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North Dakota State Licensing Requirements

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North Dakota is a great place to practice in the fields of therapy, professional counseling, psychology or social work. There are a lot of big schools here like North Dakota State University in Fargo and the University of ND in Grand Forks, as well as other qualified institutions of higher learning.

But what degree will you need to legally practice, and what are the requirements to get licensed in the different helping professions?

Licensure protects the public from unregulated practitioners who might not uphold the highest standards. By requiring people to get licensed, North Dakota seeks to set high standards of education, training and experience for people wanting to join the helping professions.

If you want to get the education, training and skills to help people cope with life issues (such as anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder [SAD] and substance abuse), overcome mental-health problems, and generally improve the quality of their lives, learn about getting licensed in the following professions.

Licensure to Practice in North Dakota

Licensing is required before you can legally practice social work, psychology, therapy or professional counseling.

Once you’ve earned your degree, you’ll need to pass a state and/or national exam and meet other licensing requirements in your particular field. Here are some of the requirements to practice in the following fields, according to the North Dakota State Board of Psychologist Examiners and other regulatory entities. Make sure to consult the appropriate regulatory body to review the complete, most up-to-date requirements.


  • Get a doctoral degree in psychology from a program from an accredited program
  • At least two full years of supervised professional experience, one year of which must be an internship program, and one year of which may be post-doctoral.
  • A passing score on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
  • A passing score on the state oral exam covering ethical and legal issues related to the practice of psychology in North Dakota

Clinical psychologist salary in North Dakota

Clinical and Counseling Psychologists
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Median Hourly Wage$49

Job growth9.9%

Total Employment150

Metro area Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Grand Forks, ND-MN $100,670 $62,570 $193,490
Fargo, ND-MN $100,660 $60,430 $178,510
Bismarck, ND $99,990 $48,550 $178,900

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2031. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in counseling from an accredited institution of higher learning
  • Two years of supervised post-master’s experience under a licensed professional counselor (practicum and internship); 3,000 hours of clinical experience in a clinical setting, including 100 hours of face-to-face supervision and a minimum of 60 hours of individual supervision
  • Passing grade on the National Board for Certified Counselor’s National Counselor Examination (NCE)

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)

  • Master’s or doctoral degree in marital and family therapy from a regionally accredited institution of higher education
  • Two years of supervised work experience in marriage and family therapy
  • A passing grade on the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB)

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

  • Earn a master’s or doctoral degree in social work from a college or university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • 2,000 hours of supervised social work practice, but you may count up to 500 hours of experience earned during your graduate program to this total
  • Get a passing score on the national exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)

Making the Most of Your Degree

Once you know which of these fields you want to pursue and you’ve begun your graduate studies, it might be helpful to look into professional associations that accept students. Membership in organizations such as the North Dakota Psychological Association offers great benefits:

  • Access to job databases and community resources
  • Forums for interacting with peers and experts in your field
  • Information about legislation that affects your work, and lobbying efforts to protect your professional interests
  • Consultation with advocates in your profession regarding legal and ethical issues

So which career is right for you: psychologist, counselor, therapist or social worker? Start early and research your licensure requirements and degree options to make sure that you’ll be efficient in your studies, won’t have any licensing problems, and can get into the right helping profession for you.

Sources: www.ndsbpe.org, www.ndbce.org, www.ndmftlb.org, www.ndbswe.com