Mental Health Counselor

Department of Public Health


Mental health counselors provide counseling services involving assessment, referral, consultation, and the application of counseling, human development principles, learning theory, group dynamics, and the etiology of maladjustment and dysfunctional behavior to individuals, families, and groups. They help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse, family, parenting, and marital problems, suicide, stress management, problems with self-esteem, problems associated with aging, and other issues of mental and emotional health. Mental health counselors work closely with other mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses and school counselors.

Code Citation IC, Chapter 154D; IAC 645–31

Who Applies Persons who wish to provide clients with mental health counseling.

When To Apply After meeting academic requirements and passing the national examination.

Initial Requirements An applicant must hold a master`s degree or a doctoral degree in mental health counseling or its equivalent from an accredited college or university, have two years of supervised clinical experience, and pass a National Examination. Provisions for licensure by interstate endorsement have been made if another state`s requirements are equivalent to Iowa`s. An applicant who has achieved Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor status with the National Academy of Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselors is considered to have met the clinical experience requirements. Since April 2, 1998, licensure to practice the profession of Mental Health Counseling has been mandatory. Qualified members of other professions may provide services of a mental health counseling nature consistent with the accepted standards of their respective professions, but these persons shall not use a title or description denoting that they are licensed mental health counselors without first securing licensure. The Iowa Department of Public Health can be contacted to ascertain the various exemptions associated with this Act.

Duration Two years.

Processing Time Four weeks.

Fee Structure Application: $120 Renewal: $120

Renewal Requirements Forty hours of continuing education are required biennially for license renewal.

Exam Applicants will receive exam information after being approved by the Board of Behavioral Science.

Additional Information Iowa Department of Public Health Web site:

Services Provided

Service Category

  • Service SubCategory
Contact Information
Vicky Winter-Clearman
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319