Counseling Degrees & Licenses in North Dakota

Like most states, in order to work as a counselor in North Dakota, applicants must have a master’s degree in counseling. Here, approved master’s degrees at accredited schools have to consist of a minimum of 60 semester-credits (or 90 quarter-hours) related to counseling. Additionally, people applying for a counseling license in North Dakota must have completed a minimum 100-hour counseling practicum and a minimum 600-hour supervised internship.

These requirements closely align with the requirements put forth by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation. CACREP accredits master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling and its specialties in the United States and throughout the world. CACREP certifies all counseling specialties, including rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling, and addiction counseling. CACREP accreditation is often the first thing that employers look for to be sure that the school’s core counseling program meets high-quality, non-arbitrary standards. 

CACREP accreditation is important because it asserts that the program meets a broad range of requirements designed to give the students the highest-quality educational experience. It evaluates a school on its overall learning environment, the level of education of core faculty, and the resources available to the students. To ensure the best chances of success in the field, the student should strongly consider a CACREP-accredited school to receive their counseling degree and license in North Dakota, and in most other states as well. 

Please note that some community colleges in North Dakota offer substance abuse and addiction counseling programs at the bachelor’s degree level. The Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, formerly known as Fort Berthold Community College, is managed by the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation headquarters at New Town, North Dakota. That school’s associate of arts in addiction studies requires 36 general education credits and 29 core required credits for a total of 65 credits. 

Minot State University, in Minot, North Dakota, also offers a bachelor’s degree in addiction studies that requires a total of 66 credits. The University of Mary, a faith-based school in Bismarck, North Dakota, offers an undergraduate addictions counseling minor that requires 33 core credits. 

North Dakota requires licensed marriage and family therapists to have completed a master’s or doctorate degree program approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). As of November 2023, there are no COAMFTE-approved programs in North Dakota. 

The state of North Dakota also offers credentials for a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). 

A 960-hour six-month clinical experience is required for North Dakota Licensure as a substance abuse counselor but is not required for the degree. Graduates who complete their academic requirements are eligible to take the national licensure exam, which is also required by the North Dakota to work as an addictions counselor. 

Read on to discover accredited counseling programs in North Dakota, as well as how to achieve professional licensure and the salary prospects.

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Accredited Counseling Degree Programs in North Dakota

North Dakota State University – School of Education

The North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences is a public research university founded in 1890. The school’s two counselor education programs are CACREP-accredited. 

They also have a CACREP-accredited PhD program in counselor education and supervision. The counselor education program offers either a master of education (MEd) or master of science (MS) in counselor education with program specializations available in school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. The counselor education program meets all credentialing, licensure, and/or certification requirements in the state of North Dakota.

  • Location: Fargo, North Dakota
  • Duration: 60 credits
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: North Dakota resident, $405.18 per credit plus fees; Minnesota resident, $514.58; non-resident, $607.77; international student $709.07

University of Mary 

The University of Mary was founded by the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery in 1959 and continues to sponsor it today. The school welcomes people of all faiths. 

The master of science in clinical mental health counseling degree offers classes mostly online with classes once per week at the Bismarck location or via online video conferencing. Students can complete the program in as little as 20 months on the accelerated track. Students must complete the 43-credit master of science in counseling along with 17 specialization credits for a total of 60 credits. Specializations are available in addiction counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and school counseling. 

  • Location: Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Duration: 60 credits, two years or 20 months (accelerated track) 
  • Accreditation: The University of Mary has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (CACREP accreditation is pending)
  • Tuition: $600 per credit

University of North Dakota 

The University of North Dakota is a public research university that was established by the Dakota Territorial Assembly in 1883, six years before the establishment of the state of North Dakota. The university has the only schools of law and medicine in the state of North Dakota. The school has a master of arts in counseling degree that provides different tracks based on whether the student is in the on-campus program or the online program. 

On-campus tracks: 

  • Addiction counseling
  • Community mental health counseling
  • Child adolescent counseling
  • Rehabilitation counseling

Online tracks:

  • Addiction counseling
  • Community mental health counseling
  • K-12 school counseling
  • Rehabilitation counseling 

The online MA in counseling is approved by the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices for School Counselor Competencies (ESPB).  

  • Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Duration: 60 to 66 credits, depending on the track
  • Accreditation: The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission; the online counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and is pursuing accreditation with the Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council
  • Tuition: North Dakota resident, $479.28 per credit plus fees; Minnesota resident, $608.68; non-resident including Canadian residents who live in Manitoba or Saskatchewan, $718.92; other Canadian residents and international students, $958.56; online tuition is $506.57

How Much Do Counselors Make in North Dakota?

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

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors

United StatesNorth Dakota
Number employed308,000720
Average annual salary (mean)$64,200$57,080
10th percentile$38,280$40,390
50th percentile (median)$60,140$56,680
90th percentile$98,530$79,050

Marriage and Family Therapists

United StatesNorth Dakota
Number employed62,08080
Average annual salary (mean)$63,300$58,050
10th percentile$36,840$35,250
50th percentile (median)$56,570$56,880
90th percentile$98,700$101,560

Rehabilitation Counselors

United StatesNorth Dakota
Number employed100,260Not available
Average annual salary (mean)$40,160$55,460
10th percentile$23,820$50,750
50th percentile (median)$39,950$55,490
90th percentile$63,790$61,430

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

United StatesNorth Dakota
Number employed344,970730
Average annual salary (mean)$56,230$60,710
10th percentile$34,580$45,030
50th percentile (median)$49,710$59,860
90th percentile$82,710$76,450

All Other Counselors

United StatesNorth Dakota
Number employed37,270Not available
Average annual salary (mean)$49,770$66,250
10th percentile$31,930$51,450
50th percentile (median)$43,390$69,220
90th percentile$75,340$77,710

Counseling Professional Associations & Resources in North Dakota

  • North Dakota Counseling Association
  • North Dakota Mental Health Counselors Association (NDMHCA)
  • North Dakota School Counselor Association
  • North Dakota Behavioral Health Division
  • The North Dakota Addiction Counselor Association
  • North Dakota Board of Addiction Counselor Examiners
  • The North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners
  • North Dakota Career Development Association
  • The North Dakota Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board (NDMFTLB)
  • The Dakota Association for College Admission Counseling

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

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners (NDBCE)

North Dakota licenses three levels of mental health counselors:

  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC)

LAPC applicants must:

  • Complete a 60 semester-credit (90 quarter-credits) master’s degree in counseling from an accredited institution. Programs must satisfy the course requirements. It must also include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship
  • Submit a background check
  • Provide three letters of recommendation
  • Pass the NCE exam score
  • Pay a $150 application fee
  • Complete a plan for supervision

To become an LPC, candidates must meet the above requirements in addition to having 100 hours of direct supervision and 400 hours of direct client contact over the course of two years.

For LPCC licensure, candidates must already hold an LPC license, as well as:

  • Complete 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised work experience completed in two years. Please note that 100 hours must be under supervision and 60 must be face-to-face and individual.
  • Pay $150 application fee
  • Submit three letters of recommendation, one from the supervisor of the work experience
  • Pass the NCMHCE

LPCCs and LPCs are required to renew their licenses every two years in South Dakota. The fee to renew is $150.

LPCCs are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education activities, and LPCs are required to complete 30. Of those hours, 15 must be face-to-face attendance for LPCs and 20 hours for LPCCs.

Both types of licensees must submit three hours of ethics. Renewals also must be accompanied by a Statement of Professional Intent, which details the scope of practice, how the practice is delivered, and who is the primary clientele.

School Counseling Licenses in North Dakota

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
North Dakota Department of Public Instruction

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction issues School Counselor Credentials.

Applicants may apply for a School Counselor Plan of Study if they have not yet completed their program. The requirements are:

  • Hold a current North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Professional Educators License
  • Complete three graduate semester courses in school counseling
  • Submit transcripts showing a minimum of five credits completed of the state-approved school counseling graduate program

To earn a full School Counselor Credential, candidates must meet the above requirements as well as:

  • Provide proof of a master’s degree in school counseling in an approved program
  • Complete a supervised school counselor internship of at least 450 hours, of which at least 150 hours are at both the elementary and secondary level

School counselor credentials issued in North Dakota expire every five years.

To renew, school counselors must maintain a current Professional Educators License, complete an online application, and earn six semester hours, with two of the six being in the area of counseling.

Counselors who hold a lifetime teaching license only need to complete four semester hours every five years.

Substance Abuse Counseling Licenses in North Dakota

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
North Dakota Board of Addiction Counseling Examiners (NDBACE)

The Board of Addiction Counseling Examiners (NDBACE) in North Dakota issues Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and Master’s Licensed Addiction Counselor (MLAC) licenses.

LAC licensure requirements include:

  • A bachelor’s in addiction counseling or closely related field from a regionally accredited institution
  • A board-approved 960-hour clinical training program that includes 40 hours in four distinct clinical training areas and 30 hours of documentation
  • Passing score on the NCAC Level 2 exam from the NAADAC
  • A completed application
  • Two reference letters
  • An application fee of $100 to $300 (fees are prorated based on the date received in the license renewal cycle)

LMAC candidates must:

  • Hold a master’s in addiction counseling or closely related field from a regionally accredited institution
  • Complete a board-approved 700-hour clinical training program that includes 30 hours in four distinct clinical training areas and 20 hours of documentation
  • Complete 2,000 hours of post-graduate supervised work experience
  • Pass the MAC exam from the NAADAC
  • Submit a completed application
  • Provide two reference letters
  • Pay application fee of $100 to $300 (fees are prorated based on the date received in the license renewal cycle)

LAC and MLAC licenses issued by the NDBACE expire on December 1st of odd-numbered years. Renewals cost $300.

Counselors are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education per renewal cycle. At least six hours must be in ethics.

Rehabilitation Counseling Licenses in North Dakota

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners (NDBCE)

Rehabilitation counselors in North Dakota can earn one of three levels of mental health counselors licenses:

  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC)

LAPC applicants must:

  • Complete a 60 semester credit (90 quarter credits) master’s degree in counseling from an accredited institution. Programs must satisfy the course requirements. It must also include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship
  • Submit a background check
  • Provide three letters of recommendation
  • Pass NCE exam score
  • Pay a $150 application fee
  • Complete a plan for supervision

To become an LPC, candidates must meet the above requirements in addition to having 100 hours of direct supervision and 400 hours of direct client contact over the course of two years.

For LPCC licensure, candidates must already hold an LPC license, as well as:

  • Complete 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised work experience completed in two years. Please note that 100 hours must be under supervision and 60 must be face-to-face and individual.
  • Pay $150 application fee
  • Submit three letters of recommendation, one from the supervisor of the work experience
  • Pass the NCMHCE

LPCCs and LPCs are required to renew their licenses every two years in South Dakota. The fee to renew is $225.

LPCCs are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education activities, and LPCs are required to complete 30. Of those hours, 15 must be face-to-face attendance for LPCs and 20 hours for LPCCs.

Both types of licensees must submit three hours of ethics. Renewals also must be accompanied by a Statement of Professional Intent, which details the scope of practice, how the practice is delivered, and who is the primary clientele.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Licenses in North Dakota

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
North Dakota Board of Integrative Health Care

To become a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of North Dakota, candidates must first earn BCBA certification. Upon earning BCBA status, candidates can then submit an application through the North Dakota Board of Integrative Health Care and pay an application fee of $500 and a license origination fee or $50.

Applied behavior analyst licenses expire every two years in North Dakota. The cost to renew is $250.

Thirty-two continuing education hours are required to be completed every two year cycle.

Marriage and Family Therapy Licenses in North Dakota

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
North Dakota Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board

The North Dakota Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board issues Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (LAMFT) credentials.

Requirements for an LAMFT license are:

  • Pay $90 application fee and $360 license fee
  • Complete a master’s degree or higher in marriage and family therapy from a regionally accredited institution
  • Submit a completed application
  • Pass the AMFTRB exam

LMFT license applicants must meet LMFTA license requirements, as well as:

  • Pay $90 application fee and $360 license fee
  • Complete two years and 3,000 hours of supervised work experience; there must be at least 1,500 hours of direct client contact and 300 hours of supervision (up to 500 hours accrued during an internship of a COAMFTE-accredited program may be used)

Marriage and family therapy licenses issued in North Dakota must be renewed every two years. LAMFT licenses cost $130 to renew and may only be renewed once for 36 months. LMFT license renewals cost $400.

LMFTs are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education, of which six must be in ethics, while LAMFTs must complete 15 hours, three of which must be in ethics.

Child (Pediatric) Behavioral Therapy Licenses in North Dakota

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners (NDBCE)

Child therapists in North Dakota can earn one of three levels of mental health counselors licenses:

  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC)

LAPC applicants must:

  • Complete a 60-semester-credit (90-quarter-credit) master’s degree in counseling from an accredited institution. Programs must satisfy the course requirements. It must also include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship
  • Submit a background check
  • Provide three letters of recommendation
  • Pay $150 application fee
  • Complete a plan for supervision
  • Complete a background check
  • Pass the NEC exam

To become an LPC, candidates must meet the above requirements in addition to having 100 hours of direct supervision and 400 hours of direct client contact over the course of two years.

For LPCC licensure, candidates must already hold an LPC license, as well as:

  • Complete 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised work experience completed in two years. Please note that 100 hours must be under supervision and 60 must be face-to-face and individual.
  • Pay $150 application fee
  • Submit three letters of recommendation, one from the supervisor of the work experience
  • Pass the NCMHCE

LPCCs and LPCs are required to renew their licenses every two years in South Dakota. The fee to renew is $225.

LPCCs are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education activities, and LPCs are required to complete 30. Of those hours, 15 must be face-to-face attendance for LPCs and 20 hours for LPCCs.

Both types of licensees must submit three hours of ethics. Renewals also must be accompanied by a Statement of Professional Intent, which details the scope of practice, how the practice is delivered, and who is the primary clientele.

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.

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