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The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling was developed to be in line with national standards for licensure. All states require professional counselors to go through a licensing process; however, the specific rules and regulations vary by state. The program may not meet the specific licensure requirements in all states.

In general, the following are required to obtain licensure as a professional counselor:

  • A master’s degree in counseling, including state-specific coursework and supervised clinical experience
  • Passing scores on one or more national and/or state-specific examinations
  • Supervised post-master’s clinical work
  • Demonstration of appropriate fitness to practice counseling

The program prepares students for, but does not guarantee, licensure as a professional counselor. Students are strongly encouraged to contact their state licensing board to determine the requirements needed in the state in which they are seeking licensure prior to beginning any counseling program. For example, some states may have restrictions related to online counseling programs. It is the responsibility of the student to verify the necessary requirements and plan to meet those requirements, if any.

Information about licensure in professional counseling and links to each state’s professional counselor licensure board can be obtained from the American Counseling Association (

There are two national examinations. Some states use the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE), while others require the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). Both exams are offered by the National Board of Certified Counselors. Additional information about the exams, including a state board directory, is available on the NBCC website (