Why do counselor rates differ and what do all these titles mean?!
We know all the titles can be confusing. It took us some time to memorize them in school! Counselor’s rates are based on education level, certification and experience, which all take time and money to obtain. Let’s break it down:
Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Master of Science (M.S.): These degrees take 2-3 years as a full time student to complete including 700-750 hours of counseling work and lots of classes!
*M.Ed.- We know the “education” part in Master of Education can be a little misleading. Many Mental Health Counseling programs are considered part of the education department at colleges, because our profession blossomed out of the school counseling field. That is why it is called a Masters of Education.
Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider (LPC-MHSP): The counselor has finally made it…..whew. This means that the counselor has completed 3,000 hours of supervised counseling work, passed licensure examinations, and can now practice unsupervised. This takes about 2 years to complete after completing graduate school. All of our “Master’s Level” counselors are working on obtaining their licenses and carefully counting those hours! Only our LPC-MHSP clinician can help you to file for out of-network insurance benefits (confusing we know).
Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.):This degree takes about 4 years as a full time student to complete including a minimum of 1500 hours of counseling work, completion of a large research project (dissertation), and lots of classes!
Licensed Psychologist-Health Service Provider (HSP): This therapist has completed a doctoral degree, 3,000 hours of supervised counseling work, passed licensure examinations, and can now practice unsupervised. This takes about 2 years to complete after completing graduate school. This clinician can help you to file for out of-network insurance benefits.
Temporary Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider (LPC-MHSP Temp): This means that the counselor is working towards their license and has already done some of the leg work for licensure. This title is not required if you are working toward licensure, but it streamlines the process and forms a professional relationship with the licensure board before even obtaining the license. It tells the licensure board “Look out for me! Here I come!”
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC): This is a person who specializes in helping people with substance abuse issues.
Interns: Our interns are doing those clinical hours we talked about above. To obtain their Master’s degree, they must complete 700-750 clinical hours in their last year of their degree. They are under Mary Ann and Natalie’s supervision who are both licensed.
National Certified Counselor (NCC): This means the counselor has passed the National Certification Examination and has a professional affiliation with the National Board for Certified Counselors.
Certifications (ex. EMDR, IFS, Play Therapy, etc.): These are extra trainings that counselor’s complete to gain more expertise in an area. They take time and money, but they make us better counselors!
Note: Why are counselors called therapists or psychotherapists? “Therapist “or “Psychotherapist” are broad terms that just mean you provide mental health services, but you do not prescribe medicine.