Researching how to become a counselor in Connecticut begins here. The state licenses in-state and out-of-state counselors and requires the submission of transcripts, exam scores, and other documentation for the application process. You can browse education and counseling experience requirements, such as internships and practicums, in a later section. Consider online and accredited degree programs that offer convenience, less expense, and more schedule flexibility.
Continuing education and membership in professional organizations allow counselors to grow, network, and benefit from the support of other professionals. Additionally, this resource lists counseling careers with corresponding salary data. Note that Connecticut's median salaries exceed those for the same careers in the United States, providing an incentive to learn more about counseling licensure in the state.
Counseling Careers in Connecticut
Counselors assist individuals and groups in need by developing treatment programs. They counsel children, adolescents, couples, and families, and provide treatment for those who struggle with substance abuse and behavioral disorders. Counselors get to know the people in their care to help them achieve wellness.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
Guidance and vocational counselors evaluate student abilities and interests and collaborate with other educational professionals and parents, while school counselors typically help students develop their social and academic skills.Explore Career Information Explore Connecticut School Counselor Certification
Marriage and Family Therapists
Using various techniques and tools, marriage and family therapists help clients adjust to difficult challenges. Marriage and family therapists also complete and maintain records, refer clients to other resources, and encourage clients to communicate with each other.Explore Career Information
Rehabilitation counselors provide individual and group counseling to help clients adjust to their disabilities. These counselors may also develop a treatment plan for clients, locate resources, and advocate for people with disabilities.Explore Career Information Explore Connecticut Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
Sometimes called addiction counselors, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors provide treatment and support to people who suffer from alcoholism, eating disorders, and other addiction or behavioral problems.Explore Career Information Explore Connecticut Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counselors use therapy to help those in their care. They treat individuals and groups from distinct populations such as children, young adults, and the elderly. To achieve long-lasting mental and emotional wellness, these counselors routinely treat clients in environments such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, and private practices.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in Connecticut?
Salary data for licensed counselors in Connecticut can determine which career is the best choice. The table below lists and compares counselor career salaries in Connecticut and the United States. Note that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) combines salary data for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors into a single category.
Education Requirements for Counselors in Connecticut
Education and Coursework
Connecticut requires a master's degree from a regionally accredited school. Concentration preferences include social work, marriage and family therapy, counseling, or a related mental health field. A bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for a master's degree program. The state licenses graduates from accredited degree programs. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs enables graduates to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE), which meets Connecticut's exam requirement.
Connecticut requires a master's degree from a regionally accredited school
Master's degree coursework typically totals 60 credits. Connecticut specifies human growth and development, counseling theories and techniques, social and cultural foundations, and processing and counseling as course requirements. The state also requires research and evaluation and career and lifestyle development courses. These course titles may vary among schools. Connecticut does not require proof or levels of competency beyond official transcripts.
Practicum and Internship
Beyond coursework, master's degree requirements include internships, which typically total 600 hours of supervised experience, and practicums, which total 100 hours. The 100-hour practicum is completed in 6-8 hours per week over two semesters. Students acquire valuable experience and develop their counseling skills in practicum clinics, agencies, and school settings.
Online Counseling Programs in Connecticut
Distance learners can meet counselor requirements at several online counseling programs near Connecticut. In Massachusetts, degree candidates may pursue an online master's degree in mental health, school, or rehabilitation counseling at the University of Massachusetts. This university also offers online bachelor's degrees in psychology and human services and online certificate programs in addiction counselor education. Connecticut residents can also pursue an online degree in counseling at New York University, which offers two concentrations: mental health and school counseling.
With an online degree, students can complete counselor requirements from any location and usually at any time
Pursuing an online degree in counseling offers candidates many benefits over a traditional on-campus program. With an online degree, students can complete counselor requirements from any location and usually at any time. This provides the flexibility to maintain career or family obligations. Additionally, distance learners save money with an online counseling program. By completing coursework online, students avoid paying for transportation and parking fees, and may even receive in-state tuition regardless of residency.
Some counseling programs also arrange internships and field placements for students. However, requirements for a counseling license vary by state, so students should confirm Connecticut's requirements to work in the state.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Connecticut
The Connecticut Department of Public Health licenses counselors. Individuals submit official transcripts and course-of-study forms directly to the department, which requires NCE or National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination scores.
Connecticut requires 3,000 hours of supervised experience in professional counseling. Direct supervision by a professional counselor amounts to 100 hours. Individuals cannot earn total hours in a period of less than one year. The department of public health requires a verification form for the 3,000 hours. Learners must submit applications online and pay an application fee.
Out-of-State Counselor Candidates
In lieu of reciprocity, Connecticut permits applicants who are licensed or certified out-of-state to substitute three years of work experience for the 3,000-hour requirement. The Connecticut Department of Public Health requires a letter from the appropriate authority documenting the applicant's work experience. The letter fulfills the 3,000-hour verification requirement.
The department requires verification of the license, certificate, or registration from the state authority where the applicant worked as a professional counselor. Connecticut does not accept endorsements. Out-of-state applicants follow the same application and submission guidelines as in-state candidates.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Connecticut
Counselor licenses must be renewed each year in Connecticut. The state emails renewal notices 60 days before the expiration date and a final notice 30 days before the license expires. Active United States military can request a renewal fee exemption.
A 90-day grace period exists for expired licenses. Licensees must apply for reinstatement after the grace period expires. The state requires a current curriculum vitae and verification of the most recent professional counseling employment. Connecticut does not have a continuing education requirement for counselor license renewal.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Connecticut
Licensed counselors must complete continuing education during each renewal period, although some exceptions exist. You're not required to complete continuing education during your first license period, you may receive a waiver if you're not actively practicing, and you can also apply for a waiver or extension in the case of illness or disability.
Generally, counselors must complete 15 hours of continuing education each year. You must keep records of continuing education for three years.
- At Health Founded in 1997, At Health offers continuing education for counselors in Connecticut. Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education, At Health helps professionals become licensed counselors in Connecticut and also earn continuing education credits online. Course topics include suicide assessment and intervention, immigration and culture, and veteran mental health issues.
- PESI Inc. Approved as a provider of continuing education by the Connecticut Certification Board, PESI offers continuing education opportunities for Connecticut addiction counselors. PESI also allows counselors to complete continuing education through live seminars, online courses, live video webcasts, and retreats. Learners may also try a free online continuing education seminar on the PESI website.
- University of Connecticut School of Social Work Approved by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the University of Connecticut School of Social Work offers continuing education credits for social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and psychologists. The continuing education programs meet at the downtown Hartford campus at various dates. Some programs sell out in advance.
Resources and Professional Organizations for Counselors in Connecticut
- Mental Health Connecticut Founded in 1908, this statewide organization works to improve mental health for all Connecticut residents through advocacy, education, and service. Mental Health Connecticut also promotes recovery for people with mental health conditions.
- Connecticut Clearinghouse This website serves as a statewide library and resource center and provides information to Connecticut residents about treatment and recovery, substance use and mental health disorders, prevention, and other related topics.
- Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services A state healthcare agency, the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services promotes overall health and wellness of Connecticut residents with behavioral health needs through an integrated network.
- Resources to Recover Resources to Recover offers support, guidance, and information on best practices and locating providers for recovery-oriented mental health care. This website is specifically designed for families and provides resources for early intervention.
- Connecticut's Network of Care for Behavioral Health A resource for individuals, families, and agencies concerned with mental health, this website provides information about mental health services, laws, and related issues. The website also offers a search engine for mental health services.
- American Counseling Association Founded in 1952, the ACA's mission is to grow and enhance the counseling profession. Serving as the world's largest association exclusively representing professional counselors in various practice settings, this professional association provides members with complimentary subscriptions to professional publications, free and discounted continuing education opportunities, and discounts on professional liability insurance.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Connecticut A grassroots organization, NAMI Connecticut provides education, support, and advocacy for all Connecticut residents affected by mental illness. NAMI Connecticut offers three different types of membership: household, individual, and open door (a discounted individual membership). Membership benefits include convention registration discounts, access to an online member community, and professional publications.
- Connecticut Mental Health Counselors Association A division of the Connecticut Counseling Association and branch of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, CMHCA represents professional mental health counselors and students. The CMHCA provides several member benefits, including discounted attendance at an annual professional development day, networking and leadership opportunities, and current information about Connecticut counseling legislation.