How to become a Counselor in Virginia
Learn how to earn your counseling licensure in VA
Click on the link that best describes your current situation...
Below are basic guidelines for those wishing to earn their counseling certification in Virginia. Most requirements such as earning your Master's degree, completing 3000 hours of supervised experience and passing the Clinical Mental Health Counseling examination have been and will continue to be mandatory in the Virginia counseling licensure process. However, it is wise to contact the Virginia Board of Counseling at (804) 376-4610 to make sure you are on the right track.
I'm a High School Graduate...
Becoming a successful Virginia counselor requires two basic virtues, sincere caring and discipline. While sincere interest in another's welfare requires years of maturity and the ability to empathize, you are already showing great amounts of discipline by researching Virginia counseling certification requirements.
Virginia counseling licensure requires that all applicants possess a minimum of a master's level of education. The next step for you is to begin acquiring a college education.
You can either begin by enrolling in an associate's degree program or enroll immediately in a four year bachelor's degree program.
Click on the links below to browse schools offering psychology and counseling degree programs!
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...
After the completion of your bachelor's degree, you will need to consider how you will begin specializing as you research master's or doctoral programs in counseling or psychology fields. Virginia counseling certification requires all applicants possess a minimum of a master's level of education.
Click on the links below to contact schools offering Master's or PhD programs in counseling or related field.
- Capella University - Master's of Science in Human Services (HS) - Mental Health Counseling (CACREP Accredited)
- Grand Canyon University - Master's in Addiction Counseling and Master's in Professional Counseling
- Liberty University - Master's and PhD programs in Professional Counseling and Pastoral Counseling
Or request information from additional schools offering counseling programs in Virginia.
Make sure the schools you contact provide the appropriate experience requirements for Virginia counseling licensure. Information regarding supervision requirements can be found on the following Virginia Board of Counseling webpage.
You will need to register your supervisory contract with the Virginia Board of Counseling, including proof of either the education program you're enrolled in or the completion of your degree program. Once these items have been submitted, you can begin the required 4000 hours of supervised work experience(2000 of these hours will need to be in direct client contact).
You will find more information regarding experience requirements and supervisor qualifications on the following Virginia Board of Counseling webpage (the easiest way to find indepth information regarding these requirements is on the actual licensure applications).
Now, you can submit the Virginia counseling licensure application to the Board, including all supporting forms and fees (transcripst must be sent directly from your educational institution).
You can download the application off the following Virginia Board of Counseling webpage.
Once the Board has evaluated and approved your application for Virginia counseling certification, you will be notified of your eligibility to take the written National Clinical Mental Health Counselors Examination. Once you have been approved to sit for the examination, you will have two years to take the examination before your eligility will lapse.
More info about the examination can be found on the NBCC website.