How to Become a Licensed Counselor (LPC) in South Carolina (2023)

How to Become a Licensed Counselor (LPC) in South Carolina (1)

As in many other states, licensed counselors in South Carolina are known as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), and aspiring counselors in the supervision portion of the licensure process are known as Licensed Professional Counselor Interns (LPCIs). The state’s premier professional organization for LPCs and LPCIs is theSouth Carolina Counseling Association, whose mission is to “enhance human development and to advance the counseling and human development profession.”

Licensure for South Carolina LPCs is managed by the stateBoard of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Addiction Counselors and Psycho-Educational Specialists, a division of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Licensure requirements for counselors in South Carolina, including education, supervision, examination, fees, renewal and “licensure by endorsement,” are examined in further detail below, along with salary information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as scholarships and loan repayment programs available to LPCs in the state.

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How to Become a Licensed Counselor (LPC) in South Carolina (2)

Northwestern University

The Family Institute at Northwestern University


Master of Arts in Counseling

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How to Become a Licensed Counselor (LPC) in South Carolina (3)

New York University

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development


Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance

Learn more about NYU Steinhardt’s online MA degree that prepares you to become a school counselor in as few as 18 months. Graduates can pursue certification and employment in pre-K–12 schools. Bachelor’s req.

  • Complete in as few as 18 months.
  • Pursue school counselor certification.
  • Study bilingual school counseling (optional).
  • GRE scores are not required.
(Video) South Carolina Requirements for Professional Counseling Licensure

How to Become a Licensed Counselor (LPC) in South Carolina (4)

University of Southern California (USC)

USC Rossier School of Education


Master of Education in School Counseling

The University of Southern California Rossier School of Education offers a Master of Education in School Counseling online for aspiring K-12 school counselors. The program can be completed in less than two years and there is no GRE requirement.

  • No GRE required
  • Prepares you for school counseling credential
  • Bachelor’s degree required


(Video) How I Got My LPC-Associate License In 3 Months After Graduating | Timeline + Cost

Counselor Education in South Carolina

Licensure as aprofessional counselor in South Carolina (PDF, 146KB)requires the completion of a master’s or doctoral degree of at least 60 graduate semester hours in counseling or a related discipline from a college or university accredited by the Commission on the Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada or one of their regional associations.

Appropriate degree programs will include at least one three-hour graduate level course in each of the following core content areas:

  1. Human growth and development
  2. Social and cultural foundations
  3. Helping relationships
  4. Groups
  5. Lifestyle and career development
  6. Appraisal
  7. Research and evaluation
  8. Professional orientation
  9. Psychopathology
  10. Diagnostics
  11. Practicum

Internship Requirements

In addition to the coursework listed above, South Carolina LPC licensure also requires the completion of a 150-hour practicum. In order for Licensed Professional Counselor Interns to assess and treat serious mental health problems, individuals should have completed an internship as a part of their graduate degree program of at least 600 hours. Experience in these hours should be supervised and include assessment and treatment of clients with serious concerns as designated by the standard diagnostic literature. These are distinct requirements from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for licensure.

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Supervision Hours

“Supervision” is shorthand for directed, post-graduate experience inprofessional counseling under supervision (PDF, 146 KB)in a work setting. South Carolina requires Licensed Professional Counselor Interns (LPCIs) to complete a minimum of 1,500 hours of supervision in no less than two years. This must include 1,500 hours of direct client contact and a minimum of 150 hours of direction from an approved supervisor, of which at least 100 hours must be individual supervision (as opposed to group supervision). A supervision plan must also be submitted to the South Carolina Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Addiction Counselors and Psycho-Educational Specialists.

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South Carolina LPC licensure requires a passing score on aboard accepted examination–either the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam or the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Exam.

National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)

The NCE is a 200-question, multiple-choice examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. It assesses knowledge, skills and abilities in effective counseling services.

National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE)

The NCMHCE tests knowledge of assessment, diagnosis, counseling, psychotherapy, administration, consultation and supervision. It consists of 10 clinical mental health counseling cases and assesses clinical problem-solving ability by testing identification, analysis and treatment. It is also administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

(Video) SC-LPC License

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LPC Licensure Fees

South Carolina LPCs can expect to pay the followingfees for their license, application and renewal:

LPC Intern Application: $150

LPC Application: $170

LPC Intern and LPC License Renewal: $150

LPC License Renewal Late Penalty: $50

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LPC License Renewal

LPC licenses expire biennially in South Carolina.License renewal (PDF, 146 KB)requires payment of the appropriate fees and the completion of continuing education.

Continuing Education

LPCs in South Carolina are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year renewal period. All formal CE activities must be sponsored by a professional counselor certifying body, National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, South Carolina Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors or other body approved by the South Carolina Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Addiction Counselors and Psycho-Educational Specialists. Informal CE activities include: presentations of papers, workshops and seminars, publications in referred journals, preparation of course material and completion of self-study materials.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

The South Carolina Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Addiction Counselors and Psycho-Educational Specialists has analternative route to licensure (PDF, 146 KB)for counselors who have already obtained their licenses in other states. This process is called “licensure by endorsement”. Out-of-state applicants must hold a current license issued from their originating board and submit an application to be approved by the South Carolina board of licensing.

(Video) LPC-Associate Licensure Application Checklist + What Happens After You Submit | Tips

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Average Counselor Salary in South Carolina

The following types of South Carolina counselors can expect to earn the respective average hourly and annual wages, according to May 2021 data from theU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Type of CounselorAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Wage

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors



Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors



Rehabilitation Counselors



All Other Counselors



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South Carolina Counseling Scholarships

The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to South Carolina LPCs and LPCIs:

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: This award from the American Psychological Foundation is available to one full-time graduate student in good standing at an accredited university who has demonstrated a commitment to stigma issues.
  • Type: Loan Repayments
  • Amount: Between $25,000 and $100,000
  • Description: LPCs in South Carolina are eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance in exchange for working in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) at a site approved by the National Health Service Corps. Funding is tied to HPSA score and is in exchange for two years of full- or half-time service.
  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: To Be Decided
  • Description: The Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program provides funds to schools, which in turn offer scholarships to full-time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are studying professional counseling, amongst other health professions.
(Video) What Can I Do as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)?

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*Licensure information including requirements, renewals, scholarships and fees were retrievedas of May 2022. Information may have changed since, check with the state’s board of licensing for more information.

Last updated: May 2022


How much does an LPC make in South Carolina? ›

How much does a Licensed Professional Counselor make in South Carolina? The average Licensed Professional Counselor salary in South Carolina is $52,234 as of January 26, 2023, but the range typically falls between $47,224 and $58,776.

How many hours is LPC in South Carolina? ›

A minimum of 150 hour Supervised Counseling Practicum is required to provide supervised field placement(s) in an appropriate counseling setting and for academic credit as part of the degree program.

What degree is best for LPC? ›

Degrees Required for LPCs

The primary academic paths for LPCs are a master's degree in counseling or a master's degree in clinical psychology, with preparation for LPC licensure.

What is the scope of practice for LPC in South Carolina? ›

In South Carolina, LPCs can provide individual, family, and group therapy, including marital counseling, play therapy, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and behavioral modification counseling based on the areas in which they have appropriate training.

What qualifications do you need to become a counselor? ›

You could do a diploma, degree or postgraduate course in counselling or psychotherapy. You might be able to study counselling alongside another subject like psychology, sociology or criminology. You should look for a course that includes practical skills training and supervised work placements.

What state pays LPC the most? ›

Maine is the best state for licensed professional counselors, where the median salary is $110,234. The highest position that you can reach as a licensed professional counselor is clinical director.
1. Maine.
Total Licensed Professional Counselor Jobs:383
Highest 10 Percent Earn:$133,000
3 more rows
Apr 6, 2021

How can a LPC make 6 figures? ›

How Do You Scale to Multiple 6 Figures in Private Practice?
  1. Charge more.
  2. See more clients.
  3. Work more weeks per year.
  4. Reduce your expenses as much as possible.
  5. Offer higher-end services - retreats, intensives, and group work that have a higher price point and help more people in a shorter amount of time.
Jan 11, 2016

Can you do the LPC without a degree? ›

To start the LPC, a student must first have a Qualifying Law Degree or pass a conversion course such as the GDL. From finishing a non-law degree to starting a training contract would take two years of full-time study.

Can you do an LPC without a law degree? ›

Students who begin their legal studies after the 2021/22 academic year (i.e. for LSE, students who join us in the 2022/23) will need to take the new route. Under the new route there will be no need to have a qualifying law degree or to undertake the Legal Practice Course in order to qualify as a solicitor.

Can you do LPC without training contract? ›

The LPC. First things first: all trainees, regardless of education route, need to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC). This is an absolute must and can't be bypassed, circumnavigated or avoided in any other way whatsoever. However, you can apply for a training contract in advance of completing your LPC.

What is the easiest therapy degree to get? ›

Some of the easiest options include online counseling degree programs, programs in career and school counseling and generalist studies in mental health counseling.

What degree do I need to be a counselor in South Carolina? ›

According to state law, anyone who seeks a counseling degree and license in South Carolina must have a minimum of a 48-hour master's degree in counseling or a related discipline. Approved schools must provide students with core coursework as well as a 600-hour internship and a 150-hour counseling practicum.

What is the lowest degree for a therapist? ›

Therapists hold at least a master's degree, while some choose to obtain a doctorate. If a therapist chooses to advertise their practice as “psychotherapy,” then they must be licensed in the state in which they intend to practice.

Is the LPC hard to pass? ›

The LPC is a right rollicking rollercoaster of a ride through reams and reams of legal procedure. A lot of the course content is really dull, and there's no way of escaping that. You have to plough on and respect the fact you learn much that is genuinely useful for situations you'll face in the legal world.

What is the pass rate for LPC? ›

The SRA said that 30% of LPC students who described the type of secondary school they attended said they went to a state school, with 7% having gone to an independent or fee-paying school. The pass rate for those attending private schools was just under 70%, compared to less than 49% for those attending state schools.

Is it worth doing the LPC? ›

Taking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) without having secured a training contract is a risk that many candidates take every year. For some it pays off, but for others it's a waste of their money. Much will depend on your strengths as an individual.

How much do clinical mental health counselors make in South Carolina? ›

How much does a Licensed Mental Health Counselor make in South Carolina? As of Jan 31, 2023, the average annual pay for a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in South Carolina is $77,208 a year.

How much does a LAPC make? ›

Licensed professional counselors make $94,675 per year on average, or $45.52 per hour, in the United States. Licensed professional counselors on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $73,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $122,000.

Where do counselors make the most money? ›


How much do Lcsw make in South Carolina? ›

How much does a Clinical Social Worker - LCSW make in South Carolina? The average Clinical Social Worker - LCSW salary in South Carolina is $71,800 as of December 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $66,300 and $79,800.


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