Accredited Counseling Degrees & Licensure Guide in Ohio

The state of Ohio has a unique mental health counseling system that is different from other states. In Ohio, counselors can achieve several levels of licensure which vary from supervised practice only to a high degree of specialization. The lowest level is known as the Counselor Trainee (CT) which is a required level of licensure in order to earn more advanced levels of licensure via supervised work experience. The next level is known as a Professional Counselor (PC). There are then two advanced levels of licensure as a Professional Counselor – Clinical Resident (CR). This initial CR licensure is required for those who wish to go on to achieve the highest level of licensure, that of the Professional Clinical Counselor (PCC).

Counseling degrees and licenses will continue to be in high demand in Ohio. According to Projections Central (2020), there were 6,230 mental health and substance abuse workers in the state of Ohio in 2018. In 2028, that number is expected to grow to reach 7,090. Throughout the entire United States, positions in mental health counseling are expected to grow from 319,400 to 398,400 over a similar 10-year period (2019-2029). In the United States, that rate of growth represents a 25 percent increase and 79,000 projected jobs added, while in Ohio that correlates to a 13.8 percent increase and 860 jobs added. Notably, both percentages are much higher than the average growth among all American occupations expected in the 2019 to 2029 timeframe (4 percent).

Ohio has one of the highest rates of youth suicide as well as substance abuse and drug-related deaths and opioid addiction rates in the country. Nearly 5 percent of Ohioans, or 530,000 people, have a serious mental illness, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Mental health and substance abuse counselors can work in a variety of settings, including schools, mental health centers, in-patient or out-patient substance abuse recovery centers, drug recovery halfway houses, community health centers, domestic abuse shelters, prisons, and private practice.

Specializations that are possible within the general counseling field give prospective students options of focusing on general aging along with specific populations, such as veteran or active military families or people in prisons. Rehabilitation counselors who specialized in working with the elderly or aging populations might work in hospitals, long- and short-term care facilities, retirement homes, or community senior centers.

Following is a list of just a few of the accredited programs offering counseling degrees and licenses in Ohio.

Accredited Counseling Degree Programs in Ohio

Bowling Green State University – School of Counseling and Special Education

Within the School of Counseling at Bowling Green State University is a master of arts in clinical mental health counseling degree program and a master of education in school counseling program. These master’s classes are primarily held on campus during evening hours and are not available online. The clinical mental health counseling degree program is an approved program of the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist Board, which means that graduates of this program will have met the academic requirements for professional licensure as a counselor in Ohio.

Likewise, the school counseling program is approved by the Ohio Department of Education, which indicates that graduates of this program have met the academic requirements for licensure as a school counselor in the state. The school counseling program prepares students to work with elementary, middle, or secondary schools. Students who complete this program will satisfy the state of Ohio’s academic requirements for K-12 school counselor licensure.

  • Location: Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Duration: The master of education in school counseling and the master of arts in clinical mental health counseling are 60 credit-hours; both programs may be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, with open enrollment in the fall or spring.
  • Accreditation: Both the clinical mental health counseling and school counseling programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
  • Tuition: Tuition varies based on number of credits and term; the school has a tuition calculator to calculate the cost of attendance

Cleveland State University

Cleveland State University offers two counseling degree programs: school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. The master of education in clinical mental health counseling prepares students to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE). After successfully completing the NCE exam, graduates are awarded the Professional Counselor (PC) license. After that, students are expected to acquire two years of supervised experience in counseling. After that two-year-period of direct supervised experience, students are eligible to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE). Upon passing that exam, they are awarded the Professional Clinical Counselor license (PCC).

Cleveland State University’s school counseling program has multiple foci: developmental activities to foster student growth, preventive activities centered on identifying at-risk students, and remedial activities to help struggling students. There are two paths to licensure as a school counselor in Ohio; one track is for licensed or certified teachers and the other track is for non-teachers.

  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Duration: The clinical mental health counseling program is 60 credits; the school counseling program is currently 48 semester-hours but on July 1, 2023, will be transitioning to a 60-credit program by 2023 in order to meet CACREP’s accreditation requirements.
  • Accreditation: Both counseling programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: Tuition and fees are calculated based on student’s enrollment status, residency, and course selections.

Franciscan University

Franciscan University of Steubenville is a private Catholic university in Steubenville, Ohio. Majors at Franciscan include theology and Christian ministry as well as an MA in clinical mental health counseling. Programs are taught by full-time faculty members with expertise in their fields.

The CMHC program offers two specialization areas, which include one required course and two electives: a Christian counseling concentration with courses in psychological and spiritual integration, human sexuality, and Christian marriage and family; or a crisis and trauma counseling concentration with training in addictions counseling, crisis and trauma counseling, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Both specializations require an additional nine credits of coursework. While the majority of the courses are held in person on campus, two of the required courses are available online. Most students complete this program in two years.

Franciscan University also offers an accelerated BA/MA degree option, which allows students to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling within five years of full-time study including one summer semester. Qualifying students are undergraduate psychology students at Franciscan University with a 3.3 GPA who also meet other admissions criteria. Students generally apply in the second semester of their junior year, though they are advised to plan for the accelerated option starting in their freshman year.

  • Location: Steubenville, Ohio
  • Duration: Two years, 60 hours
  • Accreditation: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: $700 per credit-hour

Heidelberg University

Founded in 1850 by members of the German Reformed Church, Heidelberg University offers students a strong liberal arts education along with a curriculum taught by a theologically trained faculty. Currently, students can earn master of arts (MA) degrees in clinical mental health counseling or school counseling. Courses are offered as a mix of online, evening face-to-face classes that last eight weeks.

Heidelberg’s curriculum prepares students to take the Ohio state licensing exam work as a Licensed Professional School Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), and/or to qualify as both a school and clinical mental health counselor.

Both counseling concentrations include a 100-hour practicum field experience and a minimum two-semester, 600-hour internship. The state of Ohio requires a minimum of 60 semester-hours of coursework to be eligible for state licensure as a counselor and at least 50 semester-hours of coursework to be eligible as a school counselor.

School counselors must successfully pass the Ohio Department of Education’s OAE 040 exam. Heidelberg’s Project K.I.T.E. trains counselors to fulfill gaps and meet unmet needs in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) in the state’s rural counties and three urban cities. Through the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant, graduate counseling students in their final internship are eligible to apply for a $10,000 scholarship.

  • Location: Tiffin, Ohio
  • Duration: The clinical mental health counseling concentration is 60 semester-hours; the school counseling concentration is 50 semester-hours
  • Accreditation: Heidelberg is accredited by the North Central Accrediting Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Both counseling concentrations are accredited by Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The clinical mental health concentration also meets the requirement for the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board licensure. The school counseling concentration has been approved through the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
  • Tuition: $598 per credit-hour (fall/spring); $550 per credit-hour (summer)

John Carroll University

John Carroll University is a Jesuit Catholic university located in Cleveland, Ohio. Most of the school’s graduate programs are available in full- or part-time options, including the clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) master of arts program and the master of education in school counseling. Most classes are offered as traditional, in-person classes in the evening or hybrid/online courses.

A substance use disorder concentration is available to students in the CMHC program for an additional three courses. These extra nine credits prepare students for licensure as a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC). The LICDC credential is highly valued by employers in Ohio, especially given how much Ohio has been affected by the rise in use of opioids. Students serving their CMHC internship in underserved communities receive a $10,000 stipend.

  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Duration: The CMHC program is 60 credits or two years full time; the school counseling program is 48 credits
  • Accreditation: Both the school counseling degree and CMHC programs are accredited by the the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); the school counseling degree is also accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Ohio Department of Education
  • Tuition: $640 per credit-hour, plus fees

Kent State University

Kent State offers three counseling options: clinical mental health counseling, clinical rehabilitation counseling, and school counseling. They also offer a post-master’s counseling educational specialist degree. The master of education in clinical mental health counseling prepares students to work in community service agencies such as substance abuse facilities, mental health centers, and child and family service agencies, or private counseling facilities. Upon graduation, students are eligible to apply for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Ohio.

The clinical rehabilitation counseling program prepares students for employment in settings where they will work with people with disabilities such as vocational rehabilitation settings, mental health and developmental agencies, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, public and private hospitals, comprehensive rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, community-based programs, private industry, and student disability services. The master of education degree in school counseling prepares students for employment in K-12 schools. Upon completion, students can apply for licensure as a Licensed School Counselor in Ohio.

  • Location: Kent, Ohio
  • Duration: Two years full-time, or part-time options
  • Accreditation: Kent State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission; all counseling programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Tuition: Tuition rates change with the number of credit-hours; $2,790 for six credits, Ohio resident; $5,010 for six credits, non-resident, plus fees

Malone University (Online Program)

Malone University, a small private, Bible-based liberal arts university, offers Ohio’s first online clinical mental health counseling program. The clinical mental health counseling track is offered either in a hybrid format or fully online with no residency requirements. Both prepare students to take the National Counselor Licensure Examination.The program includes specializations including spirituality and religion in counseling, trauma and crisis intervention, and counseling the LGBTQI population. In 2018-2019, Malone’s clinical mental health counseling program had a 100 percent pass rate on the National Counselor Licensure Exam. Malone also offers a master of education in school counseling.

How Much Do Counselors Make in Ohio?

These numbers represent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2019.

Marriage and Family Therapist Salary in Ohio

United StatesOhio
Number employed59,050420
Average annual salary (mean)$54,590$46,530
10th percentile$32,070$25,380
50th percentile (median)$49,610$47,630
90th percentile$87,700$61,800

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor Salary in Ohio

United StatesOhio
Number employed283,5407,790
Average annual salary (mean)$49,950$50,020
10th percentile$29,520$31,430
50th percentile (median)$46,240$45,630
90th percentile$76,080$70,580

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisor Salary in Ohio

United StatesOhio
Number employed296,46010,940
Average annual salary (mean)$61,000$57,160
10th percentile$34,380$33,630
50th percentile (median)$57,040$53,680
90th percentile$96,090$86,820

Rehabilitation Counselor Salary in Ohio

United StatesOhio
Number employed109,0405,410
Average annual salary (mean)$40,160$40,360
10th percentile$23,820$19,230
50th percentile (median)$35,950$33,970
90th percentile$63,790$67,330

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

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board

There are three mental health counselor licenses issued in Ohio:

  • Counselor Trainee (CT)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

A CT license is awarded to students who are completing a practicum or internship. To apply for this license, a candidate must:

  • Provide proof of enrolment in a master’s or doctoral level practicum or internship
  • Complete an online application
  • Complete a background check

To earn an LPC license, candidates must:

  • Pass the NCE exam
  • Submit official transcripts demonstrating graduation from a CACREP accredited master’s program
  • Complete a background check
  • Complete an online application
  • Watch the Laws and Rules online video

To earn an LPCC license, candidates must meet LPC requirements in addition to:

  • Passing the NCMHCE exam
  • Completing two full years of supervised work experience with a minimum of 1,500 hours per year. The experience must include diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders.

Ohio requires LPCs and LPCCs to renew their licenses every two years.

The requirements to renew include:

  • An online application,
  • An $83.50 fee for LPCs or $103.50 for LPCC
  • 30 hours of continuing education to an online system; three of those hours must be in ethics

School Counseling Licenses in Ohio

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Ohio Department of Education

The Ohio Department of Education issues Pupil Services Licenses to school counselors. The requirements for this license are:

  • Pass the Ohio Assessments for Educators School Counselor exam
  • Complete a BCI/FBI background check
  • Have a master’s degree (preferably from an in-state approved program) that included a 600-hour school counselor internship
  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay $200 application fee

Those who have completed an out-of-state degree will need to provide additional documentation, such as a recommendation from the dean.

Pupil Services Licenses for school counselors are valid for five years.

To renew, school counselors must submit an application and pay a $200 renewal fee. Continuing education requirements for school counselors are six semester hours of coursework, or 18 continuing education units (180 hours). Other activities may be approved by the Local Professional Development Committee.

Please note that proof of current licensure from the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board waives continuing education requirements.

Substance Abuse Counseling Licenses in Ohio

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board (OCDP)

Licenses and certifications issued by the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board (OCDP) include Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA), Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDCII, LCDCIII) and Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC).

Preliminary CDCA certificate candidates must:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Sign an agreement to practice according to the ethics code set by the board
  • Complete 40 hours of approved chemical dependency coursework within the past two years
  • Complete an online application
  • Pay $50 application fee

To earn the renewable CDCA, candidates must:

  • Hold the preliminary CDCA certificate for ten months or more
  • Complete an additional 30 hours of chemical dependency coursework
  • Complete an online application
  • Pay $35 conversion fee

LCDCII license candidates must:

  • Have an associate’s degree in behavioral health, a nursing degree or a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field
  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay $50 application fee
  • Complete 2,000 hours of supervised work experience
  • Provide job descriptions for positions held during the supervised work experience signed by the supervisor
  • Complete 180 hours of education and training in substance abuse in nine specific content areas
  • Complete 200 hours of practical training in the 12 core function areas, which can be part of the supervised work experience
  • Pass the ADC exam from the IC&RC

LCDCIII license applicants must meet the above requirements and must have a bachelor’s degree.

LICDC license applicants must also meet the same requirements and must have a master’s degree.

Substance abuse counselor certificate and license holders in Ohio must renew every two years. They must submit an online application and pay a $150 renewal fee.

Every renewal cycle, counselors must complete 40 hours of continuing education. Six hours must be in chemical dependency and three hours must be in ethics.

Rehabilitation Counseling Licenses in Ohio

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board

There are three mental health counselor licenses rehabilitation counselors can earn in Ohio:

  • Counselor Trainee (CT)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

A CT license is awarded to students who are completing a practicum or internship. To apply for this license, a candidate must:

  • Provide proof of enrolment in a master’s or doctoral level practicum or internship
  • Complete an online application
  • Complete a background check

To earn an LPC license, candidates must:

  • Pass the NCE exam
  • Submit official transcripts demonstrating graduation from a CACREP accredited master’s program
  • Complete a background check
  • Complete an online application
  • Watch the Laws and Rules online video

To earn an LPCC license, candidates must meet LPC requirements in addition to:

  • Passing the NCMHCE exam
  • Completing two full years of supervised work experience with a minimum of 1,500 hours per year. The experience must include diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders.

Ohio requires LPCs and LPCCs to renew their licenses every two years.

The requirements to renew include:

  • An online application,
  • An $83.50 fee for LPCs or $103.50 for LPCC
  • 30 hours of continuing education to an online system; three of those hours must be in ethics

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Licenses in Ohio

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Ohio Board of Psychology

The Ohio Board of Psychology licenses Certified Ohio Behavior Analysts. The requirements include:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Hold a BCBA certification
  • Provide three recommendations
  • Complete a Pre-Certification Workshop Law and Rules course
  • Pay $125 application fee
  • Pass a criminal records check

Certified Ohio Behavior Analysts licenses must be renewed biennially. The cost to renew is $150.

Renewal applications must be accompanied by proof of continued BCBA certification. Current BCBA certification meets all Ohio continuing education requirements.

Marriage and Family Therapy Licenses in Ohio

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board

The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board credentials Licensed Independent Marriage and Family Therapists (LIMFT) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT).

LMFT license requirements are:

  • Pass the NCE exam
  • Submit official transcripts demonstrating graduation from a COAMFTE-accredited master’s program (or a regionally accredited program that meets coursework requirements)
  • Pass the AMFTRB exam
  • Pay $80 application fee
  • Complete a background check
  • Complete an online application
  • Watch the Laws and Rules online video

To earn an LIMFT license, candidates must meet LMFT requirements, in addition to:

  • Paying $100 application fee
  • Completing two full years of supervised work experience, with 1,000 hours of direct client contact and 200 hours of supervision (of which 100 hours must be individual supervision)

Ohio requires LIMFTs and LMFTs to renew their licenses every two years.

The requirements to renew include:

  • An online application,
  • A $83.50 fee for LMFTs or $103.50 for LIMFTs
  • 30 hours of continuing education (three of those hours must be in ethics)

Child (Pediatric) Behavioral Therapy Licenses in Ohio

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board

There are three mental health counselor licenses child therapists can earn in Ohio:

  • Counselor Trainee (CT)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

A CT license is awarded to students who are completing a practicum or internship. To apply for this license, a candidate must:

  • Provide proof of enrolment in a master’s or doctoral level practicum or internship
  • Complete an online application
  • Complete a background check

To earn an LPC license, candidates must:

  • Pass the NCE exam
  • Submit official transcripts demonstrating graduation from a CACREP accredited master’s program
  • Complete a background check
  • Complete an online application
  • Watch the Laws and Rules online video

To earn an LPCC license, candidates must meet LPC requirements in addition to:

  • Passing the NCMHCE exam
  • Completing two full years of supervised work experience with a minimum of 1,500 hours per year. The experience must include diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders.

Ohio requires LPCs and LPCCs to renew their licenses every two years.

The requirements to renew include:

  • An online application,
  • An $83.50 fee for LPCs or $103.50 for LPCC
  • 30 hours of continuing education to an online system; three of those hours must be in ethics

Counseling Professional Associations & Resources in Ohio

  • Ohio Counseling Association
  • Ohio School Counselor Association (OSCA)
  • Ohio Association of College Admission Counseling (OACAC)
  • Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA)
  • Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education – Student Services Division (Ohio ACTE)
  • American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
  • National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
  • National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA)
  • Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation (CSCORE)
  • ACT (Aspire, PreACT, WorkKeys)
  • CollegeBoard (AP, SAT, PSAT, AccuPlacer)
  • Association for Career and Technical Education – Guidance and Career Development Division (ACTE)
  • Central Ohio Counseling Association
  • Ohio Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling
  • Ohio Association of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Counselors
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.