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Professional Counselor

Pennsylvania Licensure Requirements


Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree


1 Examination


Experience Requirement Varies Based on Degree 


30 Hours of Continuing Education


100.00 Initial Fee


95.00 Renewal Fee

Licensed professionals who specialize in the application of principles and practices of counseling, mental health and human development to evaluate and facilitate human growth and adjustment throughout the lifespan and to prevent and treat mental, emotional or behavioral disorders and associated stresses which interfere with mental health and normal human growth and development.

Degree Requirement: 

Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree

A candidate must hold a Master's degree or Doctoral degree in counseling or a field determined by the board by regulation to be closely related to the practice of professional counseling from an accredited educational institution.

Examination: 

1 Examination

The examination required as a prerequisite to being granted a license as a professional counselor shall be one of the following:

  1. The National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) given by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
  2. The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Examination given by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.
  3. The Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB) Certification Examination given by ATCB.
  4. The Board Certification Examination given by Certification Board for Music Therapists.
  5. The practice examination of psychological knowledge given by the North American Association of Master's in Psychology (NAMP). (6) The Advanced Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Counselor Examination (AAODA) given by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Inc. (IC & RC/AODA).

    (7) The Examination for Master Addictions Counselors (EMAC) given by National Board for Certified Counselors.

Experience:

Experience Requirement Varies Based on Degree 

Master's Degree - 3,000 hours of Supervised Clinical Experience completed in no less than 2 years and no more than 6 years.

Doctoral Degree – 2,400 hours of Supervised Clinical Experience, of which 1,200 hours was obtained subsequent to the granting of the doctoral degree.

Continuing Education:

30 Hours for Each Biennial Renewal Period

30 hours of continuing education in acceptable courses and programs offered by approved providers.  The 30 hours shall include at least 3 hours in ethics, 2 hours of the mandated Act 31 Child Abuse Reporter Training and 1 hour in suicide prevention.

Initial Licensing Fee:

 $100.00

Licensure Renewal Fee:

 $95.00 

Biennial renewal of license.

Licensure by Endorsement without Examination and Licensure by Act 41:

Endorsement, a license must satisfy the general requirements for licensure and provide a letter from the other jurisdiction registration boards where the licensed professional counselor is licensed and practicing, certifying licensure and reporting any violations, meet the educational, supervised clinical experience and examination requirements and have been actively engaged in the practice of professional counseling for 5 of the last 7 years immediately preceding the filing of the application.  Please note: You must hold a current professional counselor license in another state.

Act 41 allows for portability of out-of-state professional licensees coming to work in Pennsylvania. Act 41 does this by granting all boards and commissions within the Commonwealth the authority to endorse licensees from other states, territories or jurisdictions (with substantially equivalent licensing requirements) who are active, in good standing and without discipline against their license or criminal conviction and who have been actively engaged in the practice for 2 of the last 5 years.