Your Guide to Career Counselor Training in Oregon: Paths & Programs Explored

If you’re aiming to become a career counselor in Oregon, understanding the path to certification and licensure is crucial. This guide outlines the essential steps for career counselor training in Oregon, from accredited educational programs to hands-on internship requirements, equipping you with the knowledge to embark on your counseling career.

Search Certified Life Coach Programs

Get information on programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings
  • A Master’s degree accredited by CACREP with at least 48 semester hours and a required amount of practical experience through internships with direct client contact are essential for becoming a career counselor in Oregon.
  • Licensure for career counselors in Oregon involves passing specific examinations, fulfilling supervised work experience, and paying associated fees, with annual continuing education required to maintain licensure.
  • Oregon offers diverse career counseling educational programs at various institutions, providing comprehensive training and specializations to meet the escalating demand for qualified counselors in multiple work settings.

Oregon’s Career Counseling Landscape

Career counseling in Oregon is a vibrant and multi-faceted profession. Career counselors in the state play a pivotal role, assisting students and clients to clarify their interests, strengths, and goals. Moreover, they help in developing actionable steps for future endeavors, fostering career development and career planning.

Licensed counselors in Oregon find a variety of work settings, including:

  • Community-based organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Agencies
  • Group practices

The job market for career counselors is growing faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. It’s estimated that 26,600 job openings for school and career counselors are anticipated each year. This growth is driven largely by workforce replacements such as retirements and job changes.

How to Become a Career Counselor in Oregon: Education and Training Requirements

Becoming a career counselor in Oregon requires a solid educational foundation. The first step is obtaining a Master’s degree in Counseling or a related field such as Counseling and Guidance. Candidates often have an undergraduate background in psychology, human development, or related fields such as psychology and human services.

Not all Master’s degrees are created equal. The state of Oregon requires a degree that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This degree must include at least 48 semester hours covering essential topics like counseling theory and human growth. Graduate programs in career counseling in Oregon typically last two years.

Graduate Degree Programs

Graduate degree programs in counseling provide a solid foundation for future career counselors. These programs equip students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills to excel in their professional roles. For individuals lacking a background in psychology or human development, preparatory courses such as an online Introduction to Psychology might be beneficial.

A prime example of such a program is the Professional Mental Health Counseling program at Lewis & Clark College. This program is designed to:

  • Ground students in theory
  • Equip them with clinical intervention skills
  • Prepare students to become professional counselors capable of delivering high-quality mental health services in various settings.

Accredited Programs

Accreditation plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality of education. In Oregon, the state mandates that counseling programs should be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Accreditation ensures that the program meets the high standards necessary to prepare graduates for the counseling profession.

Accreditation not only ensures the quality of education but also boosts the career prospects of graduates. Those who graduate from accredited programs have better chances of being competitive in the job market. Additionally, they may also have more career opportunities available to them. An example of a CACREP accredited program in Oregon is the school counseling program at George Fox University.

Gaining Practical Experience: Internships and Supervision

While academic qualifications are essential, practical experience is just as crucial in developing the skills necessary for a career in counseling. Internship hours for counseling students in Oregon offer a hands-on experience that is invaluable in honing these practical skills. Additionally, supervised clinical practicum or internship experience is a requirement for graduate degree programs for career counselors in the state.

Clinical supervision is a crucial aspect of training for future counselors. In Oregon, it involves a mentoring process where Approved Clinical Supervisors provide feedback and guidance on counseling practices to mental health professionals on the path to licensure. This supervised experience is invaluable in shaping competent and effective counselors.

Internship Opportunities

Internships provide a platform for students to apply their theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting. For licensure as a professional counselor in Oregon, a clinical or applied experience, referred to as an internship, must comprise a minimum of 700 clock hours. Internship experiences are crucial for developing practical skills necessary for effective counseling practice in the state.

Direct interaction with clients is a key component of these internships. Within the 700 hours of internship, at least 280 hours must be in direct client contact. This hands-on experience with clients provides invaluable practical client interaction experiences, preparing students for their future roles as professional counselors.

Supervision Requirements

Supervised experience is a crucial part of the licensure process in Oregon. To be licensed as a professional counselor, a total of 2,400 hours of supervised work experience is required, with at least 50 percent of those hours dedicated to direct client contact. This supervised experience provides a safety net for trainees, allowing them to learn and grow in a supportive environment.

Supervised experience completed post-graduate degree in another jurisdiction may contribute towards the direct client contact hours required for licensure in Oregon. Reciprocity applicants can apply up to five years of post-licensure clinical experience to replace up to a maximum of 500 hours of the required supervised direct client contact hours for licensure. This flexibility allows candidates to leverage their experience and fast-track their path to licensure.

Certification and Licensure for Career Counselors in Oregon

Becoming a certified and licensed career counselor in Oregon involves various steps. These include passing required exams, meeting the clinical hour requirements, and paying the necessary licensure fees. The licensure application process includes requirements such as exams, clinical hours, background checks, and continuing education. For out-of-state and international candidates, additional requirements must be met.

Licensure is a rigorous process, but candidates have the possibility to remedy certain types of deficiencies to meet the qualifications for licensure in Oregon. It’s essential to verify the current licensure requirements with Oregon’s state board of licensing, as they are subject to change. Counselors with licenses in other states also have the option of licensure by reciprocity in Oregon.


Examinations are an integral part of the licensure process. Career counselor applicants in Oregon must pass several exams to qualify for licensure. These include:

After their licensure application is approved, applicants must complete the open-book, untimed Oregon Law and Rules Exam in one sitting. This exam tests the applicants’ understanding of Oregon’s laws and rules related to the counseling profession. Passing this exam is a crucial step towards becoming a licensed counselor in Oregon.

Licensure Fees

Becoming a licensed counselor in Oregon involves certain fees. The application fee for counselor licensure is $175, which includes the cost of a criminal background check performed by the Board. Once approved, the initial license fee cost is $125.

Annual renewal fees for Oregon counselors are $165 for an active status license and $100 for an inactive status license. There are additional fees for late renewals, reactivation of an inactive license, duplicates of a license, verification of licensure or examination scores, and temporary practice authorization. It’s important for aspiring counselors to factor in these fees when planning their career path.

Top Career Counseling Programs in Oregon

Choosing the right career counseling program is a crucial step towards a successful career in this field. Oregon is home to several top-notch career counseling programs that offer comprehensive education and training in various counseling specializations. From programs focusing on clinical mental health counseling to those emphasizing school counseling, there’s a program to suit every aspiring counselor’s interests.

These programs offer a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience, preparing students to excel in their chosen field. They’re taught by experienced professionals who bring their real-world experience into the classroom, providing students with an understanding of the challenges and rewards of the counseling profession. Let’s explore some of these top-rated programs in more detail.

Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. This program prepares students to become competent, culturally aware, and ethical mental health counselors. It equips them with the skills necessary to provide high-quality mental health services in a variety of public and private settings.

The program’s comprehensive curriculum ensures that students are well-prepared for the challenges of the counseling profession upon successful completion. It provides them with a strong foundation in counseling theory and practice, preparing them for diverse counseling roles. Graduates of this program are well-equipped to meet the needs of their future clients and contribute positively to the counseling profession.

University of Oregon

The University of Oregon’s Counseling Psychology (CPSY) Program offers:

  • One of the oldest accredited doctoral programs in the U.S.
  • Training in prevention and intervention strategies for various populations
  • Emphasis on support for diverse and underserved communities.

The CPSY program provides students with a breadth of knowledge and skills, preparing them for a range of roles in the counseling profession. Graduates of this program often become professors, researchers, and licensed psychologists in a range of settings.

A unique aspect of this program is its Spanish Language Specialization, which equips students with the skills necessary to work with Spanish-speaking populations.

George Fox University

George Fox University’s Master’s in School Counseling program is designed to prepare students for roles in K-12 educational settings. The program aligns with the American School Counselor Association’s National Model, ensuring that students receive a comprehensive and up-to-date education.

The program trains students to work effectively with children in various school environments. It equips them with skills in individual and group counseling and provides a deep understanding of personal, social, career, and academic development within a trauma-informed framework. Upon completing the program, graduates possess the qualifications necessary to pursue licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors, expanding their professional opportunities.

Lewis and Clark College

Lewis and Clark College’s Professional Mental Health Counseling program prepares students to become ethical and compassionate mental health professionals. The program emphasizes social justice and incorporates multiple theoretical perspectives, facilitating students in developing their own practice framework.

The program is unique in its focus on the impact of power, privilege, and oppression on individuals’ well-being and the therapeutic process. It includes focus options like:

  • counseling with LGBT+ clients
  • feminist counseling
  • mind/body/spirit/creativity
  • community/professional advocacy
  • ecotherapies
  • addressing eating disorders

This diverse range of focus options allows students to tailor their education to their interests and career goals.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University offers a Master of Counseling (M.Coun) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. This program employs a hybrid format that blends asynchronous online learning with in-person class meetings, catering to working students and those with various responsibilities.

The M.Coun program:

  • is designed to be completed in approximately 3 years
  • is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), ensuring the quality and recognition of the counseling education provided
  • graduates of this program are well-prepared to meet the challenges of the counseling profession and make a positive impact on the lives of their future clients.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Continuing education and professional development are essential components of a successful career in counseling. In Oregon, Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) must complete 80 hours of continuing education every 48 months to maintain their expertise in professional counseling. This requirement includes specific hours for:

  • Ethics training
  • Cultural competency
  • Supervision-related training
  • Suicide risk assessment training

As a licensed professional counselor, staying up-to-date with these requirements is crucial for maintaining your licensure and providing the best care to your clients.

Continuing education can be pursued through various methods, including:

  • College or university courses
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Conferences
  • Trainings
  • Distance learning options

Compliance with these requirements is monitored through audits by the Board, and counselors may face penalties or suspension of their license upon failing an audit. However, in instances of serious illness or disability, exemptions or extensions for continuing education requirements may be granted.

Career Opportunities and Salary Expectations for Career Counselors in Oregon

Career counselors in Oregon can expect competitive salaries and a wide range of job opportunities. As of May 2023, the median annual wage for school and career counselors and advisors in Oregon was $61,710. The projected job market growth for school and career counselors in Oregon is at 5%, while for licensed counselors, it’s at 18% from 2022 to 2032.

These counselors find employment in a variety of settings, including career counseling services and rehabilitation counseling at:

  • colleges
  • universities
  • career centers
  • private practice settings

The increasing demand for these professionals, coupled with the diverse range of work settings, makes Oregon a promising destination for individuals seeking a career in counseling.