Nevada Counseling License Requirements
There are almost 3,500 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 certain steps to gain 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. However, for most counseling licenses, you will need to complete a relevant degree. Several schools in Nevada offer programs designed for the state’s licensure process, though programs completed at schools from out of state may also meet licensure requirements. If you already hold a license in another state and are looking to practice in Nevada, visit our Counseling License Reciprocity Guide.
1. Decide which area of counseling to pursue.
With so many different types of counseling subspecialties, each with unique educational requirements, it makes sense to choose an area of 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, but 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 (the Board); school counselors are licensed by the Nevada Department of Education (NDE); and substance abuse counselors are licensed by the Nevada State Board of Examiners for Alcohol, Drug, and Gambling Counselors (the Board). 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 (the Board) 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 the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (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 to submit online and the application fee is $150 as of December 2022. 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). The fee is $27 as of December 2022. Once the Board has conducted an academic review of your package, you will be invited to an in-person interview. 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 300 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 they 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 $150 application review fee (as of December 2022). Once your application is approved, you must pay the $60 issuance fee (as of December 2022) before your license will be issued.
CPC 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 submit the application online 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 License Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Licenses expire on January 1 each year and cost $450 to renew (as of December 2022). Licenses must be renewed online and licensees must complete 20 hours of continuing education (CEU) 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 also licensed by the Nevada Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists and Clinical Professional Counselors (the Board). 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:
- Apply online to become a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (MFT-Intern).
- Attend an interview, if requested by the Board.
- Earn 3,000 hours of supervised experience, 1,500 of which must be direct client contact hours.
- Pass the Marital and Family Therapy National Examination from the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
- 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 (NDE) offers several pathways to school counselor endorsement. Applicants must have a master’s degree or be certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors (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.
- Submit your application online 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 (the Board) offers numerous substance abuse certifications and licenses with progressive education and experience requirements: Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor-Intern (CADC-I), 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 towards a bachelor’s degree in an approved social science field, while CADC applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field of social science, LADC applicants must have a master’s degree in a social science field, and LCADC candidates must have a master’s or doctoral degree in a social science field that includes comprehensive coursework in clinical mental health including the diagnosis of mental health disorders. 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. You can also practice substance abuse counseling without a license or certificate if you are a licensed MFT. To earn a substance abuse counseling credential in Nevada, follow these steps:
- Complete training in confidentiality, HIPAA, and professional ethics for substance abuse counselors to be eligible for a CADC-I license.
- Secure an onsite supervision agreement and apply online for an internship.
- Earn supervised internship experience (CADC: 4,000 hours, or 1,500 with 18 semester units of addictions training; LADC: 4,000 hours, or 1,500 with 12 college credits in substance use disorders; LCDAC: 2,000 hours of alcohol and drug counseling and 2,000 hours of mental health counseling).
- Apply for your chosen license and permission to test, along with a PADC license if desired.
- Pass the oral exam from the Board and the required written exam (the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) exam for CADCs, the IC&RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) exam for LADCs, or the NCMHCE for LCADCs).
- Receive your CADC, LACD, or LCADC license.
Optional Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Nevada
The Nevada Certification Board (NCB) offers several optional credentials for substance abuse professionals in Nevada. These credentials are not required to practice in the field, but they are available for those who wish to further specialize their training and skills.
- Certified Peer Recovery and Support Specialist (CPRSS)
- Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS)
- Peer Recovery & Support Specialist Supervisor (PRSS)
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 3,430 counselors working in Nevada and almost half are employed as educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors.1-5 The highest-earning counseling field is marriage and family therapy, which averages $66,600 compared to the $59,660 national average.2 This makes Nevada the fifth-highest-earning state in this category.2 The next highest earning group is educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors ($63,150).3 The average salaries for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors ($59,640); “all other” counselors ($58,020); and rehabilitation counselors ($47,250) are all slightly above national averages.1,5,4
Projections through 2030 for the counseling job market in Nevada are optimistic with all reported areas (with the exception of the category of “all other” counselors) expected to grow faster than national averages, ”6 The fastest growth is projected for rehabilitation counselors (30.6%), followed by substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (26.3%); marriage and family therapists (20%); educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (17.9%); and all other counselors (7.4%).6 The greatest number of new jobs during this period is projected for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (330).6
|Occupation||Number Employed1-5||Average Annual Salary1-5|
|Counselors, All Other||130||$58,020|
|Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors||1,620||$63,150|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||310||$66,600|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||1,100||$59,840|
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, and marital and family therapy. 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 must 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 LCADC application is available online.
What types of counseling jobs will be available in Nevada in the coming years?
According to Projections Central, educational, guidance, school, and vocational counseling jobs will increase the most through 2030, with approximately 330 new jobs and an average of 220 annual openings.6 The second-highest number of new jobs is projected for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (310 new jobs and 150 average annual openings); followed by marriage and family therapists (120 new jobs and 70 average annual openings); and rehabilitation counselors (110 new jobs and 50 average annual openings).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