Mental Health Counselor Licensure in North Dakota

North Dakota mental health counselors are licensed as Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors. The Board notes that this is the specialty mental health license. LPCC candidates must first hold Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licenses. However, they have more stringent requirements at several stages along the way, beginning with their academic coursework.

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Academic Requirements

The master’s degree represents the minimum academic level for a counselor. An LPCC must have 60 semester hours of graduate coursework, or the equivalent of 60 semester hours. The Board currently accepts 48 semester hour degree programs, supplemented by additional academic coursework or training. Training that is obtained through workshops can be figured at the rate of fifteen contact hours for one semester hour (

The prospective LPCC must complete core counseling coursework required of counselors at all levels. This includes the following subjects:

  • Counseling theory
  • Counseling methods
  • Human growth and development
  • Individual appraisal
  • Group counseling
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Career and lifestyle development
  • Statistics/ research methods
  • Professional orientation/ ethics

At least 12 semester hours of the LPCC program are to cover clinical content, as conceptualized by the National Board for Certified Counselors (

An LPCC must have coursework in the following core clinical content areas:

  • Abnormal Psychology/ psychopathology
  • Clinical counseling skills
  • Appraisal/ diagnostic evaluation

700 hours of clinical training are required; students may receive academic credit for these hours.

It is acceptable for a counseling program to include primarily distance coursework, provided that it meets other standards. However, group process and counseling techniques must be completed in-person ( The practicum must be university-supervised.

Supervised Practice for LPC/LPCC

A candidate can apply for Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC) licensing after completing a graduate degree of at least 48 semester hours. The associate will hold LAPC licensure for two years. A minimum of 200 direct client contact hours are required each year. The LAPC must see at least ten separate clients during each of the two years; at least five must be seen on an individual basis. This will allow the associate to move up to LPC status.

The LAPC must have at least 100 hours of supervision over the two year period; no fewer than 60 will be individual supervision. An LAPC must notify the Board of any change of supervision. At the end of the two-year period, the supervisor will make a recommendation for licensure.

LPCC status requires fully 3,000 hours of supervised experience. It may be acquired in as little as two years. The minimum number of supervision hours is the same for the LPCC license as it is for the LPC license: 100. Supervision by an LPC is acceptable for LPC licensing, but not LPCC.

Examination Requirements

A North Dakota candidate takes two examinations en route to the LPCC license. The candidate will first take the National Counselor Examination (NCE). Candidates who have not yet taken the examination will have the North Dakota Board evaluate their academic credentials. The Board notes that in order for NCE test results that were taken as part of the licensing process in another state to be credited, the individual must complete the licensing process in the other state (

The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMNCE) is required for licensure at the LPCC level.

Both required examinations are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). North Dakota candidates receive their registration forms from the state licensing agency. After registering and paying the $195 examination fee, they wait approximately four weeks for authorization to schedule their examinations. They schedule the computerized testing session through Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP); this can be accomplished by dialing 888-519-9901 or visiting the AMP website (

The examination is administered in just two North Dakota cities: Bismarck and Minot. The NBCC notes, however, that a candidate can opt for any of the more than 191 authorized testing sites in the nation. Examinations are available on weekdays two weeks out of the month; Saturday testing sessions are also available at some sites. While North Dakota Board approval is good for a full year, fee payment grants only a six-month window (

A candidate can visit the “North Dakota” page of the NBCC website to verify registration information and download candidate handbooks (

Additional Requirement: Videotaped Counseling Session

A counselor seeking licensure at the LPCC level must also submit a taped counseling session. It may be an individual, group, or couple/ family session, at least 30 minutes in duration. The counselor will need the written consent of all participants; a release form is included in the application packet. The counselor will also need to prepare a written critique that answers the questions found in the packet. The Board notes that it is natural to be nervous during a taped session and that it is fine to tape several sessions and select the best.

The skills the Board will look for are also summarized in the application form.

The Application Process

Application forms for each licensing level are available on the Board website ( The first license an in-state candidate will hold is Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC). There is a separate form for candidates who are advancing from LAPC to LPC status.

Graduate transcripts are to be submitted at first application.

Reference letters are expected at more than one point along the way. At the LPCC level, the clinical supervisor should be among the referrers.

Application forms require notarization. A fee of $150 is required for initial application at any level; advancement is $100. Completed application packets are to be mailed to the Board office in Mandan.

Out-of-State Counselors

The North Dakota Board grants reciprocity at the LPC level. The current state of licensure can verify that the counselor completed 100 hours of supervision and passed the NCE.

Reciprocity candidates also pay $150; $100 can be refunded if the candidate does not complete the licensing process.

Additional Information

The North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners can be reached by phone at 701-667-5969. The website includes additional contact information for the licensing contact person (

Read more about the LPCC specialty license for mental health counseling in North Dakota:

The North Dakota Mental Health Counselor’s Association is an additional professional resource.

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