In the state of Virginia, all counselors will be required to have completed a graduate education. Those looking to become LPC’s and addiction counselors will by certified by the Virginia Board of Counseling. School Counselors will receive credentialing through the Board of Education.
Future Counselor: For Students in a Virginia High School or Virginia High School Graduates
It is important to start gaining experience as quickly as possible in order make yourself a more attractive candidate later down the line. For this reason, you should looking workings or volunteering for organizations like the Mental Health America of Virginia or the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill-Virginia.
When it comes to choosing an undergraduate major you have a couple of options. If you are serious about becoming a counselor early in your education, you should look into programs that are in the counseling fields. For more freedom in you undergraduate, people look towards degrees in social work, human services, or psychology to make them viable candidates.
People looking to be rehabilitation counselors need to receive a certification in their undergraduate years that will certify them as a rehabilitation professional.
College Graduates: Bachelor’s
Prior to apply to graduate school, make sure that you have taken all the required courses by the program to optimize your chances of success. Those who are looking to get more out of their time in graduate school can look for programs that offer certifications as well.
When looking for a school you will need to find a program that has 60 hours of coursework, with classes that are required by the board.
If interested in addiction counseling, your program will also need to include 600 hours of internship with 450 hours relating to substance abuse.
School counselors will need to find a program that has field experience in elementary and post-elementary counseling, with 100 hours being dedicated to both.
Become a member of Virginia Counselors Association or the Virginia Association of Clinical Counselors. This will be an important resource when looking for supervisors or experience.
Prospective professional counselors will need to complete supervised practice after graduate school. Although during this time you will be performing duties of a counselor, you will be listed as a resident.
Your board approved counselor will keep track of your practice and periodically check in with the Board to update them on the progress you are making.
Counselors will be required to complete 4,000 of post graduate work experience, although work hours completed during your graduate program may be counted towards this number. If you attended a CACREP or CORE-accredited program 900 hours may be counted, otherwise the number of hours is 600.
Virginia Counseling Organizations