How to Become a Licenced Mental Health Counsellor

How to Become a Licenced Mental Health Counsellor

Are you a good listener and a problem solver? Are you always eager to help people during difficult times? Do you wish to become a licenced mental health counsellor (LMHC). If your answer is yes, then in this post you will learn how to become a licenced health counsellor.

Licenced Mental Health Counsellor

Who Is a Licenced Mental Health Counsellor?

It could get really confusing trying to navigate through the acronyms linked to mental health counsellors, psychologists, social workers, and therapists. Keep reading to learn about the various occupations and how they are different.

A master’s degree, preferably in mental health counselling, and experience in clinical practice under supervision are requirements for becoming a licenced mental health counsellor (LMHC).

The Department of Labor’s O*NET Online reports that LMHCs frequently serve as counsellors or therapists for individuals struggling with a variety of life challenges.

Clients are evaluated, diagnosed, and helped to set goals and develop a treatment plan.

Although many of them focus on particular age groups or types of mental health concerns, like depression, anxiety, alcoholism/addiction, or trauma, they work with patients of all ages.


When it comes to what they do, licenced professional counsellors (LPC) and licenced mental health counsellors (LMHC) have the same level of education and function, with the only difference being the state they practice in.

LMHC vs. Psychologist

According to the American Psychological Association, psychologists possess a higher level of education than licenced mental health counsellors.

They work as counsellors as well, although they are more likely to specialise in working with people who struggle with more significant mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or schizophrenia.

Depending on the client, they may use a variety of psychological and therapeutic approaches to treat mental illness. Before graduating, psychologists are often required to conduct additional clinical research and have more clinical experience.



The dynamics of relationships between couples and/or families is the area of expertise for a licenced marital and family therapist (LMFT).

Although their scholarly routes are somewhat distinct, LMFTs and LMHCs both possess master’s degrees, such as a master’s in marriage and family therapy.

One key distinction between LMFTs and other mental health professionals is their proficiency and experience in handling several clients at once, such as both partners in a relationship or various members of a family.


Like a licenced mental health counsellor, a licenced clinical social worker (LCSW) will possess a master’s degree in social work, such as a Master’s of Social Work, while the LMHC’s degree will be in psychology.

Both offer mental health care, but LCSWs also serve as a conduit for their clients to reach out to helpful community services. LCSWs frequently concentrate on helping people who are underprivileged or disadvantaged.

Why Get Licenced to Counsel Mental Health?

Take into account that you were hurt in an automobile accident. Your car is broken, you are hurt, and the traffic is backed up. A police officer and a paramedic then show up; they are professionals who are aware of your needs and how to address them. You will soon receive medical attention, have your car hauled, and have safe traffic directed.

The contrast is both accurate and a little dramatic. Licenced medical health counsellors are qualified to help you and are familiar with your situation.


How to Become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in 4 Easy Steps

The four common stages to obtaining an LMHC are given below. Even while this might be a guide, bear in mind that everyone’s experiences are different.

Earn a bachelor’s degree

This usually takes four years, and the degree is most often in sociology or psychology.

Earn a master’s degree

This will normally take two to three years if you are a full-time student.

Obtain training in supervised mental health counselling.

According to the National Board for Certified Counsellors, you will be required by your state to complete a certain number of hours of supervised experience in order to get your mental health counsellor licence.

This lasts for two years or 3,000 hours in the majority of states. It may last up to four years or 1,600–4,000 hours in other states. Verify the particular regulations for the state where you want to operate.

Pass the licence tests for mental health counsellors.

Typically, this will be either the National Clinical Mental Health Counselling Exam (NCMHCE) or the National Counsellor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) (NCMHCE).

A state law and ethics test may also be necessary, which often relates to matters that may differ from state to state, such as reporting child abuse.

Depending on how much time you need to prepare, this might take anywhere from six months to a year.

You might want to consider becoming a certified mental health counsellor if you enjoy supporting people during trying moments.

You will contribute to the healthier and more satisfying lives of individuals who are coping with mental health problems.

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