How to Become a Counselor in Indiana Begin a counseling career in Indiana

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How do you become a counselor in Indiana? It requires education, training, and dedication. Once licensed, counselors can significantly impact the lives of individuals, families, and communities. With this guide, you can explore the requirements to become a licensed counselor in Indiana, including the necessary counseling therapy coursework, supervision hours, and continuing education requirements. Along with that, you can learn about the different types of licenses, the fees, and the salaries associated with counseling.

Whether you are just starting your journey towards becoming a counselor or are a seasoned professional, find out about these latest requirements, licensure regulations, and job outlook predictions for Indiana licensed counselors.

Types of Counselor Licenses in Indiana

Do you want to know how to become a counselor in Indiana? There are several types of counselor licenses issued by the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board. They include:

  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) gives the holder the credentials to provide mental health counseling services to individuals, families, and groups.
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) allows the holder to provide marriage and family therapy services to couples and families.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) holders can conduct clinical social work with individuals, families, and groups.
  • Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) allows the holder to provide substance abuse counseling services to individuals, families, and groups.
  • Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) holders can provide clinical addiction counseling services to individuals, families, and groups.

Each license has different requirements and qualifications. You will want to research which certification suits your career goals and educational background.

Instruction Required for Counselor Licensure in Indiana

There are specific educational and training requirements that should be met. You must have a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field from a regionally accredited institution. The degree program must include a minimum of 48 semester hours of graduate coursework in counseling, including courses in counseling theories, techniques, and ethics.

Specific coursework is needed to meet the educational requirements for licensed counselors in Indiana. Once again, all the coursework must be completed as part of a master’s or doctoral degree program in counseling or a related field from a regionally accredited institution. The required coursework for a licensed counselor includes the following:

  • Counseling Theories cover various counseling methods, including humanistic, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral theories.
  • Counseling Techniques outlines therapy methods, such as cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused, and family systems therapy.
  • Human Growth and Development explores individuals’ physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development.
  • Assessment and Diagnosis explains how these tools are used in counseling, including psychological testing, clinical interviewing, and observation.
  • Ethics and Professional Issues examines all the ethical and legal issues involved with counseling, including confidentiality, informed consent, and boundaries.
  • Group Counseling focuses on issues involving mental health within a group setting, including the dynamics of group therapy and the skills necessary for effective group facilitation.
  • Practicum and Internship involves supervised clinical experience working with clients in counseling.

However, coursework is not the only requirement for a license. All applicants need to complete a minimum of 700 hours of supervised clinical experience during the graduate program, including a minimum of 100 hours of face-to-face counseling with clients. This experience must be completed under the supervision of a licensed counselor, psychologist, or another mental health professional who meets the requirements set by the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board.

The coursework required for licensure as a counselor in Indiana may vary depending on the specific program and the type of counseling license an individual pursues.

State Specific Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for counselor licensure in Indiana, state-specific requirements must be met. These requirements include:

  • Supervision Requirements: Indiana requires a student to have post-graduate supervised experience under a licensed mental health counselor, clinical social worker, or family therapist. The supervisor must have at least two years of post-licensure experience and meet other requirements established by the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board.
  • Continuing Education Requirements: Indiana requires licensed counselors to complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years, including at least two hours of ethics training. The continuing education must be completed by an approved provider and must be related to the counselor’s scope of practice.
  • Background Check: Indiana requires all counselor licensure applicants to undergo a state and national criminal background check.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Indiana does not require licensed counselors to carry professional liability insurance, but it is recommended to protect against potential lawsuits.
  • Scope of Practice: The scope of practice for counselors in Indiana includes assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. All licensed individuals can provide counseling and therapy to individuals, couples, families, and groups.

Supervision Hours

Before future counselors can help others, they must be supervised in the field. During this time, the supervisor can see whether the counselor applies all their knowledge and skills correctly in these sessions. Remember that working with patients is different than studying in a classroom.

To become a counselor in Indiana, you need to complete at least two years of post-graduate supervised experience. The supervisor must have at least two years of post-licensure experience and must fulfill other requirements set by the board.

During the supervised experience, you must complete a minimum of 3,000 hours under supervision, with a minimum of 1,500 hours of direct client contact. The remaining hours can be allocated toward administrative or other related tasks. It is mandatory to complete the supervision hours within two years after graduation. After completing the required hours, you must submit proof of your supervised experience and licensure application to the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board.


You must pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NBCC sets the passing score for both exams.

Licensure and Fees

Once you have met all the requirements, you can apply for licensure. The fees associated with counselor licensure in Indiana include the following:

  • Application Fee: The application fee for counselor licensure in Indiana is $100.
  • Examination Fees: The National Counselor Examination (NCE) fee is $275, and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) fee is $295. These fees are paid directly to the testing company.
  • License Fee: The initial license fee for counselors in Indiana is $50, and the renewal fee is $50 every two years.
  • Late Fee: If you fail to renew your license on time, there is a late fee of $50.
  • Reinstatement Fee: If your license has lapsed, you can reinstate it by paying a reinstatement fee of $150 in addition to any other fees that may be required.

Continuing Education Requirements

Indiana licensed counselors are required to complete continuing education (CE) courses as a condition of license renewal. The CE requirements for licensed counselors in Indiana are as follows:

  • Number of Hours: Licensed counselors must complete 40 hours of CE every two years. At least 20 of these hours must be completed in formal, face-to-face courses or workshops.
  • Approved Providers: CE courses must be provided by an approved provider, which includes the American Counseling Association (ACA), National Board for Certified Counselors, Indiana Counseling Association (ICA), and other organizations approved by the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board.
  • Content Areas: CE courses must be in the areas of counseling theory and practice, human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, helping relationships, group counseling and group work, career and lifestyle development, assessment and testing, research and program evaluation, and professional orientation and ethics.
  • Record-Keeping: Licensed counselors must keep records of their completed CE courses for a period of three years after the end of the renewal cycle.
  • Audit: Licensed counselors are subject to random audits of their CE records. The counselor must provide proof of completion of the required CE courses if audited.

Counselor Salary in Indiana

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for mental health counselors in Indiana is $48,520 as of 2021. The lowest 10% earned less than $30,870, while the highest 10% earned more than $77,980.

The salary for counselors in Indiana can vary based on a number of factors, including experience, education, location, and type of employer. Counselors in urban cities tend to earn more than those in rural areas. Also, those with advanced degrees or specialized certifications may earn higher salaries.

In addition to salary, many counselors in Indiana receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. The specific benefits offered can vary based on the employer and the counselor’s employment status, such as working as a full-time, part-time, or contract professional. After years of working for a medical group or other health-related agencies, many licensed counselors open their own practices, which can lead to an additional boost in salary expectations.

Becoming a licensed counselor in Indiana requires completing the necessary education and supervised experience, passing the required exams, and submitting an application to the state licensing board. In any situation, you will want to carefully review the requirements and regulations to ensure eligibility and compliance throughout the process.

Maintaining ongoing education and professional development is essential for keeping current licensure and providing quality care to clients. With dedication and perseverance, individuals can successfully obtain their counselor license in Indiana and pursue a fulfilling career in the mental health field.

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?