What’s it like to be a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
Becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor is so much more than becoming a doctor of all trades; it’s about making a difference in the individual lives you touch. It’s about being that difference that can change the course of their life for the better.
If you are interested in becoming a therapist, there is some information you need to know. How much education is required and how much extra is suggested, what is the daily life like, how much can you craft what your work-life balance looks like and how much is set in stone?
I of all people can understand that the title for this occupation can seem intimidating with words like “licensed” and “professional” in it, but what power does intimidation have for a working woman? None that a little information can’t fix!
Daily Work as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
The work of a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) includes diagnosing and treating various mental disorders, learning disabilities, as well as cognitive, behavioral, developmental, and emotional “problems”. This can be accomplished through a number of therapy styles such as individual, group, and family-based for patients ranging from children to adults, and all ages in between.
This is one of the most beautiful careers available for women because it gives an opportunity to work where your heart is. You have the chance to work with children, teenagers, adults, and/or seniors– whatever age and need you find your interests drawn to!
As in any medical field, LPCC’s are trained and taught to implement different behavior and routine modifications to accommodate the varying needs and lifestyles of the patients they work with. That means that not only are you licensed to provide help for your patients based on prior education and overall clinical intelligence that you receive, but you get to be creative as well. As with any job, the requirements can depend on where you decide to practice your profession, but as long as you understand that what you’re doing is making a difference, the hard work will never compare to the reward you see.
But of course, as a fellow working woman, I can understand that the job description is only half of the deal. I can ease any premature, yet totally understandable, distress that might have come to your mind about employment percentages, as well as compensation averages. On your road to becoming an LPCC, we’ll first talk about the requirements and expectations for professionals within this occupation.
Job Requirements for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors
The majority of health offices or districts that hire LPCC employees require that applicants have a master’s degree from an accredited university in Counseling, Social Work, Psychology, or other related mental health disciplines with a concentration in health practice and/or clinical experience. The priceless benefit of attending a university and knowing what direction/concentration you want your degree to be in is that you can start looking at clinics, practitioner’s offices, schools, and hospitals near you that can coordinate an internship-style program for you while you obtain your degree.
In an interview with LPCC Claire Ann Johnson, she notes how important the hands-on time can be and how invaluable volunteering is to identifying the right path for your career. She says to find a mentor willing to share their knowledge and expertise and to research all the different ways you can craft both the education and experience piece as well as the daily job itself.
Resources/ Benefits of Field Experience
When people encourage you to utilize the resources around you, that doesn’t just mean the internet. While the internet is an invaluable resource (obviously), start to think about the professors in the department of your degree; don’t ever be afraid to talk with people and ask them about different opportunities that they, or their colleagues, might know of.
Also, don’t shy away from a related experience just because you hear or see the words “volunteer” or “unpaid”. Everyone understands that people have bills and responsibilities that require money, but when an employer is perusing your application and another, you’re going to want yours to show field- related experience.
Experience is also of valuable consideration because working in a similar environment, or a number of related settings, will increase your confidence in the dream you have chosen to pursue. Think of it like when you go to ice cream establishments: employees are always willingly offering the opportunity for you to sample any flavor that you think looks good, because you want to make sure your taste buds can manage it for an entire bowl or cone. Gaining experience for a potential lifestyle is a similar concept.
Licensing Required for Therapists
The last requirement that we will talk about is licensure and certification to be an LPCC. Depending on which state you plan to practice in, you can find out the procedure to gaining your Professional Clinical Counseling license and certificate that indicates you are authorized to practice Clinical Counseling in that state. There are a number of websites to find the courses and policies required for each state, but here is an example of a really simple site that has a list of the states for you to choose from and then see their specific requirements along with how and where to meet those requirements: https://www.counselor-license.com/articles/counselor-license.html.
Salary and Employment Outlook for Clinical Counselors
Now let’s talk a little bit about employment percentages and annual salary averages for LPCC’s. With an RSE (the Relative Standard Error of the employment estimate; https://www.bls.gov/help/def/oes.htm) of 1.4%, the mean hourly wage is marked at a little over $37 an hour, showing a mean annual salary of $78,690 with a wage RSE of .7%. I don’t want you to misunderstand; these numbers are the mean averages of higher and lower wages and salaries. We’ll talk shortly about how location and occupation concentration have an effect on most of the numbers we’re going to look at.
Joining the LPCC community would mean being a part of a family that is estimated at 107,980 professionals employed through this occupation not including those self- employed. As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of environments that are in need of working women like you, and the averages for employment are the highest within elementary and secondary schools, followed by working in an office with other related health practitioners. There are so many resources at your disposal to gather information, so for now we’re going to move onto the effect that location has on becoming an LPCC.
There are a number of Northeastern states with a higher employment rate of LPCC’s, along with Florida, Colorado, Texas, and California. However, there is a higher concentration of jobs and locations seeking LPPC’s in Northwestern states, as well as New York and Hawaii.
The states that pay LPCC’s the highest average hourly wage are scattered across the U.S. New Jersey and South Dakota are the nation’s leaders in salary, followed closely by California, New York, and Oregon. Hopefully this serves as an anticipative bit of information; whether you feel rejuvenated on a coast, or love the calm outdoor life on the plains, there is a need for you almost everywhere! Metropolitan districts of cities and states are in high demand for LPCC employees, but of course there are opportunities in numerous divisions. The need for licensed counselors ranges all across metropolitan and more rural locations, as well.
How to Get Hired as a Clinical Counselor
Once you have the requisite education and experience, you’ll need to keep your resume up to date. There are a plethora of resume writing resources. The one that I found to be the most helpful is LiveCareer. Not only do they provide tips and effective formatting, but they also simplify the resume writing process, taking into consideration the specific profession of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors.
Don’t forget to listen to the weekly podcast to hear directly from working women on their careers, work-life balance, and advice for young women. Episode 002 is an interview with Claire Ann Johnson, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who uses horses as her therapy partners. Subscribe to the podcast, and share it with your friends.