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How to become a Counselor in Washington

Learn how to earn your counseling licensure in WA

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

Below are basic guidelines for those wishing to earn their counseling certification in Washington. 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 Washington counseling licensure process. However, it is wise to contact the Washington State Department of Health at (360) 236-4700 to make sure you are on the right track.

I'm a High School Graduate...

With a changing economic landscape and continuously advancing methods of counseling in virtually all fields, Washington counselors are in increasing demand. The most successful counselors in the industry are those who have the greatest motivation and discipline. As a high school graduate researching Washington counseling certification requirements, you are demonstrating a high level of both motivation and discipline.

Since Washington state counselors are required to have at least a master's level of education, you should use your motivation and discipline to begin advancing your current level of education.

You can either begin by enrolling in an associate's degree program or enrolling 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...

Washington counseling licensure requirements state that all qualified applicants must possess a minimum of a master's level of education. Your next step is to learn how you can enroll in a counseling master's degree program.

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 Counseling Schools in Washington.

Make sure the schools you contact provide the appropriate experience requirements for Washington counseling licensure. Information regarding supervision requirements can be found on the following Washington State Legislature webpage.

Step Two:

After you have completed your degree program, you will need to earn 3000 hours of supervised work experience in a period of no less than 3 years. At least 1200 of these hours will need to be in direct client contact. More details and information about qualifying supervisors can be found on the following Washington State Legislature webpage.

Step Three:

Next, you will need to submit an application for Washington counseling certification to the Washington State Department of Health. You will need to carefully read the checklist accompanying the application to make sure you have included all the necessary documents and fees. You will need to make sure the Washington State Department of Health receives official transcripts from your educating institutions.

You may download the application here.

Step Four:

Once your Washington counseling licensure application has been reviewed, and subsequently approved, you will be notified of your eligibility to sit for the National Certification Examination or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination. Both are administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors.

Information about both exams can be found on the NBCC website.

Good Luck!


Washington Counseling Certificate Programs
Note: This list contains online and campus schools that accept students from Washington.
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
            • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
            • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
            • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year
            • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
            • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
            • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
            • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
            • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
            • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
            • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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            • Online Courses
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
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            4 Program(s) Found
            Saybrook University , Online (campus option available)
            • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify
            • Features several learning model options, including online, residency, and hybrid options
            • Offers graduate degree programs in organizational leadership, mind-body medicine, psychology and human science
            • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
            • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California
            • Online Courses
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
            • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
            • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
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            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Online Courses
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            1 Program(s) Found
            • Partnerships with thousands of companies
            • Alliances with many national industry associations
            • Personalized career guidance
            • Job market research tools to help you explore your career of interest
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
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            1 Program(s) Found
            • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
            • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
            • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
            • Michigan's largest independent college.
            • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
            • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
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            • Accredited
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            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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            • Online Courses