Part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the Michigan Board of Counseling issues two counseling credentials: the Licensed Limited Professional Counselor (LLPC) and the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
The LLPC allows you to engage in the practice of counseling under supervision while you accrue the necessary amount of experience hours to qualify for full licensure as an LPC. The practice of counseling can include the following techniques applied to individuals, organizations, and groups:
- Diagnosing problems
- Facilitating interventions
- Development of treatment, preventative, and rehabilitative plans
- Application of psychotherapy and counseling skills to groups of people
As a fully licensed LPC you’ll be able to engage in these types of activities independently.
Steps Towards Counseling Licensure in Michigan
Becoming an LPC is a process that involves these basic steps:
- Earning a graduate degree in Counseling from a program that’s either accredited by the Council on the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), or that meets specific curriculum, internship, and practicum requirements
- Passing a qualifying exam sponsored by an approved national organization
- Gaining supervised work experience as an LLPC to qualify for the full LPC license
Licensed Limited Professional Counselor (LLPC)
- Fulfill the education requirement. This is a qualifying graduate degree in Counseling, either from a program that’s CACREP-accredited or one that meets specific requirements. Your school needs to submit this form to the Board of Counseling. If your education program is not CACREP-accredited your school must additionally fill out Section 2 of the form.
- Submit an application for LLPC licensure to the Board of Counseling, including an $86.45 fee. Because this is the license you use to accrue hours of supervised experience to qualify for the full LPC license, in your application you must include the name and license number of the LPC who is going to be supervising you. Once the Board of Counseling approves your application and issues your LLPC license you can begin practicing under supervision.
Renewing your LLPC license:
Your LLPC license expires every year. 90 days before it’s set to expire the Board of Counseling will mail you a renewal reminder. Renewals are made online. No continuing education is required for renewal. You must complete the supervised experience requirement to become an LPC within 10 years; the LLPC license is not valid longer than 10 years.
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
- Be an LLPC.
- Complete the supervised work experience requirement. Once you’ve completed this your supervisor will submit this form to the Board of Counseling. The amount of supervised work experience you must accrue depends on your level of education: 1.) If you’ve earned a master’s degree in Counseling you need at least 3,000 hours of post-master’s work experience completed over at least two years. This must include at least 100 hours of supervision accrued in the presence of your supervisor. 2.) If you’ve earned 30 semester credits of graduate study in Counseling beyond a master’s degree in Counseling, such as through a doctoral program, then you must complete 1,500 hours of work experience over at least one year, including at least 50 hours of supervision accrued in the presence of your supervisor.
- Pass a qualifying examination. Passing either one of the following exams will qualify you for the LPC license: 1.)The National Counselor Examination (NCE) sponsored by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). 2.) The exam sponsored by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)
- As of March 2021, all new licensure applicants must have completed training in identifying victims of human trafficking prior to being licensed. If you’re licensed before this date you must obtain this training as a condition of renewing your license.
- Submit an application for LPC licensure to the Board of Counseling, including a $124.30 fee. Once it approves your application it will issue your LPC license.
Renewing your LPC license:
The LPC license expires every three years. The Board of Counseling mails out renewal notices 90 days before it’s set to expire. Renewals are made online, and there are no continuing education requirements.
Required Education and Degrees
The most direct way of fulfilling the education requirement for licensure as an LLPC or LPC is to graduate from a master’s program in Counseling that’s accredited by the Council on the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). You can also fulfill the education requirement with a doctoral degree in Counseling Education and Supervision that’s CACREP-accredited.
Currently Michigan is home to eight schools that offer 25 master’s and doctoral programs that are CACREP-accredited, including two that are offered online.
If you earn a graduate degree that’s not CACREP-accredited then it must be at least 48 semester credits and include coursework in all of the following content areas, in addition to a practicum and qualifying internship:
- Career development
- Counseling theories
- Counseling techniques
- Testing procedures and assessments
- Multicultural counseling
- Research methodology
- Professional ethics
- Group techniques
- Counseling philosophy
How Long Does it Take to Become a Counselor in Michigan?
It takes approximately eight years to qualify for the LPC license. This breaks downs as:
- Four years to earn a bachelor’s degree
- Two years to earn a master’s degree in Counseling and qualify for the LLPC license
- Two years as an LLPC gaining supervised experience to qualify for full LPC licensure
The Michigan Board of Counseling grants LLPC and LPC licenses via endorsement if you’ve held an equivalent license in another state and been practicing for at least five years. Have your out-of-state Board of Counseling send official verification of your license to the Michigan Board of Counseling, including a record of any disciplinary measures you’ve had.
Practicums and Internships
The education program you use to fulfill the education requirement for licensure must include a practicum and internship. The internship must include at least 600 hours of supervised clinical experience in counseling. Programs that are CACREP-accredited automatically include practicums and internships that fulfill this requirement.
The Michigan Board of Counseling accepts either of the following exam as qualifying you for LPC licensure:
- The National Counselor Examination (NCE) sponsored by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
- The exam sponsored by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)
Both exams are multiple-choice and taken on a computer at any number of testing locations throughout the state and nation. You can find more information about each exam through:
In 2020 the US Department of Labor reported the following average annual salary statistics for different counseling careers, specifically for Michigan:
- Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors – $57,470
- Marriage and Family Therapists – $44,610
- Rehabilitation Counselors – $40,360
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor – $48,580
- Counselors, all others – $38,650
- Occupational Therapists – $78,010
- Therapists, all other – $60,150
Types of Counseling Careers
From a total of 23,090 professionals working in the careers listed above, proportionately in Michigan they are as follows, according to figures from the US Department of Labor:
- 32% are Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors
- 31% are Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
- 20% are Occupational Therapists
- 16% are Rehabilitation Counselors
- 1% are Marriage and Family Therapists
- 1% are Counselors, all others
- 1% are Therapists, all others
Michigan Counseling Association (MCA) – With roots stretching back to 1963, this non-profit professional and education organization has a long-standing history of service devoted to counseling, including professional development, legislative advocacy, and social change. Members enjoy networking opportunities and options for leadership positions.
Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association (MMHCA) – With the ultimate goal of promoting mental health throughout the entire state community, the MMHCA works to empower and develop the mental health counseling profession. Members have advantages like access to the latest public policy initiatives, workshops and trainings, and extensive opportunities for professional networking.
Michigan School Counselor Association (MSCA) – By strengthening the competencies and identity of professional school counselors, the MSCA strives to promote academic excellence throughout the state in this specialized occupation. This organization offers scholarships and free annual events for its loyal members.
Michigan Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (MACES) – With an eye towards the future and the possibility that continuing education may become a requirement for LPCs, MACES is positioning itself to be at the forefront of just such a development. It stays abreast of the newest legislative changes relating to practice as an LLPC or LPC, and provides resources for supervision opportunities plus optional professional development.
Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling (MACAC) – Founded in 1970, MACAC’s average annual membership is around 1,100 professionals. Membership is comprised of people like independent counselors, school counselors, and financial aid officers. This organization offers benefits like an annual conference, gatherings throughout the state, searchable member directories, and even a mentorship program.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – Perhaps the state agency best known to counselors, the DHHS runs programs throughout Michigan that address important issues like mental health, developmental disabilities, child welfare, substance abuse, chronic diseases, and much more.
Holy Cross Services – This non-profit organization based in Saginaw provides vitally important services to some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. These include services that address issues like substance use disorder, homelessness, child welfare, and behavioral health. It offers a host of behavioral health options from offices in Bay City, Saginaw, Lansing, and Mt. Morris.
Memorial Healthcare – Providing services that cover dozens of areas of medical expertise from 60 locations throughout Michigan, this healthcare provider is a familiar name for many. Behavioral health is one of its areas of expertise, including services based out of the Behavioral Health Unit that treat issues ranging from depression and severe anxiety to psychosis and anger management.
Detroit Behavioral Institute – As Detroit’s leading residential treatment center for teens aged 12-19 struggling with mood and behavioral disorder issues, this organization offers treatment for disorders like depression, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, self-harm, PTSD, anxiety, and much more.
Henry Ford Health System – With dozens of locations based around the Jackson and Detroit areas, this healthcare provider specializes in services that range from addiction medicine and autism to wellness coaching and yoga. Behavioral health services include specialized care for children and teens, mental health outpatient psychiatric care, inpatient services, and addiction treatment.