Counseling Licensure Requirements in Utah

Counselors enjoy strong job prospects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the demand for mental health, substance abuse, and rehabilitation counselors to grow 22% through 2028, which is significantly higher than the national average for all occupations. In Utah, counselors need a license to practice. To earn licensure, candidates must meet certain experience and education requirements, including holding a graduate degree from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

This guide covers how to become a counselor in Utah, including degree options, career opportunities, and licensure requirements.

Counseling Careers in Utah

Counselors in Utah can choose from a variety of career specialties, including school and educational counseling, marriage and family counseling, and mental health counseling. The following section outlines some of these options, along with resources that provide further information.

How Much Do Counselors Make in Utah?

According to the BLS, which combines data for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, Utah is among the top-paying states for counselors, offering an annual mean wage of $66,330.

Education Requirements for Counselors in Utah

Education and Coursework

Utah requires counseling licensure candidates to obtain a master's degree or doctorate from a CACREP-accredited clinical mental health counseling or counselor education and supervision program. Applicants must complete at least 60 credit hours in pursuit of the degree, with at least 34 credits directly related to counseling and six credits of a thesis or dissertation. Applicants without a CACREP-accredited degree must present proof that their program aligns with Utah licensing standards.

Utah requires counseling licensure candidates to obtain a master's degree or doctorate from a CACREP-accredited program

Licensure candidates must complete the following coursework during their degree: two credits in counseling orientation and ethical practice; two credits in social and cultural diversity; two credits in group counseling and group work; two credits in human growth and development; two credits in career development; six credits in counseling and helping relationships; two credits in substance-related and addictive disorders; two credits in assessment and testing; four credits in mental status examination; and two credits in research and program evaluation.

Candidates first obtain an associate clinical mental health counselor or counselor extern license. After 4,000 hours of supervised practice, they may apply for full licensed professional counselor (LPC) status. All LPC candidates in Utah must pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE).

Practicum and Internship

In Utah, counseling licensure candidates must complete four semesters of a supervised internship or practicum, for a total of 1,000 hours. At least 400 of those hours must involve working directly with clients in clinical mental health counseling situations.

Online Counseling Programs in Utah

Utah's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) accepts CACREP-accredited online degrees for counseling licensure. Utah State University offers a fully online master of rehabilitation counseling, while the University of Phoenix-Utah offers an online master of science in counseling and clinical mental health counseling.

OUT-OF-STATE ONLINE PROGRAMS MAY ALSO FULFILL UTAH STATE REQUIREMENTS

Out-of-state candidates with a degree from CACREP-accredited online program can also qualify for Utah counseling licensure. New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development offers a CACREP-accredited online master's in mental health counseling.

How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Utah

New graduates applying for counseling licensure in Utah must apply for associate status before applying for the LPC credential. Utah's DOPL oversees the licensing process. Applicants must submit transcripts from a CACREP-accredited master's or doctoral program. Candidates without a CACREP-accredited degree must submit transcripts from a regionally accredited institution, along with course descriptions and syllabi. All candidates apply online and pay an $85 fee.

After completing 4,000 hours of supervised practice under associate licensure, Utah counselors must pass the NCMHCE, submit an application, and pay a $120 fee to earn the LPC credential.

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Out-of-State Counselor Candidates

Counselors with licensure outside of Utah must present proof of a CACREP-accredited master's or doctoral degree. Candidates without a CACREP-accredited degree must submit evidence of a regionally accredited degree along with course descriptions and syllabi. All candidates must have completed 4,000 hours of supervised practice and submit passing scores on the NCMHCE.

Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Utah

Utah counseling licenses expire every two years at the end of September during even-numbered years. The DOPL sends renewal materials 60 days before the license expires. To renew their LPC credentials, counselors must complete 40 hours of continuing education, including at least six hours in ethics and law and two hours in suicide prevention. LPCs who teach in a college or university, teach continuing education, or supervise prospective licensees may apply up to 10 hours of that work toward the renewal.

Utah LPCs must renew their license online and pay a $93 renewal fee.

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.
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