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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.