Licensed Associate Counselor & Licensed Professional Counselor
The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to satisfy the educational requirements for admission to the counselor examination. It also satisfies the academic requirements of the State Board of Professional Counselor Examiners for licensure as a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Below is information regarding the educational requirements, examination requirements, and supervision and application requirements for both the LAC and LPC. Licensure regulations may change each year, so please be sure to check the New Jersey State Board website for updates.
The educational requirements to become a licensed mental health counselor include 60 graduate semester hours in a planned program of study leading to a degree in counseling. Forty five of these hours must be distributed in at least eight of the following nine areas* (below are the nine core areas and examples of how courses in the MS program could be distributed across these areas).
Note: This is only an example. You are encouraged to work closely with your advisor. Please view a sample course worksheet here.
- Counseling Theory and Practice – PC 525 Theories of Counseling, PC 530 Crisis Intervention, PC 540 Intro to Drug and Alcohol Counseling
- The Helping Relationship – PC 526 Case Conceptualization, PC 523 Intro to Counseling Skills
- Human Growth and Development and Maladaptive Behavior – PC 515 Human Development Through the Lifespan, PC 512 Psychopathology
- Lifestyle and Career Development – PC 570 Career Counseling
- Group Dynamics, Processing, Counseling, and Consulting – PC 550 Group Counseling
- Appraisal of Individual – PC 506 Testing and Assessment in Counseling
- Social and Cultural Foundations – PC 529 Multicultural Counseling
- Research and Evaluation – PC 603 Research Methods in Counseling
- The Counseling Profession – PC 505 Mental Health Counseling
* To meet the 45-credit requirement, students will take the 39 credits of required courses above, as well as 6 credits of elective courses in any of the nine core areas. Students are encouraged to work closely with their advisor.
Students can choose from four different specialization areas by working with their advisor and selecting electives specific to the area of their choice. The four specialization areas are as follows:
- Alcohol & Drug Counseling
- Spirituality & Counseling
- Child & Family Counseling
- Ecotherapy *NEW*
Students in the M.S. program typically take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) during their last semester.
Supervised Experience (Post-Graduation)
Once the state board has processed the LAC application (see Application Process), LACs will need to work under supervision until they have acquired the requisite hours for the LPC. The number of hours depends on educational level. With a master’s degree, LACs need 4,500 hours of supervised experience. For those with thirty additional hours of counseling coursework beyond a master’s degree, 3,000 hours of supervised experience will be sufficient. Practicum and internship experiences completed during the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can be applied toward the LPC (up to a maximum of 1,500 hours). Students in the M.S. who take the required practicum and two internships earn at least 700 hours (100 hours during practicum, 600 hours across two internships). It is recommended that you retain a copy of your practicum and internship hours logs for later submission to the board as part of your counseling experience.
LACs must work under a qualified supervisor, who will probably be a different person than any administrative supervisor, as the board has identified the employer-employee relationship as a potential conflict of interest. A clinical supervisor may be hired if necessary.
As of October 5, 2011, it is expected that supervisors will have a credential in supervising or have completed at least three graduate credits in clinical supervision.
LACs may take up to six years completing the supervision requirements. LACs must retain all documentation from their supervised experience.
LACs may not engage in independent practice or receive fees directly from clients.
When you have completed your requirements as a LAC and are seeking a licensing letter to pursue your LPC, please contact Matthew Tirrell, Director of Field Placement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAC/LPC Application Process
The same application form is used whether applying for licensure as an LAC or LPC. Filling out the form is also the first step in getting authorization to take the NCE licensing exam.
Applicants will answer a number of questions regarding personal information. Question areas include Citizenship/Immigration Status, Student Loans, Child Support, Medical Conditions, and others. Make sure to select the appropriate license application category (LAC or LPC). Applicants must provide educational information and complete a course worksheet based on the nine core areas. For the LPC only, applicants will also need to complete the professional experience section.
Prior to submitting application materials, applicants should read N.J.S.A. 45:8B-34 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 13:34-10.1 et seq. These are the rules and regulations LACs and LPCs are held to, and applicants will be signing a notarized affidavit that they have read the regulations and understand that they are bound to them.
Applicants will attach a 2 by 2 passport-quality photo and include an official transcript or request it and have it sent separately. The application will include a box to check if the transcript will arrive separately.
Completing the application for the LAC or LPC includes a nonrefundable application fee of $75. Additionally, there is a licensing fee of $250 for professional counselors (LPC) and $180 for those with associate status (LAC). Those submitting their initial application in the second year of the two-year cycle, however, will only be charged half of that.
With an emphasis on personal as well as professional development, Monmouth University’s Department of Professional Counseling provided me the knowledge, skills, and self-awareness needed to practice ethically, confidentially, and independently. The unwavering support and supervision I received from the faculty aided me bridging the gap between psychological theories and their professional application.
Erica Lee Lapid, M.S. ’12, Private Practice Clinician
Ecotherapy Specialization – Counseling with Nature
Ecotherapy is defined as contact with nature as a method or element of counseling and addresses the critical fact that as humans we are interwoven with the natural world. Ecotherapists seek to develop and understand ways of expanding the emotional connection between clients and the natural world within the counseling context, thereby assisting individuals with developing sustainable lifestyles and remedying alienation from nature.
Ecotherapy includes a wide range of techniques such as wilderness therapy, forest bathing, equine therapy, animal-assisted therapy, horticultural therapy, biophilic design and green therapy. Students in this specialization will obtain a firm understanding of the theoretical constructs of Ecopsychology, demonstrate a model of EcoWellness, and obtain applicable skills in Ecotherapy.
In order to receive this specialization, students will have to complete:
- Ecotherapy: Counseling with Nature (taught by Dr. Megan Delaney in the fall semester);
- Practicum or Internship in Ecotherapy (first or second site placement); and
- Adventure Based Ecotherapy – including a 10 day backing trip in partnership with the Colorado Outward Bound School (taught by Dr. Megan Delaney in summer E)