Mental health counseling is a rewarding and meaningful career that allows you to make a lasting impact on people’s lives. But becoming a licensed counselor is not for the faint of heart or for those looking to get into their field instantaneously. Becoming a counselor is a long haul. It is a journey that requires dedication, hard work, and precision in following a long list of requirements. If you’re an Indiana resident, you’ll need to know specifically how to become a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Indiana. But look no further — we’ve compiled a list of educational, clinical, and examination requirements all in one centralized location on how to become a therpist in Indiana. Although the process may seem complex, for those who are called to this purposeful vocation, we assure you, it is worth it.
The first step to becoming a licensed counselor in Indiana is getting the right education. The state of Indiana requires a master’s degree or a doctorate degree. A master’s degree must have at least 48 semester hours, and a doctoral degree must have at least 96. According to the Indiana State Code, the curriculum you complete as part of a graduate counseling program must also focus on the following:
Human Growth & Development
Social & Cultural foundations of counseling
Helping Relationships – Counseling Theory & Practice
Group Dynamics, Processes, Counseling, and Consultation
Lifestyle and Career Development
Assessment & Appraisal of Individuals
Research and Program Evaluation
Professional Orientation & Ethics
Foundations of Mental Health Counseling
Contextual Dimensions of Mental Health Counseling
Knowledge and Skill for the Practice of Mental Health Counseling & Psychotherapy
Supervised Clinical Experience
The graduate program you choose must also include 1,000 hours of supervised practicum and internship experiences in a counseling setting. During your practicum and internships, you will have at least 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. In Indiana, the following types of licensed mental health professionals are considered acceptable supervisors:
Licensed Mental Health Counselors
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists
Clinical Nurse Specialist in Psychiatry or Mental Health Nursing
Licensed Clinical Social Workers
Once you graduate, you will need an additional 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience before you can qualify to take the examination. This practice must be completed within a four-year time period, and cannot be fulfilled in less than 21 months. During this period of post-masters supervision, you’ll need 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. It’s important that you ensure that your supervisors verify your experience, and then have that verification notarized.
Taking the Examination
You must receive a passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) for becoming a licensed counselor in Indiana. The NCMHCE tests aspiring counseling professionals on matters of assessment, diagnosis, counseling, psychotherapy, administration, consultation, and supervision. Exam takers must submit an application packet to the Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board. You’ll need verification of your educational coursework and supervised clinical experience.
If you are becoming a licensed counselor, you should be aware of the following fees:
$50 – Application Fee
$50 – License Renewal Fee
You’ll need to renew your license every other year. During this time, 40 hours of continuing education are required, 20 of which must be what the board considers “formal programming” which includes workshops, seminars, symposia, and home-study programs. At least one of these hours must be focused on ethics. The renewal process ensures that the field maintains a level of professionalism and excellence.
Get Started with Grace College Online
If you are ready to begin the process of becoming a licensed mental health counselor, the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) at Grace College Online is a great option. This 60 credit-hour, online program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). You’ll complete the majority of your coursework fully online and attend annual residency on campus in Winona Lake, Indiana.
In this program, you’ll develop key psychotherapy and counseling competencies as you work toward your career goals. The combination of theoretical and practical learning will give you the strong background you need for success. Discover what the online CMHC program at Grace can mean for your future.