How to Become a Counselor in Georgia

Ready to start your journey?

Whether you want to help people improve their relationships or overcome an addiction, you can provide the support and guidance they need as a licensed counselor. And with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 22% employment growth by 2031, you can have many opportunities to practice this rewarding career.

But first, you want to learn how to become a counselor in Georgia. Knowledge of counseling therapy education and licensing requirements in the state helps you avoid unnecessary delays.

Types of Counselor Licenses in Georgia

Georgia has two levels of professional counselor licenses. An Associate Professional Counselor (APC) allows you to practice counseling under direct supervision. You may practice in this role for up to five years while completing a master’s degree program.

The Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) has post-graduate education in counseling. You are considered fully licensed in this role. Direct supervision is not required to practice counseling at this level.

Instruction Required for Counselor Licensure in Georgia

Qualifying for an APC credential and LPC license requires earning a master’s degree in counseling. Other areas of applied psychology are also acceptable. An internship or practicum must be part of the accredited degree program.

Two agencies are responsible for setting the educational standards to become either an APC or LPC. The Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs recognizes 15 schools in Georgia. The Council on Rehabilitation Education currently recognizes two accredited schools.

You can earn a graduate degree from a school not recognized by either agency. However, the program must be accredited by a regional organization that meets the Council on Higher Education Accreditation standards.

Keep in mind that pursuing this route still means content in the degree program should cover similar core content. Areas that meet CACREP or CORE standards include:

• Assessment and Appraisal of Individuals

• Career and Lifestyle Development

• Counseling Skills or Techniques

• Diversity or Multicultural Counseling

• Group Counseling

• Group Psychotherapy

• Human Growth and Development

• Professional Ethics and Orientation

• Psychopathology

• Research Evaluation and Methods

Doctoral education may count towards the number of hours for direct supervision. Any courses must also adhere to the educational standards for a counseling license in Georgia.

Georgia-Specific Requirements

Georgia requires all applicants for an APC or LPC license complete at least 600 internship or practicum hours in applied psychology or counseling.

Supervision Hours

The Georgia Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage & Family Therapists (Board) expects anyone applying for LPC licensure to complete work-setting supervision. During this time, your official title is APC.

Your counseling degree determines the number of years that supervision is required.

• Master’s Degree – The standard is four years. Only three years is required if your program includes 300 hours of supervised counseling.

• Master’s Degree in Psychology – Also four years or three if you had 300 hours of a supervised internship or practicum.

• Doctoral Degree – One year or zero time if you received a supervised internship or practicum during the program

• Specialist Degree – Three years is required for this level or two years with 300 hours of a supervised internship or practicum.

• Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Degree – You must have three years or two years under a supervised internship or practicum with at least 300 hours completed.

Licensure and Fees

You must file an application with the Georgia Secretary of State to apply for an APC or LPC. Once your license is issued, it will expire on September 30 in even-numbered years. All forms for each application type require signatures. Some forms may also require notarization.

The Board evaluates applications based on the order date received. The processing time may take up to 20 business days from receipt of the application. This time may fluctuate based on individual circumstances and the volume of applications.

Initial review of your application to become a counselor in Georgia may occur during an upcoming Board Meeting. This requires a completed application package received by the Board at least 15 days before the meeting.

If the Board issues a deficiency letter, your 20-day processing time restarts once the Board receives the corrected information. Typically, you have 60 days to satisfy any incomplete application details. Otherwise, your application may be withdrawn from review.

If your application is withdrawn for this reason, you will need to restart the process. This includes submitting the required documents and paying the appropriate fees.

The following is a breakdown of fees:

• Initial licensure – $100

• Renewal – $100

• Late renewal – $150

• Endorsement – $100

• Reinstatement of inactive license over five years – $350

• Reactivation of Inactive status of less than five years – $150

• Verification of license – $35

• Decorative wall certificate – $50

• Duplicate license card – $25

• Inactive status – no fee

The processing fee is $5 for an online application submission and $10.00 for a mail-in application.

APC and LPC Licensures by Examination

If you have never taken and passed the national licensure exam to provide professional counseling services, you will select the Licensure by Examination option. This is required for both the and LPC license as long as you meet all of the requirements for the respective license.

Along with the application for either an APC or LPC license, the required documents you will need to submit include:

• Official College Transcripts

• Practicum-Internship Verification

• Affidavit of Citizenship

• Secure & Verifiable Document

• Verification of license in a different state

• Two professional references

• Background consent

• Disciplinary Action or Sanction with court documents and Letter of Explanation, if applicable

• Immigration documents, if applicable

For the APC, you will also need to include a Contract Affidavit as proof of your direct supervision experience. Additional documentation for the LPC includes forms for Post-Master’s Directed Experience Verification and Post-Master’s Supervision Verification.

APC and LPC Licensures by Exam Waiver

The Exam Waiver application option is for anyone who has taken the national licensure examination but has never received a license. You will also need to meet all requirements in Georgia for an APC or LPC. Supporting documents are the same as the licensure by examination:

• Official College Transcripts

• Practicum-Internship Verification

• Affidavit of Citizenship

• Secure & Verifiable Document

• Verification of license in a different state

• Two professional references

• Background consent

• Disciplinary Action or Sanction with court documents and Letter of Explanation, if applicable

• Immigration documents, if applicable

Include the contract Affidavit with an APC application package. The Post-Master’s Directed Experience and Post-Master’s Supervision Verification forms are required with the LPC application package.


You can hold an unencumbered counselor license in a different jurisdiction or state and still apply for one in Georgia through the Endorsement process. As long as the license is current, you can complete, sign and notarize the application and submit it with the following documentation:

• Affidavit of Citizenship

• Background consent form, if applicable

• Disciplinary Action or Sanction with court documents and Letter of Explanation, if applicable

• Immigration documents, if applicable

• Official transcripts from college

• Passing Score Report for the National exam

• Practicum-Internship verification

• Two professional references

An associate level licensure does not qualify for an Endorsement license.

Inactive Status

If you do not plan to practice counseling in Georgia with a current unencumbered license, you may request an Inactive status. This category is not available for APC licenses.

Disability Accommodations

The Georgia Professional Licensing Boards Division complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in providing reasonable accommodations to exam candidates with disabilities.

Designated vendors ensure candidates can complete the licensure exam in a space that does not interfere with the candidate’s disability. If needed, you may request an accommodation by submitting an application and supporting documentation to the Board or designated vendor.

Veteran’s Preference Points

Georgia offers a Veteran’s Preference Points program that issues exam point credits. This program also provides an expedited application process. You may be eligible if you fall into one of the following categories:

• Veterans

• Military service members

• Transitioning service members

• National Guard service members

• Military spouses of the US armed forces and National Guard

To claim this program, you need to include a DD-214 form that shows your service during a war or conflict for at least 90 days.

Continuing Education Requirements

Renewing your professional counseling APC or LPC license in Georgia requires completing 35 continuing education hours within the biennial licensure cycle. At least five hours must be professional ethics CEs from synchronous activities related to any of the specialties of social work, marriage and family therapy or counseling.

For the remaining 30 hours, you must complete a minimum of 15 hours in core competencies. Education activities require that instructors and participants be present at the same time either online or in person. Acceptable learning formats include:

• Discussions

• Lectures

• Presentations

• seminars

In-person synchronous activities require participants to remain present for the entire time of the lecture or workshop. If you attend a webinar to satisfy CE requirements, the presentation or lecture must allow full participation between you and the presenter.

For video conferencing, you should be able to communicate as if you were in the same location as other participants and the presenter. Online activities must allow a Q&A component. Answers must occur instantly via instant messaging or face-to-face.

Maintain all paperwork related to the continuing education credits you earn. You will need to submit documented proof if you are selected for a random audit.

Counselor Salary in Georgia

Part of learning how to become a counselor in Georgia is also knowing the salary expectations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has the average annual wages for different counseling careers. Wages from May 2021 are as follows:

• Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors – $60,120

• Marriage and Family Therapists – $58,840

• Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor –


• Rehabilitation Counselors – $51,780

• Counselors, all others – $57,720

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?