Become a Counselor in Montana | The Path to Counseling

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Montana Counselor

Embarking on becoming a counselor in Montana is an enriching career path filled with opportunities to impact individuals’ lives significantly. The process is multifaceted and involves acquiring the necessary educational credentials, obtaining licensure, gaining practical experience, and maintaining professional development. In Montana, it becomes more beneficial when setting up a limited liability company (LLC) to protect your assets and enhance your professional reputation. This introduction provides an overview of becoming a counselor in Montana, offering insight into the promising prospects and the crucial steps involved.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you gain knowledge through thorough research and market study. Before becoming a counselor in Montana, all the steps in this article must guide you.

What is a Counselor?

A counselor in Montana is a licensed mental health professional who provides guidance, support, and therapeutic interventions to individuals, couples, families, and groups facing various emotional, psychological, and behavioral challenges. Counselors in Montana work in various settings, including private practice (as an LLC or Corporation in Montana), mental health clinics, schools, hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers, and community organizations.

To become a counselor in Montana, individuals must complete educational and licensure requirements, including earning a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, completing the supervised clinical experience, passing the required licensing exams, and maintaining their license through ongoing professional development and continuing education. The specific licensure requirements and regulations for counselors in Montana are overseen by the Montana Board of Behavioral Health.

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How to Become a Counselor in Montana

If you’re considering becoming a counselor in Montana, it’s important to understand the steps and requirements involved in obtaining your license and starting your professional journey. This step-by-step guide will walk you through becoming a counselor.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step towards becoming a counselor in Montana is to complete a bachelor’s degree. While a degree in Psychology, Social Work, or a related field is often preferred, it is only sometimes required. Many graduate counseling programs will accept students with bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines, provided they have completed the necessary prerequisite courses.

Be sure to research the requirements of the graduate programs you are interested in to ensure that your undergraduate coursework aligns with their admission criteria.


Step 2: Pursue a Master’s Degree in Counseling

After earning a bachelor’s degree, the next step is to enroll in a master’s degree program in counseling or a closely related field. In Montana, aspiring counselors must complete a graduate program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or an equivalent accrediting body. These programs typically take two to three years to complete and include coursework in counseling theory, ethics, multicultural counseling, research methods, and supervised clinical experiences.

When selecting a graduate program, it is essential to consider your desired area of specialization. Some programs offer tracks in specific counseling fields, such as mental health, school counseling, or marriage and family therapy. Other programs provide a more general counseling education, allowing students to choose electives that align with their career goals. Additionally, some programs in Montana may offer online or hybrid learning options, providing increased flexibility for working professionals or those with family responsibilities.

Here is the list of Master’s Degree Counseling Programs in Montana.

  • Master of Science (MSc) in Counseling Psychology
  • Master’s in Mental Health Counseling
  • Master of Education (MEd) in School Counseling
  • Master’s in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
  • Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Master’s in Clinical Counseling
  • Master’s in Career Counseling
  • Master’s in Addiction Counseling
  • Master’s in Art Therapy Counseling
  • Master’s in Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • Master’s in Forensic Counseling
  • Master’s in Grief Counseling
  • Master’s in Multicultural Counseling
  • Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Master’s in Pastoral Counseling
  • Master’s in Trauma and Crisis Counseling
  • Master’s in Genetic Counseling
  • Master’s in Gerontological Counseling
  • Master’s in Educational Counseling
  • Master’s in Student Affairs and College Counseling.

Step 3: Complete Supervised Clinical Experience

Before becoming a licensed counselor in Montana, individuals must complete several supervised clinical experience hours. The specific requirements vary depending on the type of counseling license being pursued. For example, Montana Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) may need to complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience, while Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) may require 1,500 hours of direct client contact.

Supervised clinical experience typically occurs during the master’s degree program and may continue post-graduation. These experiences allow aspiring counselors to gain practical, hands-on experience working with diverse populations and addressing various mental health concerns under the guidance of a licensed professional. Tracking your clinical hours and ensuring that your supervisor provides the necessary documentation to verify your experience when applying for Montana licensure is essential.

Step 4: Pass The Required Licensing Exams

Once you have completed your master’s degree and supervised clinical experience, you must pass the required licensing exams for your chosen area of specialization. In Montana, the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) is typically required for those seeking licensure as a professional counselor. The Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) administers the national marriage and family therapist licensure examination. Here are the costs associated with the examinations:

  • National Counselor Examination – $195 to $275
  • National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination – $275
  • National Examination for Licensure of Marriage and Family Therapist – $355

These exams assess your knowledge of counseling theories, techniques, and ethical standards and your ability to apply this knowledge in practice. Thorough preparation is essential for success on these exams, and many resources are available to help you review key concepts and practice exam questions.

Step 5: Apply For Licensure

After passing the required licensing exams, you can apply for licensure in Montana. This process typically involves applying to the Montana Board of Behavioral Health, proof of your education, supervised clinical experience, and exam scores. You may also be required to submit a background check and pay a licensing fee ranging from $100 – $200.

Be sure to review the specific licensure requirements for your desired area of specialization, as the criteria may vary slightly depending on the type of counseling license you are seeking. Also, remember that licensure requirements can change over time so staying informed of any updates to the Montana licensing process is essential.

Step 6: Engage in Professional Development

Once you have become a licensed counselor in Montana, engaging in ongoing professional development and continuing education opportunities is essential. Maintaining a high level of knowledge and skill in your field will benefit your clients and help you stay competitive in the job market and advance your career. If you will provide professional service or build a business to practice your counseling profession, consider forming a Professional Corporation in Montana. If you have a colleague with the same profession as a counselor, consider forming a General Partnership in Montana

In Montana, counselors must complete several continuing education hours every licensure renewal period. These requirements may vary depending on your area of specialization and the specific regulations of the Montana Board of Behavioral Health. Continuing education opportunities can include workshops, conferences, online courses, and academic coursework related to counseling theory, practice, and ethics.

In addition to continuing education, consider joining professional associations related to your specialization. These organizations offer valuable networking opportunities, access to research and resources, and advocacy for the counseling profession. Some examples of professional associations for counselors include the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES).

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How Much Does a Counselor Make in Montana?

The salary for a counselor in Montana can vary depending on factors such as experience, education, and area of specialization. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, the median annual wage for mental health counselors in the United States was $47,660.


What are the education requirements for becoming a counselor in Montana?
Individuals must possess at least a master’s degree in counseling or a related field to become a counselor in Montana.
Can I pursue a counseling career with just a bachelor’s degree in Montana?
No, Montana requires a minimum of a master’s degree in counseling or a related field to become licensed as a counselor.
What is the first step towards becoming a counselor in Montana?
The first step towards becoming a counselor in Montana is completing an accredited master’s degree program in counseling or a related field.
What certifications/licenses are required to become a counselor in Montana?
In Montana, counselors must be licensed by the Department of Labor and Industry’s Board of Behavioral Health.
How many hours of supervised experience do I need to become licensed as a counselor in Montana?
Montana requires a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised experience to become licensed as a counselor.
Can I become a licensed counselor in Montana without passing an exam?
No, Montana requires candidates for counselor licenses to pass a licensing exam approved by the Board of Behavioral Health.
Is there a limit to the number of times I can retake a failed licensing exam in Montana?
Montana allows candidates to reapply for the licensing exam indefinitely; however, applicants must submit additional application fees for each attempt.
Can I take an online counseling program to qualify for a counselor’s license in Montana?
Yes, Montana allows candidates to complete accredited online counseling programs to qualify for a counselor’s license.
How long does it typically take to complete an accredited master’s degree in counseling in Montana?
A typical accredited master’s degree in counseling program in Montana takes two to three years to complete.
What are the different types of counselor licenses available in Montana?
Montana offers three counselor licenses
How many continuing education credits do I need to maintain my counselor’s license in Montana?
Montana requires counselors to complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education credits biennially to maintain their license.
Are there any specific training marks required for an aspiring counselor in Montana?
Montana has specific coursework requirements for potential licensees, including coursework both in working with clients recovering from substance use disorders and in ethics.
Can I apply to become a Montana counselor with a DUI record?
Montana has individual application processes for people with a criminal record, and it will determine whether DUI conviction precludes licensing on a case-by-case basis.
What is the current hourly pay rate for a counselor in Montana?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, counselors in Montana make on average about $50,940 annually or $24.50 hourly.
Are there major limitations on accepted qualifications of out-of-Montana individuals applying to become a counselor in the state?
Montana’s licensing regulations are organized well to allow reciprocity with other states and also allows for out-of-state graduates of CACREP accredited programs to become licensed quickly, sometimes even without taking the state’s examination.
Do I need special certification or license to prescribe medications in Montana?
Yes, only psychiatrists and some advanced practice providers—i.e., nurse practitioners, physiciana assistants—can prescribe mental health medications.
Is dual license available in Montana?
Yes, Montana does offer a joint licensure so you can become licensed as an addictions counselor or mental health counselor.
How much does it cost to become licensed as a counselor in Montana?
The cost of licensure in Montana varies and ranges from $385 for initial license applications to $30 for renewals and $265 for examinations.
What behavioral practices are banned by Montana Law?
Religious conversion therapy of most individuals under the age of 18 is currently banned for trying to change sexual orientation.
Are there dedicated counseling programs in Montana only for veterans?
Montana is home to several counseling programs that cater millions of US veterans like improved screenings and counseling opportunities available at the VA Outpatient Clinic.
Can I perform group therapy sessions as an intern in Montana?
Montana behavioral laws/restrictions allow supervised interns to work with groups no larger than 10 until licensed.
I am conducting a reentry session for previously incarcerated Montanans, can I achieve a practicum placement setting that caters towards them?
It is very likely you could obtain work dealing with previously incarcerated individuals while earning your practicum hours, however those placement opportunities vary by internship site.
What steps do I have to take to specialize in watching over sexual abuse or domestic violence situations above and beyond your average marriage troubles?
Certification as an advocate for either issue is available from the state’s advocacy DBPH and requires training programs and obloquy of 8 related coursework indications.
How many years of experience can I obtain as a counselor intern in Montana?
Montana allows candidates to acquire the necessary experience of no less than two-years via an eligible graduate program underway intern work regardless of requirementst!
As a counselor, is it legal for me to include rying for medical marijuana in my professional therapy?
Pursuing medical marijuana prescribing alongside mental health therapy might lead to an investigation from the government and cause an ethical breach.
Can you acquire permission to undergo regular monitoring so you can upgrade credentials in Montana?
Individuals under monitoring, based on their professional qualifications, accreditation and healthy wellbeing might be able to meet their monitoring requisites needed to amend their credentials early like auditing mode.
What is licensed mental health counselor associate in the Montana Context?
A licensed mental health counselor associate is a person pursuing qualification to become a fully registered counselor in Montana.
How can licensure be gained through private education in Montana?
In Montana, the apprenticing process guarantees we educational administration admission basic competencies before becoming a professional counselor, even if an accredited training organisation isn’t hosting the schooling.
What varies in the strategic counseling compared to an advanced professional or clinical certificationic requirement?
Graduates pairing clinical practice or pharmacy must consider therapists to interact patients with different communicative challenge types to better deal with the differences.
What kind of education is required to become a counselor in Montana?
To become a counselor in Montana, you’ll typically need to earn a master’s degree in counseling or a related field from an accredited university or college.
What are the licensing requirements for counselors in Montana?
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in Montana must possess 3,000 hours of supervised professional counseling experience and pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE).
Can I become a counselor in Montana with just a bachelor’s degree?
While a bachelor’s degree in counseling or a related field can be helpful, a master’s degree is typically required to become a licensed counselor in Montana.
Do I need to pass any exams to become a counselor in Montana?
Yes, to become a licensed counselor in Montana, you’ll need to pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE).
Can I become a counselor in Montana if I have a criminal record?
Having a criminal record may impact your ability to become a licensed counselor in Montana. It is important to be upfront about any past convictions when applying for licensure.
Is there a high demand for counselors in Montana?
Yes, there is currently a high demand for counselors in Montana, particularly in rural areas.
What are some common areas of counseling practice in Montana?
Common areas of counseling practice in Montana include family therapy, addiction counseling, and trauma counseling.
How long does it take to become a licensed counselor in Montana?
It typically takes around six years of education and professional experience to become a licensed counselor in Montana.
Can I become a licensed counselor in Montana if I completed my education in another state?
Yes, as long as you meet Montana’s licensing requirements and pass the required exams, you can become a licensed counselor in Montana even if you completed your education in another state.
Can I work as a counselor in Montana without a license?
While some counseling jobs may not require a license, it is generally recommended to become licensed in order to practice counseling in Montana.
What is the average salary for counselors in Montana?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for counselors in Montana is $45,840.
What types of organizations hire counselors in Montana?
Counseling positions can be found in a variety of organizations, including schools, hospitals, and private practices.
Can I become a school counselor in Montana with a counseling degree?
Yes, those with a master’s degree in counseling can become certified as school counselors in Montana.
How do I find supervised counseling experience in Montana?
Many universities offer supervised counseling internships and practicums that can help you gain the required professional experience in Montana.
Are there scholarships or grants available for counseling students in Montana?
Yes, there are a variety of scholarships and grants available for counseling students in Montana, including the Montana Counseling Association Scholarship and the Montana Board of Regents Scholarship.
How do I renew my counseling license in Montana?
To renew your counseling license in Montana, you’ll need to complete continuing education credits and submit your renewal application to the Montana Board of Behavioral Health.
What are some common ethical considerations for counselors in Montana?
Counselors in Montana must adhere to ethical guidelines around maintaining client confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, and seeking professional development.
Can I provide online counseling services in Montana?
Yes, online counseling services can be provided in Montana, but counselors must follow state guidelines for providing teletherapy.
Can I become a counselor in Montana if English is not my first language?
Yes, as long as you can communicate effectively in English and meet other competency requirements, you can become a licensed counselor in Montana.
Are there opportunities to specialize in counseling for specific populations in Montana?
Yes, there are many opportunities to specialize in counseling for specific populations in Montana, including veterans, Native American communities, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
Can I provide counseling services in a language other than English in Montana?
If you can demonstrate fluency in another language and meet all other licensing requirements, you may be able to offer counseling services in that language.
Can I become a counselor in Montana if I have a disability?
Yes, counseling is a profession that values diversity, and disabilities should not impact your ability to become a counselor in Montana as long as you can perform the necessary job requirements.
How do I make a formal complaint about a counselor in Montana?
Complaints about counselor misconduct can be filed with the Montana Board of Behavioral Health.
How does Montana regulate the practice of counseling?
Counseling in Montana is regulated by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and the Board of Behavioral Health.
Can I become a licensed addiction counselor in Montana?
Yes, a specific license for addiction counselors, the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), is available in Montana.
How do I get started with a counseling career in Montana?
To get started with a counseling career in Montana, you’ll need to research graduate programs, seek out professional counseling experience, and complete required exams and licensure applications.
Is it possible to become a counselor in Montana part-time or online?
There are some online and part-time graduate programs available for those who wish to become counselors in Montana.
Are there any counseling-related professional organizations or associations in Montana?
Yes, the Montana Counseling Association and Montana School Counselor Association are just a few of the counseling-related professional organizations operating in Montana.

Also Read

How to Save Money While Starting a Becoming Counselor in Montana

Firstly, it’s crucial to carefully consider your education options. Pursuing a counseling degree or certification can be an expensive endeavor, but there are ways to minimize costs. One cost-effective approach is to explore local community colleges or online programs that offer counseling courses at a lower tuition rate. By choosing more affordable options, you can efficiently manage your education expenses while acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills to become a competent counselor.

Additionally, before diving into any Program, take your time to research and compare various options available in Montana. Nowadays, many institutions offer financial aid, scholarships, or grants specifically tailored to counseling students. By thoroughly investigating scholarships and financial aid opportunities, you can potentially reduce your tuition burden and avoid accumulating excessive student loans.

Another helpful strategy is to seek out professional organizations and associations related to the counseling field. These organizations often offer discounted rates for student members, providing a valuable networking opportunity while saving money. In addition to the financial advantages, being part of a community of counseling professionals can open doors for mentorship, professional development, and potential job leads.

Furthermore, internships and supervised counseling experiences are integral parts of counselor training programs. While they are often unpaid or low-paying, these experiences offer valuable hands-on experience that is vital to your future success as a counselor. By strategically planning your coursework and scheduling internships during the summer or during rotation with part-time jobs, you can minimize your financial burdens without sacrificing these practical learning opportunities.

In the same vein, it’s important to make wise financial decisions when it comes to purchasing books and other educational materials. While textbooks are essential, consider renting them or exploring options such as e-books or alternative online resources to cut down on costs. Utilize your local library or explore interlibrary loan systems that may be available to access necessary literature free of charge.

Aspiring counselors should also consider developing their professional skills through volunteering or independent projects to bolster their resume while avoiding excessive expenses. Many nonprofits or community centers offer opportunities to provide counseling support or participate in related activities, allowing aspiring counselors to gain valuable experience while making connections within their local communities.

Finally, don’t underestimate the significance of budgeting and financial planning. Starting a new career often means tight budgets and uncertain income, so it’s crucial to create a realistic budget based on your present financial situation and carefully manage your expenses. Learning good financial habits early on will help you navigate fiscal challenges in the long term.

By cautiously approaching educational costs, seeking out available financial aid, utilizing professional organizations, and making informed decisions throughout your journey, aspiring counselors in Montana can successfully navigate the financial challenges of starting their career. Remember, overcoming financial hurdles is possible, and with determination and dedication, your dream of becoming a counselor can become a reality.


Becoming a counselor in Montana is a rewarding and fulfilling career path for those passionate about helping others overcome challenges and improve their mental health and well-being. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you will be well on your way to becoming a licensed counselor and positively impacting the lives of those in need. Remember to stay informed of any changes to the licensure requirements and engage in ongoing professional development to ensure that you continue to provide the highest quality of care to your clients.

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