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Thursday, July 5, 2018

My Journey to Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern

I want to apologize for how long this may be. I had had a lot of requests and messages for this post, so here you go! :)
When I began graduate school right after undergraduate, I knew I wanted to one day be a licensed
professional counselor (I kind of want to be everything one day). I had it all planned out. I would
graduate with my Masters degree and would immediately start my hours towards becoming a licensed
professional counselor but as life usually works, things didn’t go as planned. When I started graduate
school the plan was to wait years before having kiddos. When I graduated in December 2009, I had a
2 and half year old precious boy and was pregnant with a baby girl. Although, my dream was to do it,
being a mom that could devote more time to my babies was much more important and I don’t ever
regret it. Being a full time working mom of 2 kids under 3 and working on those hours would have
been too much at the time.

Fast forward 8 years later. Becoming a LPC had still been on my heart and one day after thyroid
surgery, I received a call that really prompted me to go after it. I got a call from the surgeon saying
they had found a small amount of malignant carcinoma. I went to the next doctor which said it was
papillary thyroid cancer. It was all taken out and they continue to monitor. It was such a blessing that
it was all pretty quick and easy.

However, that experience really made me reflect. What if it would have been worse? What if it ever got
bad to where I couldn’t have worked full time? Being a wife and mom are my top priorities but I also
find so much joy working with people. I felt as if all of that was a push from God. I talked to my
husband and knew this was the next step for me. I do not have plans of pursuing this full time or
anything because I LOVE working in the schools but knew it was something I wanted to do and soon.
I immediately began studying for the NCE. Below are the steps I had to do and check off:

-I first had to go to my state’s website (I am in Texas) to see what the requirements were. I printed it off and made a checklist. One of the things that comes up is what kind of degree or classes are required. When I worked on my masters I did not get a Masters of Education, I received a Masters of Science. I went with the 3 and a half years degree plan, it was around 63 something hours. It included what I needed to be a LPC (clinical and classes on diagnosis) and a school counselor.

-I had to get approved through the National Board of Certified Counselors to take the National
Counseling Exam (which is required in my state and almost all I believe). I had to fill out some forms
and get my graduate transcript to them to ensure I had the correct degree/classes. Make sure when
you do this step to ensure you are applying to take the test and not to become a national board
certified counselor. You can do both but it not done correctly you won’t get approved to take the
needed test (I almost made that mistake).

-I studied as hard as I ever had in my life for the test. Remember I had a 9 year gap between
graduating with my masters so I had to refresh on a lot of material, especially the new DSM-5. I am a
positive person but I was almost certain I was not going to pass (where was my positive self talk,
right...lol). I used a great website I found online called National Counseling exam. It was exactly what
I needed. You can choose how many days you would like to use the program. It had printable features
like study guides which I made a binder out of but I mostly used the online study tools and practice
exams which were the most helpful part.

-After passing the exam, I began to look for a supervisor. You must secure a supervisor and
have them complete an agreement with you before you can submit all your paperwork to the state. I
simply looked online. There were so many great ones out there but I knew I wanted someone with
different experiences than I had. My background is all school so I knew I wanted to expand my
knowledge base so I looked for someone that had more of a hospital/clinical background. I contacted
her, we met up to see if we were both a good fit for each other, and I had my first supervision this past
week. Once you are officially approved through the state, you can begin your hours. I can tell I am
going to love supervision time with her. I already learned something new!

-After I completed the test, finding a supervisor, and gathering all the required documentation

(transcripts, application, state paperwork), I took the Texas Jurisprudence exam. This is not a pass/fail
test, this is more a review of ethics in regards to counseling.

-I bought a bright pink envelope because I wanted to send this in a “counselor version-Elle Woods”
way. I wanted it to stand out because I knew it was going to take months to get approval. I sent it the
fastest way possible. (Note: It did take around 2 months but not as bad as I had expected).

-Now I am working on getting my 3000 supervised hours. 1500 are direct counseling (counseling

and conversations with parents/families) and 1500 indirect (assessments, researching, documentation,
weekly meetings with my supervisor).

Finally a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern under the supervision of Erin James LPC-S

I hope that helps if you are considering starting the process. Just a reminder that I am in Texas so if you
are in another state, the requirements could be different. Please feel free to message me any

There are some exciting things with the blog coming up!! I have a collaboration in the works with
another blogger! We will have a bit of spin off with a FB group, new blog, and more!

I am also working on a Top 10 Back to School post and I can’t wait to share it with you! Hope you are
all enjoying your summer!

Love & Positive Vibes,

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