How Long Does It Take To Become A Counselor?

To become a counselor, you must be aware about the career path to pursue and how must time you invest. Hence, in this article we will breakdown the time frame of different step.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 10th June 2020

If you are willing to become a counselor, there are various fields to employ such as health counselor, marriage counselor or a school counselor. However all these require professionalism which is attained by gaining education and experience. 

The path to becoming a counselor is simple and straight. Hence frame your career path to pursue in a systematic manner to increase your chances of landing on this profession sooner. 

As you plan your career, you must also have a clear idea about how much time you are willing to spend on meeting the requirements. To help you with this, we are here with an article to breakdown the time consumption at each step you complete. 

How long will it take to become a counselor?

The answer to this solely depends on what degree levels you are willing to pursue. Usually the minimum requirements is to earn a master’s degree in a relevant field to get employed. Hence keeping this as ideal, you could spend about 6 years or more to meet the requirements to become a qualified counselor


Bachelor’s degree: 4 years

During a 4 years undergraduate program you earn the prerequisites and surface knowledge required. Choosing psychology as a major will give you upper hand in gaining knowledge on the mental health and basics skills. It is always best to earn a degree from the program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.


Master’s degree: 1-2 years

A master’s degree is an advanced degree which gives in-depth knowledge on the specializations of our choice. It is the minimum required degree to land on this profession Under this program you are offered with 33-36 credits to complete the coursework


Doctoral degree: 3-5 years 

However, a doctoral degree isn't necessary to be earned to become a licensed professional. To advance your career and enhance your skills you could choose the doctoral degree. This degree is usually pursued by ones who want to gain higher administrative positions, or jobs as research institutions or to become a professor with counselling as a major. 


Experience: 1-2 years

Gaining experience under the supervision of a licensed professional is valuable and helps you broaden your skills in treating patients. To earn the license the usual requirement is to complete a training period of 3,000 hour. Internship programs are also helpful where you could relate the practical concepts in the clinical setting with your theoretical knowledge. 


License: 6 months

The licensure exam offered by the National Counselor Examination and Certification(NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHCE) is a hard exam which requires preparation. And the typical duration to complete the exam and earn the licence takes about six months.


Conclusion

Completing these procedures and steps to become a counselor usually takes up to 6- 8 years and it could even exceed depending on the further degree level you pursue or will to continue education. However, we have briefed these steps on the average process and start planning your future soon with this.