How to Become a Therapist in Texas
With a growing number of people seeking mental health support, there’s been an increased demand for professionals to provide help to individuals overcoming their internal trials. Positions for marriage and family therapists, for example, are projected to grow 14 percent by 2031—that’s nearly three times faster than the average for all occupations nationwide.
If you’ve ever considered a career as a therapist, there’s never been a better time. You’d be on a promising career path that would allow you to put your compassion to work. Keep reading to find out how to become a therapist in Texas and begin making a profound impact in your community.
What types of therapists are there?
Those interested in working in mental health may be surprised to learn just how many kinds of therapist jobs there are. Whether you’d like to focus on assisting children in a school setting, providing end-of-life therapy in a nursing home or working with clients anywhere in between, you can find a specialty that aligns with your skills and interests.
Consider this sampling of the many types of therapy careers you could pursue:
- Addiction therapist
- Behavioral therapist
- Child therapist
- Clinical therapist
- Couples' therapist
- Exercise therapist
- School therapist
- Trauma therapist
- Nutritional therapist
Regardless of which specialty you’re interested in, you’ll need to meet certain therapist requirements in order to become a licensed therapist in Texas. Read on to learn more about this process.
Becoming a therapist in Texas: 5 steps you’ll need to take
To practice as a therapist in Texas, you’ll need to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Here is an overview of the steps to achieving this:
1. Acquire a bachelor’s degree
Regardless of what type of therapist you hope to become, the first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. There is no specific degree field required, but it’s a good idea to choose a subject that aligns with the duties of a therapist. Courses related to psychology, ethics and research, for example, would be beneficial.
Some common undergraduate degrees for future therapists include:
2. Earn a master's degree
Next on the list of requirements to be a therapist in Texas is completing a graduate program from an accredited institution. Depending on your desired career path, your master’s degree could be in counseling, psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy, or a related field.
According to the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council, appropriate graduate programs must include 60 graduate semester hours and coursework in areas such as:
- Abnormal human behavior
- Counseling theories
- Counselor ethics
- Addictions counseling
- Couples, marriage or families
In order to meet the requirements for Texas LPC licensure, you’ll need to be sure your master’s program includes a supervised practicum experience or internship. This practicum must consist of 300 or more hours, with at least 100 hours of direct client contact.
3. Complete post-graduate supervision hours
After graduating from your master’s program, you’ll need to acquire directed, post-graduate experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Texas LPC applicants must complete at least 3,000 hours of supervision, with at least 1,500 hours of client contact under the direction of an approved supervisor. This process typically takes 18–24 months to complete.
4. Pass the licensing exam
The last step to becoming a licensed therapist in Texas is to apply for your LPC license, which involves achieving a passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) and the Texas Jurisprudence Exam.
The NCE is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors and is made up of 200 multiple-choice questions. This exam is designed to assess the applicant’s knowledge, skills and abilities in effective counseling services. The Texas Jurisprudence Exam is a no-fail assessment conducted online that evaluates the applicant’s familiarity with Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors’ rules.
5. Begin practicing and continuing education
Once you’ve completed all of the steps outlined above, you are officially licensed to practice as a therapist in Texas. You can now apply all your training and passion toward a meaningful career helping others.
In order to maintain your Texas LPC status and remain eligible to practice, you’ll need to renew your license every two years. This involves paying a renewal fee and completing 24 hours of continuing education during each two-year period.
Take the first step toward becoming a therapist
If you’re ready to help meet the rising need in your community, it’s time to start planning your path forward. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology at Concordia University Texas (CTX) can help you build a strong foundation of knowledge to launch a promising career in therapy.
Students in the psychology bachelor’s degree program are exposed to new ideas and theories on human behavior and experience that can equip them for thriving therapist careers, explains Dr. Monica Yndo, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Concordia.
“Because of our work in and outside of the classroom, our students leave here educated, but they have also developed in their own identity,” Dr. Yndo elaborates. “We’ve exposed them to new cultures, ideas and perspectives. Our students are leaving the University more well-rounded than they arrived.”
For more information about how CTX can help get you started on fulfilling the requirements to be a therapist, visit our BA in Psychology program page.