Counseling Degrees & Licenses in Washington, DC

“My journey into the counseling field was motivated by a deep-rooted passion for understanding human behavior and a desire to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. The transformative power of effective counseling, not only to heal but also to empower individuals, has always fascinated me.”

Nathalie Mizelle, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Rehabilitation Counseling Program, University of the District of Columbia

Many people who live in or near Washington, DC work for our nation’s government in some way or another. This type of work brings a lot of prestige and power, but it can also quickly develop into negative, such as working long days, lack of time to spend with friends and family, commuting stress, and more. According to Census.gov data from July 2023, Washington, DC is home to 678,972 people, making it the third least populated area out of 52 states and territories, including Puerto Rico.

DCHealthMatters.org states that Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) undertaken in 2013, 2016, and 2019 identified mental health as a priority. The 2019 study found that depression, anxiety, alcohol, and opioid abuse were prevalent among DC residents, leading to poorer health outcomes and earlier death. In a 2023 poll, 30.7 percent the adult population reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder, higher than the 32.3 percent average for adults in the U.S.

In September 2023, the same data notes that the District of Columbia has met 39.3 percent of need for mental health professionals. Additionally, 49.3 percent of adults who reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorders reported a need for counseling or therapy but not receiving it in the past four weeks compared to the U.S. average of 28.2 percent. In a 2022 Mental Health America report, Washington, DC ranked 45 in the mental health Adult Ranking, indicating that adults have a higher prevalence of mental illness and lower rates of access to care.

In Washington, DC, the DC Health Regulation and Licensing Administration‘s Board of Professional Counseling regulates professional counseling practice. Educational requirements to become a licensed counselor in Washington, DC include the completion of a master’s degree or higher from an accredited institution of higher education which was (at the time of the degree) recognized by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education, the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (which existed until 1993), or its successor, which is currently the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

DC also has a Marriage and Family Counseling licensing board. The board requires a minimum 60-credit master’s degree program in marriage and family therapy.

Washington, DC accepts applications from prospective counselors who have completed a minimum of 60 semester-hours (or the equivalent) after earning a bachelor’s degree. That degree program must consist of suitable coursework and 3,500 hours of professional counseling performed over at least two years and up to five years. Two hundred of the required hours must have been under supervision by a qualified supervisor, including 100 hours of supervision with a Licensed Professional Counselor and 100 hours with other qualified supervision. For every 35 hours worked, an applicant must have had one hour of immediate supervision.

Counseling degree programs of all types, including rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling, and addiction counseling, career counseling, and college counseling and student affairs, are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP and CHEW collaborate on accreditation standards for programs and schools.

CACREP-approved counseling programs require students to take a minimum of 60 semester-credit-hours (or 90 quarter-credit-hours) of coursework. Those who wish to pursue a counseling degree and license in Washington, DC will no doubt find their expertise in demand, as the population grows and challenges are continuously placed on everyone’s mental health. Read on for accredited counseling degree programs in Washington, DC.

Featured Counseling Programs
Pepperdine University Online MA - Clinical Psychology (LMFT or LPC prep)Program Website
California Lutheran University MS - Counseling (Campus-Based)Program Website
New York University Online MA - Bilingual School CounselingProgram Website
New York University Online MA - School CounselingProgram Website
Northwestern University Online MS - Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)Program Website
Southern New Hampshire University Online BA in Psychology - AddictionsProgram Website
Southern New Hampshire University Online BA in Psychology - Mental HealthProgram Website
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Ask an Expert: Gabriel Lomas, PhD

Dr. Gabriel Lomas received his BA from the University of Texas at San Antonio, majoring in history with a minor in special education. He earned his MA from Gallaudet University in the combined school and clinical counseling program. Then, he earned his PhD from Sam Houston State University, focusing on counseling and school psychology. 

Before taking the position of director of the counseling program at Gallaudet University, Dr. Lomas was a full professor of counseling at Western Connecticut State University. He also works in private practice, primarily in a consulting capacity. One of his specialties is working with deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the criminal justice system. He is a certified online teaching instructor. 

CounselingSchools.com: What drew you to a career in counseling?

Dr. Lomas: Like a lot of young people, you’re sort of drawn to different careers because they match your personality style, and I initially went into teaching. I really enjoyed being a school teacher, but as I went to graduate school to get a master’s in education for the deaf and hard of hearing, I had to take a course in psychology. And when I went to that department, I fell in love with counseling. I felt like it was such a good match for me and that there was such a huge need for students in this field. 

I finished my graduate-level teaching certificate, but I made a transition and I got a master’s in counseling, and then a doctorate in counseling as well. So it was a little bit of an organic experience for me like that, and that’s less common, really. I see a lot of career-changers in my field—people who start with one career and then switch over to another career. It’s different for everybody. But for me, it was a little bit of a process of getting to know myself, understanding my own strengths and weaknesses, and seeing what pulled me in. And that’s ultimately what drew me to counseling.

CounselingSchools.com: What attracted you to the program at Gallaudet University specifically?

Dr. Lomas: For me, it was personal. I have a few deaf people in my family. For a lot of other people, they sometimes have an exposure to sign language. For some people, it’s an accidental exposure, like they may meet someone who’s trying to communicate with them in sign language. My wife is also in the field, and she just enjoyed sign language when she was in college, so she decided that that was going to be her career. 

A lot of us have that skill, and like me, I decided that I was going to marry it with my career as a therapist. That’s so helpful, because you can only imagine that deaf people are a small part of the population and yet their needs are just as important as anyone else. 

I have a couple of areas of expertise, and one of them is forensics. This means that let’s say, a deaf person, whether they’re guilty or not, gets in trouble with the law. It’s very likely, probably a 99.9 or 100 percent chance, that the officer who they first interact with will not know anything about sign language and will probably treat them as if they are likely to be a threat. From that point forward, you can assume that everybody else, like the judge or their attorney, will see them the same way. If the judge tells them they need to take a DWI class or a parenting class, it’s likely that every provider in that system will not know sign language, and that’s dangerous. 

Wherever we can get people to build up second language skills, whether it’s Spanish, French, Italian, or ASL, we want to encourage that. I’m very passionate about the field, and I see the value of trying to create providers, even if they’re just people who don’t have a personal connection, but just love sign language. Let’s get them to combine that with their career.

CounselingSchools.com: What are some of the core values and philosophies that guide the curriculum there at Gallaudet University?

Dr. Lomas: When I took over the program three years ago, there was already a rich curriculum of diversity, and I didn’t really want to change that. I changed a lot of the curriculum so that it would move away from this requirement of being on campus because graduate students need to have jobs. 

If we were a traditional university, students could do their job and then go to school at night. But we are reaching a national audience, and we can’t require people in graduate school who have husbands, wives, children, and jobs to leave all that and move to Washington, DC to get a master’s or doctoral degree if they want to specialize. 

With the cultural diversity of deaf and hard-of-hearing people and the intersectionality that they have—because you can be deaf and Hispanic or deaf and Italian or deaf and LGBTQ—we try to make sure that all those core values of diversity are validated. We also help people begin to think more broadly so that they can understand that their clients may not have had an experience of being validated. We are making sure that we teach students that when they go out in the field, they need to be doing the same for the people they meet as clients.

Ask an Expert: Nathalie Mizelle, PhD

Dr. Nathalie Mizelle is an associate professor and director of the rehabilitation counseling program at the University of the District of Columbia. She has a PhD in rehabilitation psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a MS in rehabilitation counseling and vocational evaluation from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She also earned a BA in psychology from the North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. 

Dr. Mizelle has 25 years of experience working as a therapist and clinical supervisor in the mental health field with adolescent and adult populations with physical, mental, and academic disabilities. She has 16 years of experience teaching in graduate and undergraduate counseling (CACREP/CORE) programs. She has an active research agenda and has published articles, book chapters, and in two edited books. 

In addition to scholarship, Dr. Mizelle has presented at academic conferences both nationally and internationally. Her areas of expertise are race, equity, diversity, faculty development, and student success. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, music, and watching Netflix. 

CounselingSchools.com: What drew you to a career in counseling and to this program specifically?

Dr. Mizelle: My journey into the counseling field was motivated by a deep-rooted passion for understanding human behavior and a desire to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. The transformative power of effective counseling, not only to heal but also to empower individuals, has always fascinated me. This interest was further nurtured by both of my parents, Dr. Richard Mizelle, a professor of psychology at NCCU, and Julye Mizelle, an assistant superintendent for Wake County Public School, and during my undergraduate studies in psychology at North Carolina Central University, where I was introduced to the profound impact of mental health support. 

Pursuing my doctorate in rehabilitation psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison allowed me to delve deeper into the complexities of human resilience and recovery. It was here that I truly grasped the significance of blending scientific knowledge with compassionate practice, a principle that has guided my career since.

What specifically drew me to this program was its commitment to excellence, its innovative approach to education, and its emphasis on diversity and inclusion. The program’s dedication to not just educating but truly mentoring counselors resonated with my own values and my mission to enhance the profession. The opportunity to work with a diverse group of students and faculty members, to engage in meaningful research, and to contribute to the evolution of counseling practices aligned perfectly with my career aspirations and professional goals.

Moreover, the program’s focus on integrating technology into counseling and its openness to exploring new methodologies for mental health support highlighted its forward-thinking ethos. This alignment with my interest in leveraging technology to advance the counseling field made the decision to join this esteemed institution a natural one.

In summary, it was the program’s holistic approach to counselor education, its commitment to innovation, and its unwavering dedication to societal impact that drew me to this career path and to this specific program.

CounselingSchools.com: What are some of the core values and philosophies that guide the curriculum there at the University of the District of Columbia? 

Dr. Mizelle: At the heart of our program, we are guided by a commitment to excellence, integrity, diversity, and the promotion of personal and community wellness. These values are foundational to our teaching philosophy and reflect in our curriculum design and educational practices. 

Let me elaborate on how these principles are interwoven with our CACREP accreditation, advisory board insights, and adherence to state mandates: our program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which sets the highest standards for counselor education. This accreditation ensures that our curriculum is rigorous, comprehensive, and aligned with the latest in counseling research and practice standards. It underscores our commitment to providing an education that prepares students for successful careers and leadership roles in the counseling field. Integrity, a core value, is reflected in our adherence to these standards, ensuring transparency, ethical practice, and academic rigor in every aspect of our program.

Our curriculum is informed by insights from our distinguished advisory board, which includes leading professionals from diverse backgrounds in the counseling field. This ensures that our program remains responsive to the evolving needs of society, integrating multicultural competencies and a global perspective. Additionally, our curriculum is designed to exceed state mandates for counselor education, preparing our graduates to meet and surpass the requirements for licensure and practice in a variety of settings. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is reflected in our course offerings, which cover a wide range of topics such as cultural humility, social justice, and the importance of considering clients’ diverse backgrounds and experiences in counseling practice.

A fundamental philosophy of our program is the belief in the transformative power of counseling to promote personal growth and community wellness. This is embedded in our curriculum through experiential learning opportunities, community engagement projects, and a focus on developing holistic counseling skills. Our students learn to approach counseling with a client-centered perspective, emphasizing empathy, respect, and the empowerment of individuals to overcome challenges and achieve their personal goals.

In summary, our curriculum is meticulously crafted to embody our core values of excellence, integrity, diversity, and wellness. Through our CACREP-accredited program, guidance from our advisory board, and compliance with state mandates, we strive to offer an educational experience that not only meets but exceeds professional standards. Our goal is to empower our students to become ethical, knowledgeable, and compassionate counselors who are equipped to make a positive impact in the lives of individuals and communities.

Accredited Counseling Degree Programs in Washington, DC

Gallaudet University

Gallaudet University is a private research university founded in 1864 to educate the deaf and hard of hearing. Gallaudet University was originally a grammar school for deaf and blind children and now is still the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Gallaudet’s Counseling program has two available concentration options: a master of arts in clinical mental health counseling and a master of arts in school counseling. These programs held CACREP accreditation until 2019. However, they now operate as low residency programs and plan to stay aligned with CACREP standards until they can reapply for CACREP accreditation in the fall of 2024.

The graduate program in clinical mental health counseling was established in 1986 specifically to teach skilled counselors to provide mental health services to deaf and hard-of-hearing adults, children, and adolescents in mental health care centers, psychiatric hospitals, community programs, addiction programs, and psychosocial rehabilitation programs.

Both concentrations require three years to complete. The clinical mental health counseling and the school counseling program comprise 61 credits each and include two summer residencies. First and second-year students start with a summer residency, followed by online courses in the fall and spring. For both programs, students start with a summer residency, followed by online courses in the fall and spring during the first year. Students in the clinical mental health counseling program are expected to do a Practicum during the summer at the end of the second year, while those in the school counseling program during the spring of the second year. Courses in the third year are completely online and students are expected to do a 600-hour internship in a school or at a mental health agency that serves deaf people over the final two semesters.

Students can earn a master of arts in clinical mental health or school counseling. Students can take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) during their last semester of studies.

The curriculum includes courses such as orientation to the profession of mental health counseling; orientation to the profession of school counseling; legal, ethical, and professional issues in counseling; social and cultural diversity foundations & multicultural counseling; theories and approaches in counseling and psychotherapy; introduction to research for counselors; child and adolescent counseling; play therapy; organization and administration of school programs; family therapy; and the cycle of substance abuse.

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 61 credits, three years

George Washington University

George Washington University is a private research university chartered in 1821. It is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The school offers more than 230 master’s degree programs, including clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and rehabilitation counseling.

Students in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development can earn a master of arts in education and human development in clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, or rehabilitation counseling.

The clinical mental health counseling program prepares students to sit for board certification as national certified counselors (NCC) and pursue careers as licensed professional counselors (LPC). This 60-credit program includes 57 credits of required courses and three credits of elective courses. It requires 600 hours in an internship and 100 hours in a practicum, along with successful completion of a pre-practicum portfolio and two convocations. Courses include foundations of clinical mental health counseling; trauma and crisis intervention; diagnosis and treatment planning; family counseling; and substance abuse and addictions counseling.

Graduates of the school counseling program are eligible to become certified school counselors, licensed professional counselors with a specialty in children and adolescents, or registered play therapists. This 60-credit program includes 54 credits of required courses and six credits in electives. It requires 600 hours in an internship (300 from internship in counseling and 300 from advanced internship in counseling) and 100 hours in a practicum. Courses include foundations of school counseling K–12; coordination of comprehensive school counseling services; trauma and crisis intervention.

Graduates of the rehabilitation counseling program that leads to licensure are eligible to sit for the certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) credential exam, and the national certified counselor (NCC) credential exam, and are eligible to pursue the licensed professional counselor credential (LPC). This includes 60 credits of required courses. Students must also complete 600 hours in an internship (300 from internship in counseling and 300 from advanced internship in counseling) and 100 hours in a practicum. Students seeking licensure must also take the advanced clinical skills course as an elective. The rehabilitation counseling program is also available in an online format. Courses include foundations of rehabilitation counseling; disability management and psychosocial rehabilitation; and medical and psychosocial aspects of disabilities.

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); CACREP; CAEP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 60 credits, two to three years

University of District of Columbia

The University of the District of Columbia is a public historically Black university. It was established in 1851 and is the only public university in the city. The university offers a master of arts program in rehabilitation counseling and a master of science degree in counseling with concentration options: school counseling and clinical mental health.

Students in the College of Arts and Science within the Division of Education, Health, and Social Work are eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) after completing 75 percent of the coursework in the rehabilitation counseling program. Passing this exam enables students to be credentialed as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC). Graduates are also eligible to prepare for state licensure as licensed professional counselors.

Courses in the rehabilitation counseling program include foundations of rehabilitation counseling; ethics in rehabilitation counseling; rehabilitation counseling theories; psychosocial & medical aspects of disability in rehabilitation counseling; job placement and career development in rehabilitation counseling; and application of rehabilitation counseling in a field-based setting.

The school counseling specialization prepares students to meet the certification requirements of the District of Columbia Public School System and surrounding states. Students entering the school counseling specialization must complete field experience requirements in early childhood, elementary, middle, or high schools, with field placements available during the fall and spring semesters only. 

Students must also commit a minimum of 20 hours weekly on-site. The clinical mental health counseling specialization prepares students for licensure as licensed professional counselors and nationally certified counselors. Students entering the clinical mental health counseling specialization must complete field experience requirements in settings that provide opportunities to deliver clinical mental health services. With advisor approval, field placements are available during the summer session, and students must commit a minimum of 20 hours weekly on site.

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); CACREP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 60 credits, two to three years

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (The Chicago School) is a private university with campuses across the United States. The university offers more than 30 academic programs in various professional fields such as psychology, business, health care, health services, education, counseling, and nursing. The Chicago School was established in 1979 by psychologists and educators. Its East Coast campus in Washington, DC opened in the summer of 2010, three blocks from the White House.

The clinical mental health counseling program at Washington, DC offers a four-year part-time option for students to earn a master of arts. Graduates meet the educational requirements for licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and as Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPC).

Students typically complete their practicum and internship at the same site. The practicum course requires a minimum of 100 hours, with on-site clinical counseling supervision and group supervision, along with weekly meetings throughout the semester. Following practicum completion, students must complete at least 300 internship hours to develop their individual and group counseling skills further. The first internship course consists of on-site clinical counseling supervised experience, and group supervision with weekly meetings throughout the semester. The second internship course also requires a minimum of 300 hours and similarly involves weekly meetings with supervised counseling experience and group supervision. The internship is intended to reflect the comprehensive work experience of a clinical mental health counselor, with students participating in the full range of roles and responsibilities available at their sites.

Blending practical training with theoretical knowledge, the program enables students to apply their skills in real-world settings. Graduates will gain the necessary expertise to support individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, thoughts of self-harm, and relationship challenges.

The program is also offered in an online format at the Chicago School. Students in this online program will attend two in-person mandatory residencies and will be prepared for programmatic fieldwork courses.

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC); CACREP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 60 credits, 2.5 to four years

Trinity Washington University

Trinity Washington University is a private Catholic school. Trinity was founded in 1897 as the nation’s first Catholic liberal arts college for women. Trinity became Trinity Washington University in 2004. Trinity’s graduate programs include clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, and a post-master’s counselor program.

Students in the clinical mental health counseling program will be prepared to take the examination to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The school counseling programs give students the option of a career as a counselor in elementary and secondary schools or as a counselor for urban students. This track prepares students to work as counselors outside of schools, such as in foster care or nonprofit youth programs. This option also meets licensure requirements for the LPC exam.

Students with a master’s degree in school counseling can complete the additional 12 credits to meet the eligibility requirements for the LPC credential in the post-master’s counselor program. Students in this program are given a discounted rate on the tuition and have 12 months to complete the four courses.

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); CACREP
  • Expected Time to Completion: 60 credits, two to three years

How Much Do Counselors Make in Washington, DC?

These numbers represent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2023—the latest data available as of June 2024.

United StatesWashington, DC
Number employed397,8801,060
Average annual salary (mean)$60,080$67,750
10th percentile$36,700$40,930
25th percentile$44,600$49,050
50th percentile (median)$53,710$64,270
75th percentile$70,130$77,320
90th percentile$89,920$96,040

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselor and Advisor Salaries

United StatesWashington, DC
Number employed327,6601,960
Average annual salary (mean)$66,990$73,900
10th percentile$40,140$41,830
25th percentile$48,760$53,650
50th percentile (median)$61,710$70,590
75th percentile$78,780$94,310
90th percentile$100,050$107,710

Rehabilitation Counselor Salaries

United StatesWashington, DC
Number employed84,750510
Average annual salary (mean)$48,430$66,120
10th percentile$31,390$43,560
25th percentile$36,440$45,410
50th percentile (median)$44,040$61,700
75th percentile$56,610$81,930
90th percentile$73,710$95,480

All Other Counselors

United StatesWashington, DC
Number employed35,580Estimate Not Released
Average annual salary (mean)$52,360$89,320
10th percentile$33,300$56,550
25th percentile$38,890$79,980
50th percentile (median)$46,130$82,150
75th percentile$59,340$89,660
90th percentile$79,880$101,110

Counseling Professional Associations & Resources in Washington, DC

  • DC Mental Health Counselors Association (DCMHCA)
  • Maryland Counseling Association (MCA)
  • District of Columbia Counseling Association (DCCA)
  • American Counseling Association (ACA)
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)
  • American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
  • DC Psychological Association (DCPA)
  • Northern Virginia Licensed Professional Counselors (NVLPC)
  • American Association for Marriage And Family Therapy (AAMFT)
  • Virginia Counselors Association (VCA)
  • American Art Therapy Association (AATA)
  • The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family (Founded as the Georgetown University Family Center)
  • Capitol Hill Consortium for Counseling & Consultation LLC (CCCC)
  • National Register of Health Service Psychologists
  • Kennedy Counseling Collective
  • National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC)
  • Life Christian Counseling Network
  • Wendt Center For Loss and Healing
  • Capital Therapy Project
  • National Council for Mental Wellbeing
  • Family Preservation Services of DC
  • DC Counseling & Psychotherapy Center
  • Capital Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness
  • International Gambling Counselor Certification Board (IGDC)
  • National Coalition For Asian-Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)
  • Washington Psychotherapy Institute
  • NeighborWorks America
  • National Youth Advocate Program
  • Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC)
  • The Capitol Hill Center For Individual And Family Therapy
  • National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)

Mental Health Counseling (LMHC) Licenses in Washington, DC: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Department of Health, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration Board of Professional Counseling

The District of Columbia Department of Health, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration Board of Professional Counseling licenses Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Licensed Graduate Professional Counselors (LGPC).

The requirements for an LGPC license include:

  • Submitting a completed application
  • Providing two recent passport-sized photos
  • Passing the NCE, NCMHCE, or CRC exam
  • Having a master’s degree or higher from a CACREP or substantially equivalent accredited program. It must be at least 48 semester-credits long and include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship.
  • Paying $230 application fee
  • Passing a criminal background check

The requirements for an LPC license are:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Provide two recent passport-sized photos
  • Pass the NCE, NCMHCE, or CRC exam
  • Have a master’s degree or higher from a CACREP or substantially equivalent accredited program. It must be at least 60 semester-credits long and include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship
  • Pay $230 application fee
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Complete 3,300 hours of supervised work experience. There must be 200 hours of supervision.

LPC and LGPC licenses issued in Washington DC expire on December 31 of even-numbered years. To renew counselors must submit an online application and pay a $145 renewal fee.

Counselors must complete 40 hours of continuing education per renewal cycle. Six hours must be in ethics and four hours must be in trauma counseling.

School Counseling Licenses in Washington, DC

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Washington DC’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education issues School Service Provider (SSP) certificates with school counselor credentials.

The requirements for initial certification and credential are:

  • Submit an Identity History Summary Check (IHSC) through the FBI
  • Send a complete online application and pay the applicable fee
  • Show proof of a master’s degree in school counseling from an accredited institution (applicants can be deficient up to 12 semester credits and still receive an initial certification)
  • Complete 300 hours of supervised work experience as part of a graduate program or two years of full-time teaching experience
  • A copy of an active full credential held in another state OR submit a completed DC LEA Request Form for an initial credential signed by the hiring official of the DC LEA where you are seeking employment

Candidates for a standard license must meet the requirements for an initial license as well as:

  • Provide proof of a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field
  • Achieve a passing score for the DC-required school counselor content exam or has passed a comparable exam in another state where an active school counselor license is held
  • Complete at least 300 hours of supervised school-based field, practicum or internship experience as part of the degree program

An initial school counselor endorsement is valid for two years and may not be renewed.

A standard license is valid for four years and is renewed through an online application. To renew, school counselor must either complete 120 clock hours (or eight college credit hours) of professional learning units or one of the following:

  • Submit satisfactory performance rating reports for each year, if your employer issues them
  • Submit passing scores for Praxis Professional School Counselor exam

Substance Abuse Counseling Licenses in Washington, DC

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Department of Health, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration Board of Professional Counseling


The Washington DC Department of Health, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration Board of Professional Counseling certifies Certified Addiction Counselor I or Certified Addiction Counselor II.

The requirements for a Certified Addiction Counselor I certificate are:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Provide two recent passport-sized photos
  • Pass NAADAC NCAC Level I exam
  • Pass the District Jurisprudence exam
  • Have an associate degree in health or human services that meets coursework requirements
  • Complete 500 hours of supervised work experience, with 40 hours in each of 12 domain areas
  • Pay $240 application fee and $125 jurisprudence test fee
  • Pass a criminal background check

A Certified Addiction Counselor II applicant must meet all the Certified Addiction Counselor I requirements (except work experience), as well as:

  • Complete 180 hours of supervised work experience with 10 hours in each of 12 domain areas
  • Pass the NAADAC NCAC Level II exam
  • Pay a $85 fee

Certified Addiction Counselor certifications issued in Washington DC expire on December 31 of even-numbered years. Renewals cost $155.

Counselors must complete 40 hours of approved continuing education credit. Six hours must be in ethics and three must be in trauma counseling.

Rehabilitation Counseling Licenses in Washington, DC

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals

Rehabilitation counselors are licensed by the District of Columbia Department of Health, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration Board of Professional Counseling as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Licensed Graduate Professional Counselors (LGPC).

The requirements for an LGPC license include:

  • Submitting a completed application
  • Providing two recent passport-sized photos
  • Passing the NCE, NCMHCE, or CRC exam
  • Having a master’s degree or higher from a CACREP or substantially equivalent accredited program. It must be at least 48 semester-credits long and include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship.
  • Paying $230 application fee
  • Passing a criminal background check

The requirements for an LPC license are:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Provide two recent passport-sized photos
  • Pass the NCE, NCMHCE, or CRC exam
  • Have a master’s degree or higher from a CACREP or substantially equivalent accredited program. It must be at least 60 semester-credits long and include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship
  • Pay $230 application fee
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Complete 3,500 hours of supervised work experience of which 200 must be supervision

LPC and LGPC licenses issued in Washington DC expire on December 31 of even-numbered years. To renew counselors must submit an online application and pay a $145 renewal fee.

Counselors must complete 40 hours of continuing education per renewal cycle. Six hours must be in ethics and four hours must be in trauma counseling

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Licenses in Washington, DC

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) for national certification

Currently, there are no local certification or licensing requirements for applied behavior analysts in Washington DC.

However, BCBA certification and membership with the District Association of Behavior Analysis (DCABA) can help with employment opportunities and career advancement.

Marriage and Family Therapy Licenses in Washington, DC

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Department of Health, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration Board of Marriage and Family Therapy

The Washington DC Department of Health, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration Board of Marriage and Family Therapy licenses Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT).

The requirements for an LMFT license are:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Provide two recent passport-sized photos
  • Pass the AMFTRB exam
  • Have a qualifying master’s degree or higher in marriage and family therapy
  • Complete two years of full-time supervised work experience as a marriage and family therapist; it must include at least 2,000 hours of supervised practice and 1,000 hours of direct client contact
  • Pay $262 application fee
  • Pass a criminal background check

LMFT licenses issued in Washington DC expire on December 31 of even-numbered years.

To renew, therapists must submit an online application and pay a $177 renewal fee. Therapists must complete 30 hours of continuing education per renewal cycle, of which 15 must be face-to-face. At least six hours must be in ethics, two in LGBTQ issues, and 10 percent of the hours must be in public health priorities.

Child (Pediatric) Behavioral Therapy Licenses in Washington, DC

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Department of Health, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration Board of Professional Counseling

Child therapists are licensed by the District of Columbia Department of Health, Health Regulation & Licensing Administration Board of Professional Counseling as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) and Licensed Graduate Professional Counselors (LGPC).

The requirements for an LGPC license include:

  • Submitting a completed application
  • Providing two recent passport-sized photos
  • Passing the NCE, NCMHCE, or CRC exam
  • Having a master’s degree or higher from a CACREP or substantially equivalent accredited program. It must be at least 48 semester-credits and include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship.
  • Paying $230 application fee
  • Passing a criminal background check

The requirements for an LPC license are:

  • Submit a completed application
  • Provide two recent passport-sized photos
  • Pass the NCE, NCMHCE, or CRC exam
  • Have a master’s degree or higher from a CACREP or substantially equivalent accredited program. It must be at least 60 semester-credits and include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour internship
  • Pay $230 application fee
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Complete 3,500 hours of supervised work experience. There must be 200 hours of supervision.

LPC and LGPC licenses issued in Washington DC expire on December 31 of even-numbered years. To renew counselors must submit an online application and pay a $145 renewal fee.

Counselors must complete 40 hours of continuing education per renewal cycle. Six hours must be in ethics, four hours must be in trauma counseling, two must be in LGBTQ cultural competency, and 10 percent (four hours) in Public Health Priorities.

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.