School Counselors

Do you love being in a school? Want to add something else to your repertoire or maybe you need a change? How about obtaining your Virginia LPC?

I often get asked HOW I switched from school counseling to private practice….

I love school counseling, and have worked with some of the BEST! But I quickly realized in the school setting that I worked best one-on-one or in small groups, and desired more TIME than schools can provide for counseling, and I DESPERATELY wanted more opportunity for psychoeducation with PARENTS. For these reasons I pursued my LPC and switched to private practice.

My hope is to provide concrete action items for school counselors who want to increase their impact with students. By pursuing your LPC license, you increase you ability to serve the population that you desire.

Let’s dig in and see what your licensure journey will look like…

Educational Requirements

The Virginia Department of Health Professions states that you must have 12 classes from your graduate program as well as a supervised internship in order to apply for LPC Residency.

Professional Counselor Identity, Profession and Ethics

Theories of Psychotherapy and Counseling

Counseling and Psychotherapy Techniques

Human Growth & Development

Group Counseling Theories and Techniques

Career Counseling Theories and Techniques

Appraisal, Evaluation and Diagnostic Procedures

Abnormal Behavior and Psychopathology

Multi-Cultural Counseling


Diagnosis/Treatment of Addictive Disorders

Marriage/Family Systems Theory

If you graduated from a CACREP 60 credit master’s program, you DID these classes, they were just “called” something else! Email me if need help determining which class fills which requirement.

Paperwork & Examination

There is a LOT of paperwork involved with licensure. To start, you will apply for a Resident License with the state of Virginia.

You will track hours that you have worked, both direct and indirect. There will be a signed contract between you and a supervisor. There are quarterly forms that need to be signed by your supervisor and yourself. Residency is 3400 hours (2000 have to be direct) and 200 supervised hours (only 100 can be group supervision.)

During your residency it is smart to start studying for your boards, in this case that is the NCMHCE given by the NBCC.

A popular study program is, I recommend both a smart phone app that gives you 5-10 questions a day, along with the ability to do full scenarios. I studied for 4.5 months and passed easily. Make sure that you are strong in ALL areas of the exam before signing up.


Finding a clinical supervisor is a VERY important part of the process. Go the the VDHP website and click on the Approved Supervisor Registry and put in your desired zip code. Make sure to interview multiple supervisors to see who is the best fit. This will include what hours they can meet you for supervision, their personality, the main theories they use in their counseling practice, and their familiarity in schools and with kids.

Adding additional supervisors is allowed and I think should be encouraged. Group supervision is also a great way to hear lots of different perspectives and learn many therapeutic techniques.

LOG ALL YOUR HOURS in a timely manner. Residency is anywhere from 21 months to 4 years. SCHOOL COUNSELING HOURS COUNT!!!

Email me at if you would like me to send you an Excel sheet that helps track you hours!

In four years you can be in the same place, doing the same thing, or you can have made a change that shifts the entire trajectory of your future. If you need help making that change, I’m here to help!

Karin Purugganan MA, MEd, LPC, NCC

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