Counseling Degrees & Licenses in Louisiana

Working as a counselor in Louisiana is a rewarding career proposition. Not only is the counseling field growing across the nation, it is also growing in Louisiana. Those who pursue a counseling degree and license in Louisiana can be rewarded with myriad job prospects, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022) predicts that this career field will grow 22 percent nationally from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations which sits at five percent. 

The need for counselors, in general, will grow as a growing population seeks mental health counseling. The BLS (2023) predicts the job outlook for rehabilitation counselors to grow 11 percent, and marriage and family therapists to increase 14 percent. 

Louisiana has a population of approximately 4.7 million people, with one out of every 20 adults living with serious mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. And yet, only 55.7 percent of adults with mental illness in Louisiana receive any form of treatment. Louisiana is ranked 35 of the 50 states and Washington DC for providing access to mental health services. Part of the challenge in meeting mental health needs in Louisiana is a lack of access to providers in the rural parts of the state. Reports show only one mental healthcare professional per 400 residents in the state. 

Louisiana, like most other states, requires licensure and certification in order to practice as a counselor. The Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners issues credentials to those who have obtained education from an accredited college or university and passed any state or national certification exams. 

Louisiana licenses two levels of counseling practitioners, a Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor (PLPC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). It offers two for marriage and family therapists: Provisional Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist (PLMFT) and Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist (LMFT). 

To achieve a license as a marriage and family therapist, students must graduate from a COAMFTE-approved (Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education) 60-semester-hour graduate degree program in marriage and family therapy/counseling or a related clinical mental health field from a regionally accredited educational institution. Students applying for a counseling license must earn a 60-semester-hour graduate degree in professional mental health counseling from a regionally-accredited university. 

The Louisiana Department of Education certifies school counselors. Students must have a master’s degree from a CACREP-accredited (Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs) program with either a 100-hour practicum or a 600-hour internship in a school setting. 

Read on to explore the many schools offering programs for counseling degrees and licenses in Louisiana.

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Accredited Counseling Degree Programs in Louisiana

Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge

Louisiana State University is a public university founded in 1853. Known as LSU, the school offers a master of education in counseling designed to prepare students to become Licensed Professional Counselors in Louisiana. 

The MEd allows students to choose from a school counseling specialization or a clinical mental health counseling specialization. Both tracks are 60 credits and are nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and meet the educational requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Louisiana. 

The school also offers a specialist certificate with a concentration in counseling for those who have already earned a master’s degree in school or clinical mental health counseling. 

  • Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Duration: 60 hours 
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: $2,347 per three-credit course

Louisiana State University School of Allied Health Professions 

The Louisiana State University School of Allied Health Professions is a public university with a focus on health science education, including degrees in clinical mental health counseling and clinical rehabilitation counseling. The master of health sciences degree in clinical rehabilitation and counseling program has a practicum and internship experience that lasts a full semester. The practicum is a part-time placement in an agency for a minimum of 100 hours; internship I and II are part-time placements for 300 hours each.

  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana 
  • Duration: 60 credits, part-time options
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: $1,133 per credit 

Louisiana State University – Shreveport

Louisiana State University has campuses throughout the state, including Shreveport and the main campus at Baton Rouge, listed above. The psychology department at the Shreveport campus offers a master of science in counseling program. The program prepares counselors to practice in various settings, including hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers, schools, colleges, universities, rehabilitation facilities, community counseling agencies, court systems, and other settings.   

  • Location: Shreveport, Louisiana 
  • Duration: 60 credits
  • Accreditation: CACREP 
  • Tuition: $1,102.55 per credit 

Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola University New Orleans is a private Jesuit university chartered in 1912. The school’s master of science in counseling program offers two degree tracks and three dual degrees. Students can choose from degree tracks clinical mental health counseling or marriage, couple, and family counseling, and dual degrees master of science in counseling + master of science in criminal justice, master of science in counseling + master of music therapy, or master of pastoral studies + master of science in counseling. 

Upon completing the clinical mental health counseling degree, graduates are eligible to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC). Graduates of the marriage, couple, and family counseling program will have all the courses necessary for licensure as an LPC in the state of Louisiana and will also have all the courses required should they be interested in further pursuing MFT licensure. Each of the dual degrees requires 75 credits. Individually taken, the degrees would require either 90 or 94 credits.

  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Duration: 60 credits; 75 credits, dual degrees
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: $818 per credit plus fees

McNeese State University 

McNeese State University is a public university founded in 1939 as Lake Charles Junior College. It adopted its present name in 1970. McNeese’s Burton College of Education offers a Master of Education (MEd), which prepares students to work with elementary, middle, and high school students. McNeese’s master’s program features extensive field experience guided by expert faculty. School counseling graduate students get critical hands-on experience through a 600-hour internship and 100-hour clinical practicum. 

In addition to the MEd program, which equips students to work in any K-12 school environment,  McNeese’s offers a master of science in clinical mental health counseling program that equips graduates to work as counselors across various environments, such as private and public agencies. The program specializes in individual and group counseling, providing the necessary training for candidates to become licensed professional counselors (LPC). 

  • Location: Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Duration: 48 credits for school counseling, 60 credits for LPC program
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: $4,733.94 per nine-credit semester

Nicholls State University

Nicholls State University is a public university founded in 1948. Nicholls offers a master of arts in clinical mental health counseling (MCMH) program that aims to train professionals to work in mental health settings. The MCMH program meets the standards established by the Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners in the state of Louisiana as well as other states. 

The master of education in school counseling program prepares candidates to work as counselors in school settings. The MESC program meets the standards for certification of school counselors as specified by the Louisiana State Department of Education in Louisiana. Also, it provides training consistent with requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Louisiana as well as other states.

  • Location: Thibodaux, Louisiana
  • Duration: 60 credits
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: $4,667.07 per nine-credit semester

Southeastern Louisiana University

Southeastern Louisiana University is a public university that was founded in 1925 as a junior college. It became a university in 1970. 

The school offers a master of science in counseling degree with three concentrations: clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and marriage, couple, and family counseling. Each of these concentrations leads to an MS degree in counseling. The coursework in all concentrations meets the academic requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Louisiana and most other states. 

After passing the school counseling Praxis exam, school counseling graduates meet the academic requirements to become certified school counselors in Louisiana. A student’s last two semesters consist of a clinical internship at an approved site that requires approximately 30 hours per week. Students are only allowed to take one additional class along with their internship for a maximum of six hours each semester of internships.

  • Location: Hammond, Louisiana
  • Duration: 60 credits
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: $10,852.20 per nine-credit semester 

Southern University and A&M College

Southern University and A&M College is a public school that is the largest historically Black college or university in Louisiana. They offer a 60-credit clinical rehabilitation counseling master’s degree. This program prepares graduates to work with individuals with disabilities to achieve their personal, social, psychological, and vocational goals. Rehabilitation counselors may work in various settings, including rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, universities, schools, and/or government agencies.

  • Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Duration: 60 credits
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: $5,336 full-time per term

University of Louisiana – Lafayette

The University of Louisiana has nine campuses and the second largest enrollment in Louisiana. At the Lafayette and Monroe campuses, the school offers master of science degrees in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. The MFT counseling program at the Monroe campus is accredited by COAMFTE, while the other programs are CACREP accredited. 

All students in the master of science in counselor education program must take nine to 12 credits each semester. After completing the core courses and those for the concentration, students will complete a 600-hour internship in a relevant field. 

  • Location: Lafayette and Monroe, Louisiana 
  • Duration: A total of 60 credits is required for the school counseling concentration; a total of 60 credits is required for the mental health counseling concentration; and a total of 72 credits is required for the dual concentration
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: $11,942 per nine-credit semester

University of Louisiana – Monroe

At the University of Louisiana, Monroe, students can choose from a master of science in counseling with four tracks: school counseling, addiction counseling, clinical mental health counseling, or a combined track. An additional MFT counseling program at the Monroe campus is accredited by COAMFTE, while the other programs are CACREP accredited. 

The master of science in counseling requires 20 courses, typically taking full-time students two years to finish. The school counseling program provides similar training as the clinical mental health track but focuses on the K-12 school setting. Students who pursue a master of science in counseling under the school counseling track may call themselves school counselors and may qualify for School Counselor Certification and LPC licensure. The addiction counseling option also qualifies students for LPC licensure. 

Students who pursue a master of science in counseling under the clinical mental health counseling track may call themselves clinical mental health counselors and qualify for LPC licensure. The combined track allows students to specialize in two of the three tracks offered by the program and prepares graduates to practice in two areas competently. Graduates may refer to themselves as either of the two specializations in which they pursue and qualify LPC licensure and school certification if one of the tracks is school counseling. 

The ULM is one of only a few U.S. universities offering a master of arts MFT program accredited by COAMFTE and is the only one in Louisiana. The master of science in counseling (clinical mental health) degree is available online.

  • Location: Lafayette and Monroe, Louisiana 
  • Duration:  60 credits
  • Accreditation: CACREP and NCATE (counselor education), COAMFTE (marriage and family therapy counseling) 
  • Tuition: $10,590.94 for 12-credit semester

University of New Orleans

The University of New Orleans was founded as a public university in 1956. The school’s counselor education program leads to a master of education degree. Students can choose one of two specializations: clinical mental health counseling or school counseling. 

The clinical mental health counseling concentration prepares graduates to serve as counselors in a variety of community mental health settings, including counseling agencies, business and industry, employee assistance programs, substance abuse treatment programs, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, court systems, and other settings in which counseling or other mental health services are offered. 

The school counseling concentration prepares graduates to serve as counselors in public, charter, parochial, and private schools (pre-K through 12th grade). School counseling students can add counseling to their current Louisiana teaching certificates if they have it, or can qualify for initial certification as a school counselor. 

All master’s degree students complete the requirements to become National Certified Counselors. Upon graduation, master’s degree students are ready to begin their two years of post-master’s degree supervised experience required to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in Louisiana. Field experiences include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour (minimum) internship. Courses are offered in the late afternoons and evenings.

  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana 
  • Duration:  60 credits, full-or part-time options available
  • Accreditation: CACREP 
  • Tuition: $13,678 per year

How Much Do Counselors Make in Louisiana?

These numbers represent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2022—the latest data available as of May 2023.

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors

United StatesLouisiana
Number employed308,0004,940
Average annual salary (mean)$64,200$58,740
10th percentile$38,280$45,560
50th percentile (median)$60,140$61,020
90th percentile$98,530$72,840

Marriage and Family Therapists

United StatesLouisiana
Number employed62,080Data unavailable
Average annual salary (mean)$63,300$41,680
10th percentile$36,840$22,350
50th percentile (median)$56,570$54,050
90th percentile$98,700$66,460

Rehabilitation Counselors

United StatesLouisiana
Number employed82,420270
Average annual salary (mean)$46,020$45,890
10th percentile$28,120$26,430
50th percentile (median)$39,990$38,500
90th percentile$71,270$72,560

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

United StatesLouisiana
Number employed344,9704,810
Average annual salary (mean)$56,230$41,090
10th percentile$34,580$27,290
50th percentile (median)$49,710$36,080
90th percentile$82,71I0$61,510

All Other Counselors

United StatesLouisiana
Number employed37,2701,800
Average annual salary (mean)$49,770$44,600
10th percentile$31,930$29,640
50th percentile (median)$43,390$40,470
90th percentile$75,340$62,920

Counseling Professional Associations & Resources in Louisiana 

  • Louisiana Counseling Association
  • Louisiana State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors
  • Louisiana School Counselor Association
  • Louisiana Mental Health Counselors Association 
  • Louisiana Department of Education
  • Addiction Counselors Organization, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Louisiana Career Development Association 
  • Louisiana Association for Play Therapy
  • Louisiana Association of Addiction and Offender Counselors

Mental Health Counseling (LMHC) Licenses in Louisiana: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners

Louisiana licenses Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Provisional Licensed Professional Counselors (P-LPC).

To become a P-LPC, candidates must submit:

  • Official transcripts demonstrating a master’s degree in counseling of at least 60 semester-hours from a regionally accredited institution with a grade of C or higher. The program must include a 100-hour practicum and a 300-hour supervised internship
  • Completed application
  • $100 application fee
  • A completed Declaration of Practices and Procedures form
  • Fingerprint background check
  • Current photograph

LPCs are required to meet the above requirements in addition to:

  • Passing the AMFTRB exam
  • Sending an updated Declaration of Practices and Procedures form
  • Paying a $200 fee
  • Completing 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work experience—1,900 to 2,900 hours can be direct client contact. A minimum of 100 hours must be in supervision. Applicants may substitute 500 hours of supervision for each 30 semester-hours of graduate studies in counseling completed beyond those required for a master’s degree, up to a maximum of 1,000 hours.

Renewals for counseling licenses are required every other year in Louisiana. The renewal period is from April 1st to June 30th.

Counselors must complete their application, pay the $170 fee, and complete 40 continuing education hours three of which three must be in ethics and six in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment

School Counseling Licenses in Louisiana

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Louisiana Department of Education

The Louisiana Department of Education issues School Guidance Counselor Certifications. The requirements are:

  • Complete a CACREP-accredited master’s in school counseling
  • Complete either a 100-hour practicum or 600-hour internship in school counseling
  • Pass the Praxis School Guidance and Counseling exam
  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay $50 application fee

Certified Louisiana teachers who hold a current certification and have completed a CACRE- accredited master’s in school counseling can simply apply for a certification update in order to work as a school counselor.

School Guidance Counselor Certifications issued in Louisiana are valid for five years. The cost to renew is $25. Counselors must complete 150 hours of continuing education per renewal cycle.

Substance Abuse Counseling Licenses in Louisiana

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Louisiana Addictive Disorder Regulatory Authority

There are four certifications issued by the Louisiana Addictive Disorder Regulatory Authority for substance abuse counselors: Counselor in Training (CIT), Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC), and Registered Addiction Counselor (RAC).

CIT certification candidates must:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Pay $136 application fee
  • Complete a background check
  • Supply three letters of recommendation
  • Complete 180 hours of substance abuse-related education
  • Complete the online application
  • Submit a one-year supervisory plan for supervised work experience
  • Sign the Code of Ethics

RAC certification candidates must:

  • Be 21 years old
  • Have graduated from high school
  • Pay $236 application fee
  • Complete a background check
  • Supply three letters of recommendation and a supervisor evaluation
  • Complete 300 hours of substance abuse-related education; 180 hours must be specifically in substance abuse, six hours must be in ethics, and 114 can be in related education
  • Complete the online application
  • Complete 6,000 hours of work experience, which must include 300 hours of direct supervision in 12 core functions with a minimum of 20 hours in each core function
  • Sign the Code of Ethics
  • Provide a detailed employment history for the past ten years
  • Pass the appropriate IC&RC exam

CAC certification candidates must:

  • Be 21 years old
  • Have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in humans services or behavioral science
  • Pay $236 application fee
  • Complete a background check
  • Supply three letters of recommendation and a supervisor evaluation
  • Complete 300 hours of substance abuse related education; 180 hours must be specifically in substance abuse, six hours must be in ethics, and 114 can be in related education
  • Complete the online application
  • Complete 4,000 hours of work experience, which must include 300 hours of direct supervision in 12 core functions with a minimum of 20 hours in each core function
  • Sign the Code of Ethics
  • Provide a detailed employment history for the past ten years
  • Pass the appropriate IC&RC exam

LAC certification candidates must:

  • Be 21 years old
  • Hold a a mater’s degree in humans services or behavioral science
  • Pay $236 application fee
  • Complete a background check
  • Supply three letters of recommendation and a supervisor evaluation
  • Complete 300 hours of substance abuse related education; 180 hours must be specifically in substance abuse, six hours must be in ethics, and 114 can be in related education
  • Complete the online application
  • Complete 2,000 hours of work experience, which must include 300 hours of direct supervision in 12 core functions with a minimum of 20 hours in each core function
  • Sign the Code of Ethics
  • Provide a detailed employment history for the past ten years
  • Pass the appropriate IC&RC exam

The Louisiana Addictive Disorder Regulatory Authority requires that CIT certifications be renewed annually while LAC, CAC, and RAC must be renewed biennially.

CITs are required to complete 20 hours of continuing education while LACs, CACs, and RACs must complete 48 hours. All certification holders must complete six hours in ethics per renewal cycle. CIT renewals are $75, while LACs, CACs, and RACs are $200.

Rehabilitation Counseling Licenses in Louisiana

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners

Louisiana rehabilitation counselors must be either Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) or Provisional Licensed Professional Counselors (P-LPC).

To become a P-LPC, candidates must submit:

  • Official transcripts demonstrating a master’s degree in counseling of at least 60 semester-hours from a regionally accredited institution with a grade of C or higher. The program must include a 100-hour practicum and a 300-hour supervised internship
  • Completed application
  • $100 application fee
  • A completed Declaration of Practices and Procedures form
  • Fingerprint background check
  • Current photograph

LPCs are required to meet the above requirements in addition to:

  • Passing the AMFTRB exam
  • Sending an updated Declaration of Practices and Procedures form
  • Paying a $200 fee
  • Completing 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work experience—1,900 to 2,900 hours can be direct client contact. A minimum of 100 hours must be in supervision. Applicants may substitute 500 hours of supervision for each 30 semester-hours of graduate studies in counseling completed beyond those required for a master’s degree, up to a maximum of 1,000 hours.

Renewals for counseling licenses are required every other year in Louisiana. The renewal period is from April 1st to June 30th.

Counselors must complete their application, pay the $170 fee, and complete 40 continuing education hours three of which three must be in ethics and six in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Licenses in Louisiana

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Louisiana Behavior Analyst Board

The Louisiana Behavior Analyst Board issues Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) and State Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (SCaBA) licenses.

To qualify, candidates must:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay $400 application fee for LBAs and $250 for SCABA
  • Hold either BCBA or BCaBA certification
  • Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Complete a criminal background check
  • Provide three personal references
  • Pass the Louisiana Jurisprudence Exam
  • Provide proof of supervision (SCaBA candidates only)

LBA and SCABA licenses issued in Louisiana expire annually. LBA licenses cost $200 to renew, while SCaBA licenses cost $125.

LBA license holders must complete 32 hours of continuing education hours every two years and SBABAs must complete 20 hours.

Marriage and Family Therapy Licenses in Louisiana

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners

The Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners credentials Provisional Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (PLMFT) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT).

The requirements for a PLMFT license are:

  • Submit official transcripts demonstrating a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from a COAMFTE-accredited program (or a program that is regionally accredited, with at least 60 semester-hours and a 500-hour practicum)
  • Submit a Practice Setting & Supervisor Data Application for supervised work experience
  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay $200 application fee
  • Provide a completed Declaration of Practices and Procedures form
  • Complete a fingerprint background check
  • Submit a current photograph

LMFTs are required to meet the above requirements in addition to:

  • Pass the AMFTRB exam
  • Submit an updated Declaration of Practices and Procedures form
  • Pay the $325 application fee
  • Complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work experience (at least 1,000 hours must be direct client contact and a minimum of 200 hours must be in supervision)

Renewals for marriage and family therapy licenses are required every other year in Louisiana. The renewal period is from April 1st to June 30th.

Renewal requirements for PLMFTS include:

  • Complete an application
  • Pay the $85 fee
  • Complete 20 continuing education hours (1.5 of which three must be in ethics and 1.5 in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment)

LMFTS renewal include:

  • Complete an application
  • Pay the $170 fee
  • Complete 40 continuing education hours (three of which three must be in ethics and six in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment)

Child (Pediatric) Behavioral Therapy Licenses in Louisiana

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners

Louisiana child therapists must be either Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) or Provisional Licensed Professional Counselors (P-LPC).

To become a P-LPC, candidates must submit:

  • Official transcripts demonstrating a master’s degree in counseling of at least 60 semester-hours from a regionally accredited institution with a grade of C or higher. The program must include a 100-hour practicum and a 300-hour supervised internship
  • Completed application
  • $100 application fee
  • A completed Declaration of Practices and Procedures form
  • Fingerprint background check
  • Current photograph

LPCs are required to meet the above requirements in addition to:

  • Passing the AMFTRB exam
  • Sending an updated Declaration of Practices and Procedures form
  • Paying a $200 fee
  • Completing 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work experience—1,900 to 2,900 hours can be direct client contact. A minimum of 100 hours must be in supervision. Applicants may substitute 500 hours of supervision for each 30 semester-hours of graduate studies in counseling completed beyond those required for a master’s degree, up to a maximum of 1,000 hours.

Renewals for counseling licenses are required every other year in Louisiana. The renewal period is from April 1st to June 30th.

Counselors must complete their application, pay a $170 fee if an LPC and $85 if a P-LPC, and complete 40 continuing education hours three of which three must be in ethics and six in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment

Vanessa Salvia

Vanessa Salvia

Writer

Vanessa Salvia is an Oregon-based freelance writer and editor with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. As fun as rigorous studies in math and science were, Vanessa took an independent path and developed a prolific career covering lifestyle and healthcare topics for magazines and newspapers, important industries such as concrete construction and building waterproofing, and even hard science. You can get in touch at Sage Media and Marketing.