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What Qualifications Do You Need To Be a Counselor?

If you’re interested in becoming a counselor, the process can be different depending on where you live. There are also some different requirements depending on what type of counselor you’d like to be. There are general steps that all counselors need to complete, regardless of the state they live in, but each state has certain parameters, as well. Here’s some information on the basics to working in counseling in Denver.

General Steps to Get Started

Counseling covers a wide spectrum, so determining your specialization is an important first step. That will get you on the right path toward helping the specific people you want to help. From there, you have to pursue your master’s degree in counseling. Making sure you select the right program and the right school will be a good launching point to getting your degree. You’ll have to follow that with some documented hours in supervised clinical fieldwork.

Those hours are known as practicum and/or internship hours, and then take your licensing exam. In Colorado, the number of hours needed in practicum or internship vary depending on what type of counselor career path you’d like to pursue. For example, if you wanted to be a school counselor, the state’s current requirements are a minimum 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship. Practicum hours are generally between 100-300, while internships are usually around the 700-hour range in Colorado.

Licensing Requirements for Counselors

The requirements for the proper licensures also are determined by each individual state. The most common of these licensures is the licensed professional counselor (LPC). This requires all of the steps listed above – a master’s or doctorate degree in counseling from an accredited institution, or a graduate degree in an equivalent subject.

To get any license in Colorado, you must also pass an exam from the State Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners, and the exam is different based on the type of certification you’re seeking. Many of these licenses also require renewal after a certain number of years. Renewing your license requires paying of fees, as well as proof of continuing education. This is generally around 40 professional development hours each cycle – and those hours are usually comprised of volunteer service, independent or group learning, and other coursework.

There’s Help Out There

There are some resources out there for aspiring counselors that might be overwhelmed by some of the costs of becoming a counselor. Things like scholarships through the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students plan help full-time students from disadvantaged backgrounds handle some of the demands of tuition. The Colorado Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program is also available for assistance in paying loans back. LPCs can earn some loan repayment by working in a health professional shortage area. This site has to be approved by the Colorado Health Service Corps, and the assistance can come through three years of full-time or part-time service.

It’s not simple to become a counselor, and it takes a lot of dedication and many hours of study to clear all of the hurdles. For more information on the parameters of becoming a counselor, or with any other questions, reach out to Elevated Counseling today.


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