Licensed Professional Counselor

What they do:

Licensed professional counselors (LPCs) diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, including addictive disorders. They can work with individuals, families and/or groups to treat various mental, behavioral, and emotional problems and disorders. They may use psychoeducation techniques to prevent various disorders, provide consultations to individuals, couples, families, groups and organizations. LPCs can also be involved in research into more effective therapeutic modalities.  


  • Completing a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling from a national or regionally-accredited institution of higher education, including an internship and coursework on human behavior and development, effective counseling strategies, ethical practice, and other core knowledge areas;

  • Logging a minimum of 3,000 post-master’s supervised clinical experience, performed within 2 years, and periodic continuing education classes/hours after receiving licensure;

  • Passing the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or a similar state-recognized exam;

  • Strictly adhering to the Code of Ethics and recognized standards of practice that the state’s counselor licensure board regulates. 

What they make:

The salary range of an LPC in the United States is generally $50,000 - $83,000, with an average salary of $67,211. How much an LPC earns can depend on factors such as years in practice, geographic location and work setting.

Where they work:

  • Community mental health centers

  • Mental health agencies and organizations

  • Managed care organizations

  • Hospitals


As population numbers rise, the demand for qualified counselors continues to grow. Counselors are needed to provide services in a number of different areas, including education, veteran services, substance abuse, marriage and family therapy, rehabilitation, just to name a few.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for counselors is strong, specifically for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors. The job outlook for marriage and family therapists is also strong. Employment of marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Updated February 2021