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How to become an independently licensed counselor in Illinois

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

There are two levels of counselor licenses in Illinois, however, only one of them allows you to practice independently.


LPC is a basic, entry-level counselor license attainable by those graduating with a master’s in counseling. Check out this blog post for more details.


LCPC is the full clinical counselor license that will allow you to practice independently, supervise, operate your own practice, and generally do a lot more with your counseling career.


One of the major perks of having an LCPC is not having to work under anyone. For those therapists who are eager to practice independently, obtaining the LCPC license would be the condition to make your dream come true.


While you will qualify for the Illinois LPC application immediately after graduating with master’s in counseling, qualifying for the LCPC application may take up to two years of post-master’s clinical practice. Additionally, supervision is required prior to your LCPC license.


Below I illustrate the basic steps towards the Illinois LCPC. For the most specific requirements, always consult with the governing body of the license you are pursuing. For applicants seeking the Illinois LCPC license, the governing body of the license is the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations.

  1. For more information, go to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations website.

  2. To see the application, check out this form. Look over all the requirements in the application form and start compiling your LCPC to-do list, including applying for your official transcript from your school.

  3. Start studying for the NCE by getting this book: Encyclopedia of Counseling: Master Review and Tutorial for the National Counselor Examination, State Counseling Exams, and the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination.

  4. There are many exam prep resources on the market for NCMHCE. Personally I have done both the NCMHCE workshops and online practice exams. The NCMHCE is an exam you have to learn how to take. Do your research and use available resources.

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