20 LPC intern job sites

Sep 12, 2012 by

Sometimes people contact me asking where they can find a site for a paid job as an LPC intern, LMFT associate, or LMSW, or as a doctoral candidate in psychology or counselor education.

I love email. But I hate getting those emails.

Hear me out—I swear I’m not a curmudgeon. I like helping folks! That’s why I made this site—to offer help for folks seeking mental health internships.

I hate those emails because that question takes a long time to answer. And it’s pretty much impossible for me to do well without knowing you better.

Asking me “Where can I get a paid LPC internship?” when I don’t know anything about you or your preferences, experience and goals is like asking me to cook an awesome meal without any recipes or knowledge about your dietary preferences or food allergies.

No matter what I suggest, it’s just not going to be as good a fit as if we chatted for a bit first, maybe clarified some of your goals, and discussed your experience and unique marketable qualities.

All that said, I’m going to break my own rule.

I’m going to try and help you out, even though I don’t know a thing about what you’re looking for… other than that you’re some kind of mental health professional looking for some kind of clinical internship, and you’d probably like to be paid because, well, it may be our calling but it is also our livelihood.

So let’s get started.

A site is a site is a site? Maybe not.

Why make such a big deal out of this question?

Well, anything that you’re going to spend 3000+ hours on better be something you’re excited about. And where you work can make or break your experience.

So, back to finding a great site. I’m going to offer some general categories of the sorts of places you can start your search.

But if you’re looking for some immediate and specific leads finding LPC intern jobs in Austin, I’d go here first.

Your very long list of options

Hospitals. These include both medical and psychiatric hospitals. I find that medical hospitals tend to favor hiring LMSWs over LPCs or LMFTs in Texas. You can find positions as direct care staff, as a counselor leading groups or individual sessions, or social workers assisting with placement and referral after clients are discharged from the hospital.

Community mental health clinics. Typically there is at least community mental health clinic per county, and these often offer paid case management positions for folks with a bachelor’s degree in the social sciences. Other positions include counselors, skills trainers, rehabilitation specialists, and crisis outreach workers.

US Department of Veterans Affairs (aka, the VA). Most posted positions for the VA that I see are for psychologists or post-doc positions. However, I know of LPC interns and LMFT associates who have worked for the VA. It is a plus if you have experience with military service, but not required. Positions are counseling and advocacy-based, offering help with trauma, adjusting to civilian life, job-seeking assistance and general counseling services.

Substance abuse treatment centers. Many of these centers offer comprehensive services, from detox and medical monitoring to individual and group counseling, milieu therapy, and recovery often based on the AA/12 step program. They are often residential in nature, unless they are offering aftercare services. Frequently, there are positions open for direct care staff in these facilities.

Partial hospitalization/intensive outpatient treatment centers. Typically, these services will be focused on serving a certain client population, either based on a certain diagnosis or level of functioning. These work settings offer experience helping clients needing more structure and support than once weekly outpatient counseling visits, but do not qualify for hospitalization.

Private practices. It is possible to work in a supervised private practice in Texas as an LPC intern, LMFT associate, or LMSW seeking their LCSW. Each board has different requirements and expectations, so it is important to know the ins and outs of what is permissible for each license. This is especially true if you are dually licensed, as some boards have rules that conflict or are ambiguous.

Guidance clinics. These agencies are often state-funded and offer outpatient mental health services for underserved children and teens. Services often resemble those found at community mental health clinics, including a blend of counseling, resource referral, advocacy, and medication management services.

Shelters. Since shelters offer short-term, emergency housing, clients are usually in residence anywhere from a few days to a few months. Working in a shelter will offer you experience in helping clients stabilize while in acute crisis and a period of transition. Most shelters serve the needs of specific clients, for example, domestic violence shelters or children’s shelters.

Schools. Most school-based positions offer groups and offer individual counseling services, as well as outreach and after-school support services. You can volunteer your time through a non-profit or seek a position with a particular school, depending on your credentials and qualifications. LSSPs and folks with teaching experience often have an advantage when applying.
Group homes. Unlike shelters, clients in group homes tend to have a longer term of stay. Their needs are usually centered around a specific diagnosis or need, such as group homes for developmentally disabled adults or young women with emotional or behavioral difficulties. Positions include working as a live-in houseparent, direct care staff member, or therapist offering group or individual counseling.

Residential treatment centers. These centers offer experience working with clients who live on-site and receive intensive treatments for months or years at a time. Often, clients share similar diagnosis or age, and nearly all centers are segregated by gender. Treatment usually involves personal and group therapy, medication management, and milieu therapy governed by staff trained in behavioral intervention and de-escalation.

State agencies. Many case management positions in state agencies do not require a graduate degree for eligibility. If you are interested in a paid clinical internship, consider working for the Department of Family Protective Services, which oversees both Child Protective Services (CPS) and Adult Protective Services (APS). You might want to investigate positions with Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), or the Department of Health and Human Services.

Crisis hotlines or outreach teams. In addition to national hotlines, most large cities have one or more crisis outreach teams that perform assessments and help with placement for people in crisis. Working these jobs will teach invaluable skills about keeping a clear head in a crisis and performing skilled assessment of clients at risk.

Community referral networks. If you are interested in helping clients with community resources and referrals, working for United Way (2-1-1) in Texas will help you develop skills to perform a needs assessment by phone. It will also bring you up to speed quickly on local resources.

Courts. These positions are usually advocacy and referral-based, and tend to be a better fit for social workers than counselors. There are mental health courts and positions available to help with resource linkage and referral. Some courts offer more specialized positions, such as a child welfare and truancy officer or family foster case worker.

Career or workforce rehabilitation centers. These centers offer services designed to help disabled and unemployed folks develop job skills and find employment. Any counseling services offered are geared towards vocational development. Many programs are state-funded or are part of a charitable organization, such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army.

Churches and other places of worship. Many churches and clinics offer counseling services to their members and to the community at large. Some or all of these services may be faith-based. Many of these sites require that a counselor has an active spiritual practice, so they can better meet the needs of the parishioners and to serve the mission of the church.

Jails and detention centers. Teens and adults in the justice system often need counseling and case management services, whether they are incarcerated or on probation. Specific services include transition/re-entry counseling, in-home counseling for aftercare, and case management.

Hospices. These sites provide opportunities to assist clients and their families with end-of-life care and grief and bereavement counseling. Because hospice is designed to offer short term, intensive care, referral and short-term counseling services are the norm.

Non-profits. Most of the categories already mentioned encompass a large number of non-profit organizations. Some non-profits will offer counseling services based on the needs of a very specific group, such as refugees, homeless people, torture survivors, or children in the foster care system. You may have luck finding positions by focusing not only on the kind of setting you want to work in, but considering the particular population of clients you wish to help.


You may notice that many of these categories overlap. For example, many residential treatment facilities have a focus on substance abuse treatment. And many hospitals house intensive outpatient treatment programs.

But, by listing all these terms here for you, I’ve given you an excellent list of search terms for your mental health internship search online.

Please note: not all settings or positions here are a good fit for all mental health licenses. It is always important to confirm a good fit with board requirements and obtain approval from your supervisor before beginning work at a site.

I think this list is a good start, but I’m sure I’ve left things off—what sites or settings can you think of? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. I am an LPC-Intern, LCDC-Intern, Certified Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and EMT. I am now working at a counseling private practice but because of the summer my clients have dropped to single digits. I am looking for a job where I can excel. I was also in the Army as a combat medic for 14 years. I am now working on my PhD in Counseling and Supervision from St. Mary’s University.

    • Ann

      Hi, Ronald. Thanks for taking the time to write. It sounds like you have a tremendous amount of experience that you bring to your endeavors as a counselor-in-training. Have you considered seeking placement with the VA? They do not often hire LPC interns, though it is known to happen now and again for the right candidate– your experience as a medic and in the Army would certainly grab their attention, I think. They prefer to hire people who have personal experience with the military.

      If you’d like an opportunity to sit down and review your options in more detail– how to increase your caseload, where you might find a secondary position or new site altogether– I’d be glad to set up a consultation for you. If you’re looking for a quick bunch of options for placement opportunities in Austin, you might try the Austin Agency Resource Guide that I offer on this site. That guide provides a quick overview of 70 possible placement sites where you could gain more clients & experience.

      Best of luck in your endeavors!

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  3. Kyle

    I graduated in February with my MS in Mental Health Counseling, with outstanding references from my internship site supervisor and colleagues, with my supervisor stating that she had never had an intern able to establish such strong relationships with virtually every client I encountered.

    Since graduation I have not even had a nibble from potential employers. My resume has been professionally reviewed and deemed extremely high in quality and ability to quickly and succinctly grab interest.

    I am a white, gay male, early 50’s, with a huge amount of life experience, including: work as a caregiver providing end-of-life care to those in the terminal stages of HIV/AIDS; 4 years as supervisor of a legalized alien program, helping illegal aliens obtain legalized status and on to citizenship and even GED if desired; 4 years as a facilitator/assistant supervisor to a welfare-to-work program, with a nearly 100% African-American clientele, and one of the highest job placement rates in the state; and 5 years as a certified 6th grade teacher.
    In addition, I survived a Traumatic Brain Injury with little damage but understand the long rehabilitation process; I survived my 20’s, a decade of drug and alcohol abuse, and know the road to recovery from personal experience.
    I do not know what is preventing me from getting those contacts I need to become LPC-I and go on to full licensure. The agency I student-interned with wants to hire me, but being a non-profit, they do not currently have the funding for a new position and the only two positions which have been opened were for fully-licensed LPCs.
    I am becoming frustrated and do not know what else I can do to promote myself. I do not use social media, and am not familiar with its usefulness as a promotional tool for a career. I also live on Galveston Island which could be seen as a deterrent, but am willing to relocate to an apartment for work, using the house on off-work days while my partner of 19 years kept the home going while I established myself in my profession.

    I know I laid out a lot of personal info here but I am quite honest about who I am and what I have done, so it is not like I have revealed unknown secrets. Maybe that could be a problem?? TMI?

    If anyone can point me in a more positive direction, any input would be appreciated.

    • Ann

      Hi Kyle, thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough time finding placement after graduation– it can be very discouraging. I’ve sent you a note back channel with a couple of suggestions. Best of luck to you in your journey!

  4. robert legge

    I recently heard of a free clinic near us that is utilizing LPC interns for MH counseling under the care of a MSW. I believe they are unpaid. Our clinic is also exploring the possibility of using video conferencing for these sessions. Do you think that would be acceptable to the state licensing agency? But we are in a rural area and that would allow access to far more interns that if they had to be physically in our office. If they were offered a stipend, would that increase our chances of finding a few people? Thanks.

    • Ann

      Hi, Robert. It’s a common model for LPC interns to offer some of their time pro bono to non-profits in order to gain experience toward internship. However, offering a stipend would certainly make you a more competitive candidate for many interns, since most cannot afford to work without compensation for their entire internship! Your questions about using video conferencing and state licensing are good ones. Telemedicine (secure, HIPAA-compliant use of tech to facilitate remote treatment of clients) is a common practice in Texas for certain populations and in rural areas where few care providers are available. One other thought: you mentioned the LPC interns are working under a MSW. In Texas, LPC interns may only be supervised by LPC supervisors. However, in some states, LPC interns may be supervised by a mental health professional of a different license type for some or all of their internship hours. I’d recommend you reach out to the free clinic to speak with staff there and to consult with the licensing board directly regarding any particular questions you have about a potential partnership.

  5. LaDawn

    Hi! I have taught for over 20 years and am almost done with my LPC. I want to know if my 3000 hours as an LPCI can be obtained by opening my own private practice. I know that I would have to find a someone that would sponsor me. Is it possible to have your own practice as an LPCI? Thank you-

    • Ann

      Hi, LaDawn. This depends on your state and your license. In Texas, LPC interns are prohibited from having a private practice during their internships. However, LMFT associates in Texas are able to practice independently, provided that they receive supervision during their internship. I’d say look carefully at your particular state license’s rules and regulations to determine what’s permitted, and to follow up directly with the board if any of your questions are unanswered after a careful read of the rules. Good luck!

  6. L. Acuna

    Texas needs an overhaul in terms of mental health professionalism. This begins with internships. They should not ever be volunteer. Paid internships bring credibility to the profession. When professionals do not reward their peers with pay, it sets up the notion that counseling, therapy, psychotherapy should be pro bono for clients. When we reward up and coming interns, the entire profession is rewarded. The coursework, CEUs, memberships are exorbitant. Most therapists in private practice have to have another entirely different income source just to pay the bills. That’s inexcusable and is something never once mentioned in graduate programs, until we graduate. It’s so bad that some counselors feed off other counselors just to make ends meet — seminars, supervision, peer counseling. It’s a money race and even the LMFT group has joined in by recently and suddenly requiring increased supervision hours with no new perks for associates. It’s unfortunate that as the rules get stricter, the jobs fewer, it’s the client in need of services who ultimately pays the price. Undervalued and under-compensated interns become bankrupt, burned out, callous, or they have to look for a new profession. Wake up, Texas! 🌀

    • Ann

      I hear you! Finding paid internships can be a real hardship for new counseling graduates, particularly in cities where there are a large number of therapists and training programs. I have found that many organizations and training programs will offer discounts on trainings and memberships for new graduates and interns. The costs can still really add up, though. You mention CEUs– in Texas, LPC interns are not required to obtain CEUs. LMFT-As are required to have them, though. Private practice can be very lucrative, whether you are an intern or fully-licensed– but I think many people starting out are not fully informed about how much expense and work can be involved in getting a practice off the ground. I certainly needed a safety net for the first full year I was in independent practice, and I didn’t feel prepared for that at all. I do wish that counseling students and interns had more support during their internships– both in preparing for internship while still in school, and in finding placement after the fact. Sadly, most programs do not offer this kind of support and interns are left to figure it out their own. That’s one of the reasons I set up this site. Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts!

  7. Kristen Sanniec

    Hi there,
    My name is Kristen and I am a certified LPC-Intern and have been searching for a job since May. I have had a few bites but nothing I was interested in. I really want to work with families, couples or individuals and I’m even interested in eating disorders. We moved to Dallas two years ago and ever since moving its been so difficult to find a job. Any suggestions or locations you recommend?

    • Ann

      Hi, Kristen. I’m not very familiar with the job market in Dallas, I’m afraid. So, my best advice to you would be to take the list of 20 job sites and do some general searches online in the categories that interest you, using those key words to guide your search. So, for example, “Dallas eating disorder outpatient” and “family counseling Dallas” and “LPC intern jobs Dallas” … that is essentially how I developed the resource guides for the Austin job market for LPC interns. You can also use LinkedIn to see where LPC interns in Dallas are employed, to see if any sites grab your interest that way. It takes a fair amount of time at first, but eventually you’ll get a short list of sites that interest you that you can check up on quickly for leads. Good luck!

  8. Robin Johnson

    Hello, I’m a currently pursuing a Masters in School Counseling and have to secure a practicum in a setting outside of the school. I’m a 13 year veteran teacher and need guidance on good leads for a practicum placement. The placement has to be under a LPC that has been practicing for at least three years and is current.

    • Ann

      Hi, Robin. You’ve stumbled across the best resource I can offer for general advice on finding practicum and internship placement sites. That’s why I put this post together! If you’d like to discuss your options in more detail, feel free to touch base about scheduling a consultation. Best of luck to you in your internship journey!

  9. Robin Johnson

    I am definitely interested in scheduling a consult. Thanks for the feedback!

    • Ann

      Ok, I’ve sent you a message about setting something up. Check your inbox!

  10. DoraRGV

    Hi Ann! I am currently waiting to become approved for LPC-I. I am impressed with your web-site and thankful for your advice. I have been a school counselor for 8 years, and taught for 3 years, and I plan to get the majority of my hours at the school where I currently work. However; I would like to venture and prepare myself for working at a different site, after-school and during the summer. Thanks to your site, I now have multiple options to pursue.

  11. Tiffany Ruddy

    I will be graduating in May with my masters in mental health counseling. Currently I live in michigan and my husband and i would like to move to texas however I have been having a hard time finding a paid lpc-intern position. I have a medical background (medical assistant). My program required a lot more than texas education requirements including over 700 hours in a practicum prior to graduation in which i have completed by counseling veterans at the voa in Lansing, MI. I have a passion and desire to work with military and their families and fet a ten point perference for dod jobs due to my husband being a disabled veteran. I also have taken a number of ceu classes on veteran issues including PTSD treatment (both PE and CPT), homefront strong (family resilience program), CBT for depression, suicide in military and vererans, and ethics as it pertains to military and vererans (all trainings where through star behavioral health who partnered with center of depolyment psychology). We would like to move to any of the following areas….Temple, killeen/fort hood, Austin, round rock, San Antonio. Any suggestion or help would be greatly appreciated.

  12. Sagar patel

    Hi, I recently got accepted to a masters program in counseling and after reading all these comments and posts I feel like I should just stick to working 3 full time jobs and change my profession for going back school. I mean there’s no way I could pay for 3000hrs for an internship or not get paid for it, and in some cases you could get only 1-2 hours a week. It almost seems impossible to become a licensed counselor. I mean how do colleges expect graduates to survive for 2-3 years for internship with no pay plus the 1.5 yr in the program of internships and practicing with no pay. Logically speaking your deferment of college loans ends within 6 months, of graduation, and if your lucky enough to get 40hr a week internship with no pay is physically impossible to get by. Another fact is most places won’t even hire lpc interns the pay is so minuscule you have work two to three jobs just to pay for bills, so then I ask how are you suppose to get your 3000 hours in. Sometimes I feel that they don’t tell help you because they already got your money for your three years. ( it almost feels like getting thrown into the jungle, without proper guidance). I’m wondering if accepting my admisson is a good idea now.

    • Ann

      Hi, Sagar. Thanks for taking the time to write. I admit, not many people find their way to this site before enrolling in their graduate program– and I wish that weren’t the case. It’s really important to be informed about job prospects, earnings potential, and student loan debt ahead of time– and all of that is going to be shaped by the program you plan to attend, your location, your own personal assets and goals, and your capacity for doing clinical work. That’s not to say that this career isn’t worth your time or consideration. I love the work I do, and I know many other counselors feel similarly! But, life as a student and as an intern does offer unique challenges that require a lot of planning, and it isn’t for anyone. I’m glad you’re thinking about these things ahead of time– best of luck to you in your decision-making process!

  13. Vivian Lee

    Hi Ann,

    Thanks for a great site! I’m in the midst of a CACREP program in Texas and the info is invaluable. I had a question about post-graduate LPC-I hours. Is it possible to work at multiple places to accrue those hours faster? For example, working 20 hrs/wk at a private practice + 10 hrs at a community clinic + 10 hrs at a hospital per week? I know a lot of nonprofits love LPC-I’s but can’t offer them full time hours so you end up volunteering or working on 1099s, which is fine by me, but I’d like to get those hours over with ASAP! Does Texas have rules against working multiple jobs? Obviously one would have to be careful to keep boundaries separate and not choose competing agencies, which is why I was thinking of working vastly different sites (e.g. hospital vs. private practice). Do you have any insight?

    • Ann

      Hi, Vivian. Glad you like the site. To answer your question, yes you can absolutely have more than one site during your internship. You have to make sure that you register each site and supervisor you partner with in the board’s database, so they know where you’re working and if anything changes during the course of your internship. The board has a site/supervisor change form on their website that you can use to notify the board if you add or delete a site during your internship.

      • Vivian Lee

        Great, thank you! I came from Massachusetts, where the internship process was *very* different, so I’m glad to have stumbled upon your site for some help! Also loving your PDF guides, thanks for putting them together!