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Ohio Counseling License Requirements

There are over 25,000 people working in various types of counseling positions in Ohio.1-5 Licensure is mandatory for many counseling professions, so if you are considering becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) or another professional counselor, you should educate yourself about the regulations and processes to licensure in the state of Ohio. If you are interested in pursuing a counseling career, this page provides information on some of the common types of counseling licensure in Ohio, counseling career resources, and the job outlook in the state.

Table of Contents
How to Become a Counselor in Ohio
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) Licensing Process
Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Ohio
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
School Counselor
Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC)
Other Professional Counseling Careers
Ohio Counseling Career and Salary Information
Counseling Associations in Ohio
Frequently Asked Questions

How to Become a Counselor in Ohio

Ohio requires licensure for many of the common counseling professions. A master’s degree in a related field is also required other than some types of substance abuse counseling. There are many counseling schools in Ohio that offer programs to help you meet education requirements in the state. The licensure process may also include passing related exams and submitting evidence of necessary work experience.

1. Decide which area of counseling to pursue.

Each type of counseling licensure in Ohio has different requirements for education and work experience. The first step to beginning a career in this field is choosing the specific type of counseling you’d like to pursue.

2. Earn the degree(s) required for your counseling practice area.

The two types of licensure for mental health counseling, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), both require a master’s degree in a counseling-related field, such as mental health counseling. Other types of licensure also require a master’s degree, such as a degree in marriage and family therapy for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and a master’s degree in school counseling for licensed School Counselors. A graduate degree in behavioral science for Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors can be advantageous, but other types of substance abuse counseling licensure are available to associate’s and bachelor’s degree holders.

3. Get licensed to practice counseling in Ohio.

After completing your education, you will apply to the board or department that regulates your license. Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy licenses are issued by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapy Board. The Ohio Department of Education issues school counselor licenses and the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board is responsible for substance abuse counseling licensure. Keep reading to learn more about the various types of Ohio counseling licensure.

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) Licensing Process

The main type of counseling licensure in Ohio is Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). LPCCs provide services to individuals and groups with a range of emotional and mental challenges and are able to assess, diagnose, and treat mental disorders. If you would like to learn more about a career as a professional counselor, read our mental health counselor career guide. In Ohio, this license is issued by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapy Board. A master’s degree in a counseling-related field with a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship is required. The Board does not provide a list of approved programs but if your chosen counseling program is not accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in clinical mental health counseling, clinical rehabilitation counseling, or addiction counseling, you will be required to submit supplementary documents about your coursework and training.

1. Register as a Counselor Trainee (CT), if required.

The first stage of Ohio counseling licensure is not mandatory and is determined by the educational institution or the workplace setting for the practicum or internship. Some institutions or internship settings may require a student to register with the Board as Counselor Trainee (CT) while completing the required practicum or internship. In these cases, students must submit a CT application online to the Board with a background check and proof of enrollment. As of August 2019, there is no fee. Individuals may not identify themselves as CTs unless they have been approved for this stage of licensure by the Board.

2. Apply for LPC licensure and permission to sit the required exam.

LPC applications can be submitted online using Ohio’s eLicense portal. You must also submit your official transcripts and criminal record checks from the FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation. It is possible to request permission to sit the exam when you are in the final semester of a CACREP-accredited graduate degree. If your program is not CACREP-accredited, you will have to wait until your degree has been conferred and include an evaluation form from your internship supervisor and a course worksheet with your application. The Board requires all applicants to watch the Ohio Laws and Rules video as part of the application process. The video is freely available online and can be reviewed at any time. As of August 2019, the application fee is $83.50.

3. Pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE).

Applicants must have pre-approval from the Board to sit the National Counselor Exam (NCE), a multiple choice exam offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Once you are approved, you will need to pass the exam within six months before your letter of eligibility from the Board expires. Study guides are available online to help you prepare.

4. Receive your LPC license.

Once your test scores are received, the Board will process your application. Your license will be issued once the Board receives proof that your degree has been conferred. The status of your license application can be viewed in your online eLicense portal.

5. Accrue supervised experience to become an LPCC.

To be eligible for LPCC licensure, you must complete at least 1,500 hours of LPC work experience per year for at least two years under the supervision of a Board-approved LPCC supervisor (LPCC-S). The supervised experience must include diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. To become an LPCC-S, potential supervisors must have at least one year of experience as an LPCC and at least 24 hours of Board-approved supervision training.

6. Apply for LPCC licensure and permission to test.

After you have completed the necessary supervised experience, you must submit your application online, including background checks and transcripts. Your supervisors must also submit online supervision forms confirming your experience. The LPCC application fee is $103.50 as of August 2019. Once your education and work experience is confirmed, you will be eligible to test.

7. Pass the required exam.

To progress from LPC to LPCC, you are required to pass the National Board of Certified Counselors’ National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE). The Board will send you a letter of eligibility to test valid for six months. Once you have passed the exam, send a copy of your exam results to the Board to complete your application.

8. Receive your license.

LPCC licenses are issued once all documents are received, including background checks and exam results. You will be able to view the status of your application and your license information in the eLicense portal once granted.

Professional Counselor Licensure by Reciprocity in Ohio

Ohio has a reciprocity agreement with the state of Kentucky. This means that a Kentucky counseling license can be valid for licensure in Ohio, but first you need to apply for licensure by reciprocity using the eLicense system. If you have been licensed in a state other than Kentucky for at least five years, have a graduate degree in counseling from an accredited school and have already passed either the NCE or NCMHCE, you may be eligible for licensure by endorsement. You can apply to the Board for licensure by endorsement by sending your transcripts, exam results, criminal records checks, and a copy of your license to the Board. LPCC applicants will also need to send documentation of two years of acceptable work experience.

Counselor Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Ohio counseling licensure must be renewed every two years from the date of issue. Renewal notices are emailed with instructions on how to log into Ohio’s eLicense system and complete the renewal online. The Board requires 30 hours of continuing education, including three hours of ethics training, during each two year period. As of August 2019, it costs $83.50 to renew an LPC license and $103.50 to renew an LPCC license.

Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Ohio

When planning your counseling career path, it is good to keep in mind that the steps may vary depending on the type of counseling you would like to practice. Other types of counseling jobs that require licensure in Ohio are licensed marriage and family therapists, school counselors, and substance abuse counselors.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)

In Ohio, there are two main types of marriage and family therapy professionals known as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) and Independent Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (ILMFTs). Both provide services to couples, families, and individuals for issues related to intimacy, relationships, emotions, or other interpersonal challenges. LMFTs must complete additional training and are allowed to diagnose mental or emotional disorders. To become an LMFT or ILMFT, a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy is required. These licenses are issued by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. After completing the necessary education, prospective applicants can follow these steps to licensure:

  • Register as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).
  • If desired, complete the necessary supervised experience for ILMFT licensure.
  • Apply for ILMFT licensure and permission to take the AMFTRB MFT exam.
  • Request and receive your ILMFT license.

To learn more about LMFT careers, visit our LMFT career guide.

School Counselor

School counselors are licensed by the Ohio Department of Education (DOE) as part of the Pupil Services license program. Licenses are valid for five years and enable the school counselor to work with students of all grades between kindergarten and twelfth grade on emotional, behavioral, and academic issues. An approved master’s degree in school counseling with a 600-hour internship is required. Applicants who are not already licensed teachers with two years of experience will only be licensed on a provisional basis for the first two years. After completing a graduate degree, follow these steps to become a school counselor:

  • Pass the Ohio Assessment for Educators School Counselor exam.
  • Submit an application to the DOE online, including transcripts and exam results.
  • Receive your license online.

If you’d like to read more about the school counselor career path, visit our school counseling career guide.

Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC)

The Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board issues four primary types of licenses for substance abuse professionals. The first level is Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA) for applicants who only have a high school diploma. The other types of licensure have the same general application requirements, but the exact license you apply for will depend on the level of your post-secondary education. For the Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor II (LCDC II) license, you need an associate’s degree in behavioral science or nursing or a bachelor’s degree in any subject. For the LCDC III license, you must have a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science or nursing. For the Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) license, you will need a master’s degree in behavioral science. Once you have completed your desired level of education, you can obtain a license by following these steps:

  • Apply to become a CD Counselor Assistant (CDCA).
  • Complete the required work experience, including one year of full-time chemical dependency counseling work experience.
  • Apply for licensure and permission to take the Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Receive your license online.

Other Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Ohio

  • Clinical Supervisor Endorsement (CS-Endorsement)
  • Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant (OCPC)
  • Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist (OCPS)
  • Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist Assistant (OCPSA)
  • Registered Applicant (RA) (towards OCPS/OCPC certification)

More information about substance abuse counseling careers can be found in our substance abuse counseling career guide.

Other Professional Counseling Careers

Counseling is a broad field and you can choose to work with a variety of populations throughout your career. Here are some other types of counseling careers that may interest you:

  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Gambling Counselor
  • Genetic Counselor
  • Youth Counselor
  • Guidance Counselor
  • Pastoral Counselor
  • Recreational Therapist

Ohio Counseling Career and Salary Information

In Ohio, 25,110 people work in various types of counseling jobs.1-5 The highest number of counselors are employed as educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (10,720) and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (7,790).1,3 Ohio ranks fifth in the nation for rehabilitation counselors (5,320) with the North Northeastern and West Northwestern nonmetropolitan areas of the state ranked second and third among nonmetropolitan areas in the country (390 and 350 respectively).4 The North Northeastern nonmetropolitan area also ranks second among nonmetropolitan areas for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselor employment (690).4 Average salaries in Ohio are slightly lower than national averages.1-5 The smallest difference is for rehabilitation counselors who report an average salary of $39,890 compared to the national average of $39,930, and the largest difference is for marriage and family therapists who report $46,180 on average per year compared to $54,150 nationally.2,4

The highest growth rate among Ohio counseling jobs is projected for marriage and family therapists (20.0%) resulting in 100 new jobs through 2026.6 The largest number of new jobs (1,030) is projected for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors with a 10.9% growth rate.6 This is followed by a 16.2% growth rate for rehabilitation counselors, which is higher than the national average (12.7%) resulting in 790 new jobs.6

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Counselors, All Other800$44,790
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors10,720$57,280
Marriage and Family Therapists480$46,180
Rehabilitation Counselors5,320$39,890
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors7,790$47,040

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1-5

Counseling Associations in Ohio

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between LPC and LPCC licensure?

The difference between LPC and LPCC licensure is the scope of practice. As an LPC, you are not allowed to diagnose mental or emotional disorders without Board-approved supervision. If you become a supervisor, you will only be able to supervise LPC trainees. Once you have received LPCC licensure, you will be able to diagnose independently and apply for LPCC-S designation after completing the necessary requirements.

What are the Ohio license requirements for LMFTs?

In Ohio, the Board requires students to complete an internship with at least 500 hours of direct client service delivery as part of the graduate degree. No further work experience is required. If you wish to progress to earn LMFT licensure, you will need two years of documented and supervised work experience, including at least 1,000 hours of direct client service delivery and 200 hours of face-to-face supervision.

Do I need to be a teacher before I can become a school counselor?

The Department of Education does not require prospective Ohio school counselors to be licensed teachers. Even if you are a licensed teacher, you will need to complete a master’s degree in school counseling before applying for licensure. If you are a licensed teacher in Ohio with at least two years of experience, you will be issued a five-year license by the Department once your application is approved. If you are not a licensed, experienced teacher, you will be issued a two-year provisional license that may include a mandatory induction period.

Do I need a graduate degree to become a counselor in Ohio?

Most counseling careers in Ohio require a master’s degree or higher in a counseling-related field. One exception is the Ohio chemical dependency license. You can apply to become an LCDC II with an associate’s degree in behavioral science or nursing or a bachelor’s degree in any subject. You can also apply to become an LCDC III with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science or nursing. These levels of licensure enable you to work in a counseling field but allow for fewer responsibilities compared to LCDC IV licensure.

What types of counseling jobs are available in Ohio?

Currently, most counseling professionals in Ohio are employed as educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (10,720) and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (7,790).1,3 Through 2026, the largest numbers of new jobs are projected for educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (1,030) and rehabilitation counselors (790).6

References:
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