Counselors in the state of Delaware are known as Licensed Professional Counselors of Mental Health (LPCMH). Their certification is issued by the Delaware Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals. All licensing is issued based on experience, education, and third-party certifications. We’re going to include a plethora of information below, including prospective salaries and continuing education requirements so that you get a full understanding of what’s involved in becoming a counselor in the state of Delaware.
Types of Counselor Licenses in Delaware
The main types of counselors in Delaware are referred to as a Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health (LPCMH) and a Licensed Associate Counselor of Mental Health (LACMH). There are other types of counseling licenses that one can obtain for more specialized fields. These include a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), School Counselor, and Licensed Chemical Dependency Professionals (LCDP).
In addition to these licensing options, people may obtain special certifications from the Delaware Certification Board (DCB) to showcase their competence and understanding of particular counseling areas. These certifications include a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS), Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS), and Certified Supervisor of Peer Specialists (CSPS).
With just under 3,000 licensed counseling professionals in the great state of Delaware, there are many different career fields in which one can obtain a license to practice in. These include:
- Rehabilitation Counselors
- Occupational Therapists
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
- Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors
If you do decide to obtain a counseling license in a specialized degree field, it’s imperative to note that there are various other licensing requirements you must meet apart from the LPCMH requirements already established. For example, you’ll need to register as a National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors National Certified Addiction Counselor if you want to be licensed as an LCDP.
When you obtain your counseling license, it grants you the ability to represent yourself as a licensed professional counselor as you engage with the public. You’ll be able to collect financial compensation for mental health counseling services, and you may work independently if you so choose.
Instruction Required for Counselor Licensure in Delaware
All LPCMHs must go through some basic steps to gain their licensing certification. From obtaining a degree in counseling to passing a national examination, it’s imperative to understand each of these requirements thoroughly. All of these requirements include the following:
- Earning a qualifying graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or a related field
- Accruing necessary hours of supervised counseling experience over a period of several years
- Passing the National Counselor Examination (NCE)
- Completing an online LPMCH licensure application through DELPROS
It’s essential to note that all applicants must receive a LAMCH license first following the completion of their master’s degree program. This program will typically take around six years, four to receive a bachelor’s degree and two to receive a master’s degree. Then, each applicant will need to complete the necessary hours of supervision and must pass the NCE to be considered eligible for an LPCMH licensure.
Once obtained, your LACMH license is only good for two years. You may renew it twice through your DELPROS account before having to complete another formal application. Each time you renew your LACMH, you will be responsible for paying the applicable renewal fee.
All Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree programs must be from a school that is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or CHEA for short. Those who do not meet this requirement may still be eligible for LACMH and LPCMH licensing.
The state may approve those who obtained a master’s degree in a related field, did not attend a degree from a CHEA-accredited school, or had a program that was only between 30 and 59 semester credits if they submit proof that their degree program included all of the following core course areas:
- Testing and assessment
- Program evaluation and research
- Career development
- Group work and group counseling
- Human growth and development
- Professional counseling orientation and ethical practice
- Cultural and social diversity
- Counseling and helping relationships
State Specific Requirements
The state of Delaware requires strict licensing requirements by certification agencies that have been recognized as national standard setters. All applicants must hold a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at a school that received approval by the National Board for Certification to be considered for an LPCMH licensure. Delaware also requires all applicants to first obtain an LACMH license before being eligible for an LPCMH licensure.
After investing around six years to complete your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, you can expect to invest another two years in a supervised counseling experience. After receiving your LACMH license, you’ll undergo both general and direct supervision. You’ll need to find a supervisor with an existing LPCMH license in your chosen field to develop a plan for your supervision hours.
It’s mandated that you complete at least 100 face-to-face supervision hours with your supervisor. At least 60 of these must be through one-on-one supervision, and the rest of the 40 can be in a group-like setting. You’ll be given between two and four years to complete these hour requirements.
Those who have only completed 30 credits for their graduate degree must complete 3,200 hours of supervision. 1,600 of these hours must be in supervised clinical counseling, and the other 1,600 can be through professional employment. Those who have completed at least 30-semester credits after receiving their master’s degree will only be required to complete 1,600 hours of supervised clinical counseling experience.
To become an LPCMH, you’ll need to pass the National Counselor Examination, known as the NCE for short. This examination is sponsored by the National Board of Certified Counselors. To register for this exam, you’ll need to establish an online ProCounselor account at the (CCE) Center for Credentialing and Education’s website. You may register for this exam at any time you would like.
You’ll be given a digital examination at a testing center in your local area. The exam includes 200 multiple-choice questions that address key course content that was taught during your graduate degree program. Each participant will have 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete their examination. You can get more detailed information about the exam in the NCE Handbook.
Licensure and Fees
To become licensed as a counselor in the state of Delaware, you’ll need to pay a $262 application fee to the Delaware Professional Regulation Online Services, known as DELPROS for short. You’ll also need to complete a criminal history record check for the FBI and the State of Delaware, which may include your fingerprints. Currently, the fee is $69. However, this does change from time to time.
If you are transitioning from an LACMH to an LPCMH license, you’ll need to submit a $55 upgrade licensing fee. Those who hold a counseling degree in another state may apply for reciprocity in Delaware. You’ll need to submit a completed application form, your exam results, license verification, a federal background check, and a $262 application fee.
Most applicants will only be approved if their home state has licensing requirements fairly similar to those of the state of Delaware. All applicants who have held an out-of-state counseling license for over five years are automatically eligible for Delaware state licensing.
When upgrading from an LACMH to an LPCMH degree, you must submit proof of your completed supervision. These include the direct supervision reference form, counseling experience verification form, and potentially the counseling experience self-employment verification form. It’s vital to note that you are only eligible to upgrade to a professional license if you haven’t had any disciplinary actions during your LACMH licensing period.
Continuing Education Requirements
It’s very important to note that each counselor’s license will expire on September 30th of every even-numbered year. In order to renew your license, you’ll need to complete 40 hours of continuing education courses. However, if it’s your first renewal period, you’ll qualify for reduced or even no continuing education requirements depending on the specific month that you received your initial counseling license.
All CE courses must be approved by the Delaware Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals. Currently, the National Board of Certified Counselors and American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy courses are pre-approved by the Board. In some cases, teaching courses, writing in a journal, or presenting papers may qualify for up to 20 CE hours of credit during your renewal period.
Counselor Salary in Delaware
Most counselors in the state of Delaware are found to work in the field of educational, guidance, and career counseling and advising. According to published Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data in November of 2022, this is the highest-paying field, with professionals receiving just under $68,000 a year.
Those working in the area of marriage and family therapy are the second-highest-paid counselors, making around $54,500 annually. Rehabilitation counselors in Delaware are reportedly making just under $41,000, and those working in substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling clock in at just under $48,000 annually.