How Long Does It Take to Become a Licensed Counsellor

If you’ve decided on a career in counselling, you’ve likely determined that you want to help people and that you’re willing to collaborate with them on goals to deal with obstacles and improve their lives.

The length of time it takes to become a counsellor depends on a variety of factors. To become licensed it can take a minimum of three to five years, including the time it takes to get a master’s degree, complete internship hours as well as the hours of post-degree supervised experience. If you want to pursue school counselling, that might have different requirements than couples counselling. If you have a bachelor’s degree and it does not relate to counselling, you may need to take time to complete the prerequisites for a graduate program.

This page covers some of the common steps to take to become a counsellor, to give you an idea of how long the entire process will last.

Getting Your Master’s Degree

A master’s degree in counselling is required to become a licensed professional counsellor.

Master’s degree programs are available in many formats, allowing you to choose what works best for your situation, whether you are a recent undergraduate or a professional who is interested in making a career transition while keeping your current job. Full-time and part-time programs are offered either on-campus or online. An accelerated program for an online master’s in counselling degree can take as little as 18 months to complete. Traditional programs are designed to take up to three years to complete.

A specific curriculum may lead to a Master of Arts, Master of Science or Master of Education in areas such as clinical mental health counselling, rehabilitation counselling or addiction counselling, school counselling or marriage, and couple and family counselling. Many states require that degrees be from a CACREP accredited school, so check if a master’s program meets your state’s requirements.

Master’s and doctoral counselling programs, including online programs. For accreditation, as well as to measure its goals, objectives and standards. The self-evaluation then undergoes a peer review that includes feedback on the results as well as from an on-site assessment. With accreditation, administrators, faculty and staff responsible for a program demonstrate that it will be accountable for its educational activities and that it meets high standards of quality and content, according to CACREP.

When you identify master’s programs that interest you, learn about the admissions requirements, application processes and deadlines, tuition, financial aid and scholarship information.