseling credential in Nevada, follow these steps:
- Complete training in confidentiality, HIPAA, and professional ethics for substance abuse counselors.
- Apply for a CADC-Intern license.
- Earn supervised experience.
- Apply for a PADC license and request permission to test.
- Pass the oral exam and the required written exam (the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam for CADCs, the IC&RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam for LADCs, or the NCMHCE for LCADCs).
- Receive your CADC, LACD, or LCADC license.
Other Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Nevada
- Certified Peer Recovery and Support Specialist (CPRSS)
- Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS)
Read more about substance abuse counselors on our substance abuse counseling career guide.
Other Professional Counseling Careers
Counseling is a broad field and a degree in counseling can lead to many different types of careers. In addition to the major types described above, some examples of possible career pathways include:
- Rehabilitation Counselor
- Gambling Counselor
- Genetic Counselor
- Youth Counselor
- Guidance Counselor
- Pastoral Counselor
- Recreational Therapist
Nevada Counseling Career and Salary Information
There are 3,870 counselors working in Nevada and almost half are employed as educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors.1-5 The highest earning type of counselor in the state is the all other category, which earns $61,100 compared to the $47,740 national average.5 This makes Nevada the second highest earning state in this category.5 The next highest earning group is educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors ($54,960).3 The average salaries for marriage and family therapists ($54,290), substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors ($51,130), and rehabilitation counselors ($41,230) are all slightly above national averages.2,1,4
Projections through 2026 for the counseling job market in Nevada are optimistic with all reported areas expected to grow faster than national averages.6 The fastest growth is projected for marriage and family therapists (30.8%), followed by substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors (26.5%), educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (24.5%), and mental health counselors (24.3%).6 The greatest number of new jobs during this period is projected for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (500).6
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Counselors, All Other||30||$61,100|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||1,880||$54,960|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||410||$54,290|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||990||$51,130|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1-5
Counseling Associations in Nevada
- Nevada Counseling Association (NCA): A professional organization that provides continuing education, conferences, and networking opportunities to diverse counseling profession members.
- Nevada School Counselor Association (NvSCA): An organization that offers various ways to get involved in advocacy, research, and networking to promote the school counseling profession.
- State of Nevada Association for Addiction Professionals (SNAAP): A branch of the National Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC), this association provides members with free continuing education opportunities and reduced rates for NAADAC certifications, conferences, and training.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to resubmit my application for a CPC license once I’ve completed my internship?
No, the Board does not require CPC-Interns to resubmit documents, such as transcripts or the application form, after completing the internship. However, additional documents, such as the supervision verification form and exam scores, must be submitted before the internship license expires to show that training requirements have been met. The Board will review the application package for CPC licensure at that time.
What coursework does the Board require for mental health counselors and MFTs?
CPC and MFT applicants must have a 60-credit graduate degree with coursework in core areas. Aspiring CPCs must take coursework in 15 areas, including individual counseling theories, diagnosis and assessment, social and cultural foundations, and professional ethics. For an MFT license, coursework must be completed in 13 core areas, including human development and sexuality, marital and family systems, individual counseling, and group counseling. Both licenses also require at least 40 weeks of supervised clinical experience as part of the degree requirements.
Do I need teaching experience to become a school counselor in Nevada?
The Nevada Board of Education does not require school counselors to have teaching experience. Individuals with a master’s degree in school counseling, an NBCC national school counselor credential, or a master’s degree in counseling with a 600-hour school counseling practicum and specific coursework are eligible for the endorsement without teaching experience. Applicants with a master’s degree in any other subject and two years of teaching experience are only required to complete 36 credits of counseling-related coursework and a 600-hour practicum to be eligible for the endorsement.
What are the minimum requirements for Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LCADCs)?
In Nevada, LCADCs must have at least a master’s degree in social science, including clinical mental health counseling content, and pass the NCMHCE exam. The applicant must also complete 2,000 hours of clinical work experience with individuals with both mental illness and alcohol or drug abuse challenges. These hours must be supervised by a Board-approved supervisor. The form to request an LCADC application is available online.
What types of counseling jobs will be available in Nevada in the coming years?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselor jobs will increase the most through 2026 with 500 new jobs and 280 annual openings.6 This is more new jobs than all other reported counseling categories combined. The second-highest number of new jobs is projected for mental health counselors (180 new jobs and 100 annual openings), followed by substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors (130 new jobs and 70 annual openings) and marriage and family therapists (120 new jobs and 60 annual openings).6
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, 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, Marriage and Family Therapists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/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.com/Projections/LongTerm