Licensed counselors in Utah work in schools, healthcare facilities, private practice, and agencies. Pursuant to Utah counseling licensure rules and regulations, all Utah-licensed counselors must hold a graduate degree in mental health.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 23% increase in therapist and counselor jobs nationwide through 2026 and lists the median salary for Utah substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors as $44,630 per year.
Read on for more information about how to become a licensed counselor in Utah, including potential careers, salaries, and education and licensing requirements.
Counseling Careers in Utah
Utah counselors help clients deal with disabilities, mental health disorders, and addictions. Continue reading for more details about potential counseling jobs and their duties, along with links to additional resources, and licensing requirements and procedures.
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
These counselors help students develop academic and social skills in preparation for life. They examine students' performance to ensure that they succeed inside and outside of the classroom.Explore Career Information
Marriage and Family Therapists
These professionals encourage couples and families to examine their feelings and adjust to life-changing circumstances. In addition to empowering people to cope with challenges, marriage and family therapists connect them to resources that better enable them to overcome those issues.Explore Career Information
These counselors equip people to live independent, fulfilling lives by providing the mental, emotional, physical, and developmental support clients require. Rehabilitation counselors often facilitate individual and group sessions and connect people to resources like job-skills training and medical care.Explore Career Information
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
These experts advise individuals who suffer from addictions and behavioral and mental health issues. Substance abuse and behavioral disorders counselors develop treatment protocols and help the families of those they counsel.Explore Career Information
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counselors work in private practice, inpatient or outpatient facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and schools. They help their patients overcome mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. These professionals may specialize in addiction, trauma, or youth services.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in Utah?
The chart below details the salaries Utah counselors earn compared with those in the U.S. as a whole. Marriage and family therapists earn the highest median pay. With the exception of school, guidance, vocational, and educational counselors, all categories of Utah counselors make a higher median salary than the median U.S. wage.
The BLS combines wage data for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors, but variation may exist among those practice areas.
Education Requirements for Counselors in Utah
Education and Coursework
To become a licensed counselor, Utah requires a graduate degree in mental health, with proof of at least 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of coursework. The program should hold Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation or accreditation from another organization recognized by the Council for Higher Accreditation. CACREP-accredited programs in Utah include those offered from the University of Phoenix-Utah, Westminster College, and Utah State University.
To become a licensed counselor, Utah requires a graduate degree in mental health
Those with degrees from non-CACREP accredited programs must show that their curriculum satisfies Utah's requirements, including courses in ethical standards, issues, and decision making; counseling and helping relationships; and mental status and appraisal of DSM conditions. Check the Utah counseling licensure rules and regulations for a complete list of required coursework.
The state requires licensing candidates to pass two exams administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), along with 4,000 supervised practice hours completed while the candidate holds an associate clinical mental health counselor or counselor extern license.
Practicum and Internship
Students must complete both an internship and practicum to earn their degrees. The practicum course includes 1,000 hours of training, with 400 of those hours focused on delivery of mental health therapy services. This requirement does not include the post-graduation 4,000 hours of supervised practice.
Online Counseling Programs in Utah
Utah's licensure board accepts online degrees from CACREP-accredited programs. Two of the CACREP schools listed above — University of Phoenix and Utah State University — offer distance learning options. Students typically take some or all classes online, but internships and clinical work require in-person attendance.
Out-of-state online programs may also fulfill Utah state requirements
Out-of-state online programs may also fulfill Utah state requirements. Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, for example, offers a CACREP-accredited online master of education with school counseling specialization. Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, boasts CACREP-accredited online masters in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Utah
The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing issues licenses. Applicants submit a qualifying questionnaire detailing their academic and professional backgrounds, along with transcripts. Supplemental materials required may vary depending on the candidate's specialization area.
Licensing fees depend on the license type. A licensed professional counselor pays $120, while an associate licensed counselor pays $85. All applicants take the two NBCC exams at a cost of $195. Licensing candidates must attend computerized test sessions, administered during the first two weeks of every month, at a Utah test location or out-of-state center.
Of the 4,000 hours of clinical mental health counseling supervision, 1,000 hours must involve therapy. State-approved mental health professionals must supervise candidates.
Out of State Counselor Candidates
A licensed counselor with good standing and professional experience in another state must show that they have logged the requisite 4,000 hours of active practice in mental health counseling, 1,000 hours of which engaged in mental health therapy. The state may accept applications for licensure by endorsement or reciprocity so long as the counselor provides proper verification. Applicants who do not meet the requirements for endorsement or reciprocity may receive credit for the hours of active practice training completed.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Utah
Utah counselors must renew their license every two years. The state requires completion of at least 40 hours of continuing education during every two-year period. Up to 10 excess hours may carry over to the next cycle.
The blow section contains a listing of continuing education opportunities that include online courses and webinars. The subject areas meet Utah's requirements for continuing education.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Utah
- American Mental Health Counselors Association The home studies this organization delivers fulfills continuing education requirements. Studies include ethics and best practices and specific areas of mental health. Members receive discounts on these courses and webinars.
- AtHealth.com This site helps professionals develop the skills needed to demonstrate excellence in the field. Online courses examine subjects like suicide assessment, ethics and risk management, and cultural competence. Utah mental health counselors may earn up to 10 continuing education credits through this site.
- NetCE The NBCC allows Utah counselors to earn continuing education through NetCE. The state accepts credits only directly relating to the professional's area of practice. Counselors may take six continuing education credits in both ethics and suicide prevention and assessment.
Resources & Professional Organizations for Counselors in Utah
- StepUp to Higher Education This resource provides school counselors information for students preparing for postsecondary academic opportunities. It categorizes resources by grade level and offers counselors downloadable materials.
- The LGBTQ-Affirmative Psycholtherapist Guild of Utah This association offers several resources for professionals to support the mental well-being of the state's sexual and gender minority residents.
- Utah State Board of Education This state department provides downloadable, free resources that promote equity and advocacy, support suicide prevention, and help people prepare for college. These resources help both school and vocational counselors.
- Volunteers of America, Utah This nonprofit provides volunteer opportunities to support some 10,000 young people and adults in Utah each year.
- The National Council on Rehabilitation Education This resource offers a job board for those seeking employment in rehabilitation education. It lists available positions from around the world.
- Utah Mental Health Counselors Association This organization remains committed to the education of all mental health professionals to ensure ethical practice. It seeks to uphold the code of ethics and standards of the profession.
- The LGBTQ-Affirmative Psycholtherapist Guild of Utah A grassroots organization for counselors and students who wish to enter the profession, this group provides networking opportunities and courses to earn continuing education credit. Members can exchange knowledge and resources with one another, including through monthly events.
- Utah School Counselor Association This association promotes school counseling as a profession and offers support for those in it. In addition, it provides professional development opportunities that help build counselors' competencies in best practices. Members can also attend conferences that offer sessions with experts in the field.