How to Become a Licensed Counselor (LPC) in Texas

If you're considering a career in counseling and are specifically interested in practicing in the state of Texas, it’s important to understand the requirements involved in becoming a licensed professional counselor (LPC). Pursuing an LPC career in Texas offers a rewarding opportunity to make a positive impact in individuals' lives by providing professional counseling services.

Exploring state-specific information is essential when considering a career as an LPC. Each state may have unique licensing requirements, regulations, and opportunities for becoming a counselor. Texas, being one of the most populous and diverse states in the U.S., presents distinct advantages and considerations for those aspiring to become counselors.

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What Is a Licensed Professional Counselor?

When considering a career as an LPC in Texas, it's crucial to understand the role and responsibilities associated with this profession. Here's a comprehensive look at what an LPC does and why it's a meaningful career choice:

The Role of an LPC in Texas

  • Definition: An LPC is a mental health professional trained to provide counseling services to individuals, families, and groups.
  • Scope of Practice: Licensed counselors can diagnose and treat various mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
  • Client Focus: LPCs work with diverse populations, from children and adolescents to adults and seniors.
  • Settings: Licensed therapists may practice in schools, hospitals, private practices, or community mental health centers.

Why Choose a Career as a Counselor in Texas?

  • High Demand: Texas has a growing demand for mental health services, making it a promising field for LPCs.
  • Diversity: The state's diverse population offers opportunities to work with individuals from various backgrounds.
  • Career Satisfaction: Counselors find fulfillment in helping clients improve their mental well-being.
  • Income Potential: Competitive salaries and career growth opportunities make this field attractive.

Education and Training

  • Bachelor's Degree: Typically, a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field is the starting point.
  • Master's Degree: Completion of a master's degree program in counseling or a related discipline is essential.
  • Supervised Experience: LPC candidates must complete a certain number of supervised clinical hours.
  • Examination: Passage of the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), which are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Licensing and Certification

Why Opt for Earning an LPC Degree in Texas?

Choosing to pursue your LPC degree in Texas offers numerous advantages, including access to quality education, diverse clinical experiences, and a wealth of career opportunities. Here's a closer look at why you should consider Texas for your LPC education:

Accredited Programs in Texas

  • Diverse Options: Texas boasts a wide range of accredited LPC programs at universities and colleges.
  • High Standards: Accredited programs adhere to rigorous educational standards, ensuring a quality education.
  • Faculty Expertise: Experienced faculty members often have extensive backgrounds in counseling.

Clinical Experience Opportunities

  • Urban and Rural Settings: Texas offers diverse settings for clinical training, from urban centers to rural communities.
  • Diverse Clientele: You'll gain experience working with a wide range of clients, enriching your skill set.
  • Networking: Texas provides ample opportunities to connect with professionals in the field.

Career Prospects


  • Tuition: Texas offers competitive tuition rates, making education more accessible.
  • Financial Aid: Various financial aid options and scholarships are available to LPC students.

By choosing to become a counselor in Texas, you're setting yourself on a path toward a fulfilling and impactful career in counseling. 

Here are a few schools in with CACREP-accredited counseling programs:
  • Adams State University: M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.A. in School Counseling Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Adler University: M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University: M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Alabama State University: M.Ed. in School Counseling M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling MRC in Rehabilitation Counseling
Click to jump to the full list of counseling programs, or consider learning more about one of the below online counseling program currently accepting applicants.

Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program

Snapshot: Online CACREP Accredited Programs

☰ For detailed degree information, view the guides to:
Online CACREP Accredited programs | Online MPCAC Accredited programs

Finding Accredited Counseling Programs in Texas

When embarking on your journey to become a licensed counselor in Texas, one of the first crucial steps is finding the right accredited LPC program to enroll in. Accreditation ensures that you receive a quality education and meet the necessary standards for licensure. Here's a guide on how to identify and select accredited LPC programs in the state:

Researching Accredited Programs

  • Start your search by exploring the websites of universities and colleges in Texas.
  • Look for programs that offer master's degrees in counseling or related fields.
  • Ensure that the programs you consider are accredited by recognized accrediting bodies.

Identifying Accrediting Bodies

Checking Program Requirements

  • Review admission requirements, prerequisites, and application deadlines for each program.
  • Consider whether the program aligns with your career goals and interests.

Campus vs. Online Programs

  • Evaluate whether you prefer traditional on-campus programs or online options, which offer flexibility.
  • Ensure that online programs maintain the same accreditation standards as on-campus ones.

Faculty and Resources

  • Investigate the qualifications and expertise of the program's faculty members.
  • Explore available resources, such as counseling labs and research opportunities.

Student Reviews and Alumni Feedback

  • Seek feedback from current students and alumni to gauge their satisfaction with the program.
  • Online forums and social media can be valuable sources for such insights.

Costs of Attending a Counseling Program in Texas

Understanding the costs associated with pursuing a master's degree in counseling or a related field is essential for planning your education. 

Tuition and Fees

  • Tuition costs can vary significantly between institutions and programs.
  • Consider in-state vs. out-of-state tuition rates if you're not a Texas resident.

Additional Expenses

  • Factor in expenses such as textbooks, supplies, and technology requirements.
  • Some programs may require liability insurance or background checks.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

  • Explore federal financial aid options, including grants and student loans.
  • Texas offers various scholarships and grants for graduate students pursuing counseling degrees.

Assistantships and Work-Study

  • Some programs may offer graduate assistantships or work-study opportunities to help offset costs.
  • Research the availability of such opportunities within your chosen program.

Cost of Living

  • Consider the cost of living in your chosen city or region of Texas.
  • Housing, transportation, and daily expenses can significantly impact your budget.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

  • Create a realistic budget that accounts for tuition, fees, and living expenses.
  • Seek financial advice and plan for managing student loans if necessary.

How to Become a Counselor in Texas

Becoming a licensed counselor in Texas involves a series of well-defined steps. These steps ensure that you acquire the necessary education, training, and licensure to practice ethically and effectively. Here's a comprehensive breakdown of the process:

Step 1: Undergraduate Education

  • Obtain a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field. Ensure the programs you consider meet the prerequisites for LPC programs, including online counseling degrees in Texas.
  • Focus on maintaining a strong academic record during your undergraduate studies.

Step 2: Graduate Education

  • Pursue a master's degree in counseling, counseling psychology, or a related discipline.
  • Look for CACREP-accredited counseling programs in Texas that align with your career goals.
  • Complete coursework in areas such as counseling theories, ethics, and assessment.

Step 3: Supervised Experience

  • Accumulate supervised counseling experience as required by Texas licensing regulations.
  • Your supervised experience should include direct client contact and clinical work.
  • Ensure that your supervisor holds the necessary credentials and is approved by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.

Step 4: Examination

  • Prepare for and pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).
  • These examinations assess your knowledge and competence in the field of counseling.

Step 5: Application for Licensure

  • Submit an application for LPC licensure to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.
  • Include all required documentation, such as transcripts, examination scores, and supervised experience records.
  • Pay the applicable licensing fees.

Step 6: Criminal Background Check

  • Undergo a criminal background check as part of the licensure process.
  • Ensure you meet the board's ethical and legal standards for licensure.

Step 7: Continuing Education

  • Upon becoming an LPC in Texas, you must engage in continuing education to maintain your license.
  • Participate in workshops, seminars, or coursework to stay current with developments in the field.

Step 8: Ethical Practice

  • Adhere to the ethical guidelines and standards of practice set forth by the American Counseling Association and the Texas LPC Board.
  • Maintain the highest level of professionalism and confidentiality in your counseling practice.

Step 9: Renewal

  • Renew your LPC license as required by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.
  • Ensure you complete the necessary continuing education credits for renewal.

Navigating these steps diligently will lead you toward becoming a licensed professional counselor in Texas, ready to make a positive impact on the mental well-being of individuals and communities.

State-Specific Requirements to Become a Licensed Counselor in Texas

In addition to the general steps for becoming an LPC, Texas has specific requirements and regulations that aspiring counselors must be aware of. Understanding these state-specific details is crucial for a successful career in counseling in the Lone Star State:

Licensing and Certification

  • The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors oversees the licensing process.
  • LPC candidates must complete a minimum of 3,000 supervised post-graduate counseling hours, with at least 1,500 hours of direct client contact.
  • Ensure that your supervisor meets the board's criteria and is recognized by the state.

Continuing Education

  • Texas LPCs are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education during each two-year renewal period.
  • A portion of these hours must focus on ethics, laws, and rules related to counseling practice in Texas.

Scope of Practice

  • LPCs in Texas are qualified to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, but they cannot prescribe medication.
  • Collaboration with other healthcare professionals may be necessary when medication is part of a client's treatment plan.

Professional Organizations

  • Consider joining professional organizations such as the Texas Counseling Association (TCA) for networking and access to resources.
  • Membership in these organizations can support your professional growth and development.

Supervision Requirements

  • Be aware of the specific supervision requirements, including the duration and nature of supervision hours.
  • Ensure that your supervision experiences align with Texas regulations.

Navigating the state-specific requirements in Texas is crucial for a successful LPC career. Adhering to these regulations will help you provide effective and ethical counseling services to clients in the state.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Counselor in Texas?

The time it takes to become a counselor in Texas can vary depending on various factors, including your educational path, the duration of supervised experience, and the time it takes to pass licensing exams. 

Undergraduate Degree (Approximately 4 Years)

  • Bachelor's degree programs typically take four years to complete.
  • Ensure your undergraduate coursework aligns with prerequisites for master's programs in counseling.

Master's Degree (2-3 Years)

  • Earning a master's degree in counseling usually takes two to three years.
  • Some programs offer accelerated options or part-time enrollment for flexibility.

Supervised Experience (2-3 Years)

  • Texas requires LPC candidates to accumulate a minimum of 3,000 supervised post-graduate counseling hours.
  • Depending on your work schedule and availability, this phase can take two to three years or longer.

Licensing Exam Preparation (Several Months)

  • Preparing for and taking the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) typically requires several months of dedicated study.

Application and Licensure Processing (Variable)

  • The processing time for your LPC application can vary, but it typically takes a few months.
  • Ensure that all required documentation is complete and submitted accurately to avoid delays.

Total Time

  • In total, the path to becoming an LPC in Texas can range from around 5 to 8 years or more, depending on individual circumstances and the chosen educational and career trajectory.

It's essential to plan your educational and career path carefully to meet your goals and aspirations as an LPC in Texas.

Employment Options for LPC Graduates in Texas

Upon becoming a therapist in Texas, you’ll have a range of employment options to consider. The field of counseling offers diverse opportunities to make a meaningful impact on individuals and communities. Here are some employment avenues for LPC graduates:

Private Practice

  • Many LPCs in Texas choose to establish their private counseling practices, providing individual, family, or group therapy services.
  • Running a private practice allows for autonomy and the ability to specialize in specific areas of counseling.

School Counselor

  • LPCs can work as school counselors in K-12 educational settings.
  • They provide academic, career, and personal counseling to students, helping them navigate challenges and make informed decisions.

Community Mental Health Centers

  • Employment at community mental health centers allows LPCs to serve individuals with mental health disorders in a community-based setting.
  • Counselors in these centers may work with diverse populations and provide vital services.

Substance Abuse Counselor

  • LPCs can specialize in substance abuse counseling, helping individuals struggling with addiction.
  • This specialization often involves working in rehabilitation centers, clinics, or outpatient programs.

Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities

  • LPCs are employed in hospitals and healthcare facilities, offering counseling services to patients dealing with mental health challenges.
  • Collaborating with medical professionals is common in these settings.

Correctional Facilities

  • LPCs can work in correctional facilities, providing counseling to incarcerated individuals.
  • These counselors may focus on rehabilitation, anger management, or addressing underlying mental health issues.

Nonprofit Organizations

  • Many nonprofit organizations hire LPCs to support their mission of helping underserved populations, such as at-risk youth or survivors of trauma.
  • These roles often involve a combination of counseling and advocacy.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

  • LPCs working in EAPs provide confidential counseling services to employees of organizations to address personal and work-related issues.
  • They may also offer workplace wellness programs.

Military Counseling

  • LPCs can serve in various branches of the military, providing counseling services to service members and their families.
  • These roles may involve deployments to military bases.

When considering your career path as an LPC in Texas, it’s essential to align your interests and skills with the employment option that best suits your goals. The state’s diverse opportunities offer a fulfilling and impactful career in the field of counseling.

Salary and Job Outlook for Counselors in Texas

Understanding the salary prospects and job outlook for licensed professional counselors (LPCs) in Texas is essential as you plan your career in this field. Here’s an in-depth look at the financial aspect and employment prospects for LPCs in the Lone Star State:

Average Annual Salary

Salary Range

  • The salary range for LPCs in Texas can extend from approximately $35,000 for entry-level positions to over $80,000 for experienced counselors in specialized roles.
  • Factors like the type of employer and geographic location play a significant role in salary fluctuations.

Geographic Variation

  • Salary levels can differ significantly across Texas due to variations in the cost of living and demand for LPC services.
  • Urban areas such as Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio often offer higher earning potential than rural regions.

Job Growth and Outlook

  • The job outlook for LPCs in Texas is generally positive, with an increasing demand for mental health services. 
  • The field is expected to experience 18% job growth between 2022 and 2032, according to the BLS. Factors contributing to this demand include population growth, increased awareness of mental health issues, and destigmatization of seeking counseling.

Employment Settings

  • LPCs in Texas can find employment in a variety of settings, including private practices, schools, community health centers, hospitals, and more.
  • The availability of positions may vary depending on the type of counseling services offered and geographic location.

Specialization Impact

  • Specializing in areas such as marriage and family therapy or substance abuse counseling can open up unique career opportunities and potentially higher salaries.
  • Specializations that address specific community needs may be in higher demand.

Experience Matters

  • LPCs with several years of experience and a strong track record may have the opportunity to command higher salaries or open their private practices.
  • Gaining experience through internships and supervised hours is crucial for long-term career growth.

Economic Factors

  • Economic conditions in Texas, such as overall job growth and the healthcare landscape, can influence job availability and earning potential for LPCs.

Texas Licensed Counselor FAQ

1. What is the difference between an LPC and an LCSW in Texas?

While both LPCs and licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) provide counseling services, they have different educational backgrounds and approaches. LPCs typically have a degree in counseling or a related field, while LCSWs have a social work background. The choice between the two professions depends on your career goals and preferred approach to counseling.

2. Can I become an LPC in Texas with an out-of-state degree?

Yes, it’s possible to become an LPC in Texas with an out-of-state degree. However, you must ensure that your degree meets Texas licensing requirements. The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors evaluates degrees on a case-by-case basis.

3. How can I find a qualified supervisor for my post-graduate hours?

Look for experienced LPCs or supervisors who meet Texas state requirements. You can connect with potential supervisors through professional networks, counseling associations, or university counseling programs.

4. Do I need to take the NCE or NCMHCE exam to become an LPC in Texas?

Yes, passing either the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is a mandatory step in obtaining LPC licensure in Texas.

5. What are the requirements for LPC renewal in Texas?

Texas LPCs must renew their licenses every two years. Renewal requirements include completing 24 hours of continuing education, including four hours of ethics, within each renewal period.

6. Can LPCs in Texas prescribe medication?

No, LPCs in Texas cannot prescribe medication. Only licensed medical professionals, such as psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners, have the authority to prescribe medication.

7. Is there a demand for LPCs in Texas?

Yes, there is a growing demand for LPCs in Texas due to increased awareness of mental health issues and the importance of seeking counseling services. The state’s population growth also contributes to the demand.

Your Journey to Becoming a Counselor in Texas

Embarking on the journey to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Texas is a rewarding endeavor that offers the opportunity to make a positive impact on the mental well-being of individuals and communities.

Key Takeaways

  1. Becoming an LPC in Texas requires dedication, education, supervised experience, and passing licensing exams.
  2. The timeline to become a licensed counselor varies but typically spans five to eight years, depending on individual circumstances and educational choices.
  3. Texas offers diverse employment options for LPCs, from private practice to school counseling and community mental health centers.
  4. Salary prospects for LPCs in Texas range from $35,000 to $80,000 or more, with variation based on factors like location and specialization.
  5. The demand for LPCs in Texas is on the rise, making it an opportune time to pursue this career path.

As you progress in your journey, remember to stay committed to ethical counseling practices, continue your professional development, and adhere to the regulations set forth by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Your dedication to the field of counseling will not only benefit you but also the individuals and communities you serve.

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