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How to become a Counselor in Illinois

Learn how to earn your counseling licensure in IL

Click on the link that best describes your current situation...

Below are basic guidelines for those wishing to earn their counseling certification in Illinois. Most requirements such as earning your Master's degree, completing 3000 hours of supervised experience and passing the NCE examination have been and will continue to be mandatory in the Illinois counseling licensure process. However, it is wise to contact the Illinois Board of Professional Counseling Licensure at (217) 782-8556 to make sure you are on the right track.

I'm a High School Graduate...

As a high school graduate, there's no better time to begin looking into Illinois counseling certification requirements and researching the counseling career.

The next step you should be taking right now is to enroll yourself in either an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Regardless of whether you end up becoming a counselor or not, a college degree is vital for career advancement in most every industry.

Click on the links below to browse schools offering programs in psychology or counseling.

Once you have enrolled in a program, take advantage of your school's career services department and learn how you can find employment or volunteer opportunities that are related to the counseling career path.

I've already received my Bachelor's degree...

Once you have your bachelor's degree, you will need to find a school offering a master's or doctoral degree program in counseling.

Step One:

Click on the links below to contact schools offering Master's or PhD programs in counseling or related field.

Or request information from additional schools offering counseling programs in Illinois.

Step Two:

If you have your masters, you will need to complete 2 years of supervised experience after you have received your degree. If you earned your doctoral degree, you will also need to complete 2 years of supervised experience; however, one year can be done during the doctoral program and can be an internship. The second year must of supervised experience must be completed after earning your degree.

Both degrees require a qualified supervisor and each year of experience should be no more than 1680 hours. For more information regarding supervised experience requirements for Illinois counseling licensure you can visit the following Illinois General Assembly webpage.

Step Three:

Now is a good time to download the Illinois Licensed Clinical Counselor application or Professional Counselors application. The applications have instructions for all documentation indicating all Illinois counseling licensure requirements have been met and necessary fees to be attached.

You can download the necessary application from the following Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations webpage.

Step Four:

The Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation will then review your application. Once your application has been approved, you will then need to download the application for the National Counseling Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCNMHCE) or the Examination of Clinical Counselor Practice (ECCP).

You can acquire these applications and find more information about the exams at the following Continental Testing webpage and the NBCC webpage.


Illinois Counseling Certificate Programs
Note: This list also contains online schools that accept students from Illinois.

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