Vermont may not have the largest population in the U.S., but the state is one of the best places in the country for the counseling profession. Vermont has the fourth-best location quotient for mental health counselors in the U.S., according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. In other words, the concentration of mental health counselors in Vermont ranks among the highest in the nation. Plus, when broken down by region, northern Vermont has the second-highest concentration of mental health counselors in the U.S.
This guide covers how to become a licensed counselor in Vermont, including education and internship requirements, license renewal information, procedures for out-of-state candidates, and possible career paths for graduates. Keep reading to learn more.
Counseling Careers in Vermont
A counseling career can lead to several different professional pathways, as counselors can specialize in various areas. They might want to help students discover their passions and plan their futures, guide couples through rough patches in their marriages, or aid people in recovering from their addictions. The list below offers a sampling of possible career paths for licensed professional counselors (LPCs).
School, Guidance, Vocational, and Educational Counselors
These counselors advise students on their education and career opportunities. They help students overcome the mental stresses associated with education and ensure that learners excel in their school, college, and job prospects.
Marriage and Family Therapists
Marriage and family therapists provide counseling for couples and families experiencing challenges. They treat disorders through therapy sessions with individuals, couples, and families.Explore Career Information
Rehabilitation counselors help clients with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities live and work independently. Rehabilitation counselors often work in senior centers, rehabilitation centers, and veterans hospitals.
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor
Professionals in this field prevent and treat many different types of mental disorders, including substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. These counselors often work with families or groups.
Mental Health Counselors
Mental health counselors guide and treat individuals with psychological and emotional disorders and difficulties. These professionals meet with patients of any age over an extended period of time, sometimes one-on-one and in groups. People with mental health challenges like anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, or suicidal thoughts often seek services from mental health counselors.Explore Career Information
How Much Do Counselors Make in Vermont?
The table below provides the median annual pay for different counseling professions. When considering salary data, keep in mind a few considerations. First, this data comes from the BLS, which combines wage data for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors. Second, these salary numbers represent a national median: actual salary figures depend on several other factors, like location, education level, and work experience.
Education Requirements for Counselors in Vermont
Education and Coursework
To become a counselor in Vermont, candidates need a master's degree accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In addition to 700 hours of an internship experience, candidates must also have completed 60 master's-level credits of coursework within their program. However, the state also allows students to complete the first 100 hours in a practicum experience and another 600 hours at an internship in a healthcare setting.
To become a counselor in Vermont, candidates need a master's degree accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
In addition, students must take certain coursework while pursuing their master's degree. Courses should go over foundational topics, like diagnosis and treatment, human growth and development, psychology theory, group counseling, multicultural studies, and professional orientation and ethics. They must also take two courses within the following areas of study: family and relationship counseling, human sexuality, crisis intervention, addictive disorders, and psychopharmacology.
When applying for the counseling certificate, candidates should fill out an education and coursework requirements worksheet. Vermont's Office of Professional Regulation provides a list of approved programs with which it possesses a memorandum of understanding (MOU). These programs built the required courses and practicum or internship into their curriculum plans, so students do not need to fill out the worksheet.
Practicum and Internship
Vermont requires counseling applicants to complete 700 internship or practicum hours before they graduate. Some degrees require that students complete more than 700 hours to qualify for graduation. Learners can find internships at places like rehabilitation centers, hospitals, or outpatient facilities.
Online Counseling Programs in Vermont
Although prospective students can find on-campus counseling master's degrees in Vermont, online programs are a bit trickier. No schools offer online, CACREP-accredited programs in the state. However, Vermont harbors MOUs with several schools outside of the state. This includes colleges that offer distance learning or hybrid counseling and mental health master's degrees with CACREP accreditation.
No schools offer online, CACREP-accredited programs in the state of Vermont
Some of these schools include Southern New Hampshire University and Springfield College in Massachusetts. Keep in mind, though, that hybrid programs still require students to complete online components. In addition, distance learners must complete their internship hours in person.
How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Vermont
The Board of Allied Mental Health, a division within Vermont's Office of Professional Regulation is the Vermont counselor board. After meeting the educational requirements, candidates must also complete 3,000 hours of postmaster's supervised clinical experience over the course of at least two years. Of these 3,000 hours, at least 2,000 must fall into the category of direct service work. Supervisors must submit proof of their license and complete a supervision report. In addition, aspiring counselors must pass two examinations from the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC): the National Counselors Exam and the National Clinical Mental Health Examination.
Out-of-State Counselor Candidates
Out-of-state students might wonder how to become a counselor in Vermont as well. Vermont allows residents from different states to apply by endorsement. Out-of-state counselors may apply if they have actively practiced as a licensed counselor — specifically, working at least 20 hours a week for at least 48 weeks in the year — for the past five years.
For the endorsement process, applicants must submit their most recent counseling license and complete the Verification of Licensure form. They must also send in a copy of counseling rules and statues from the state where they most recently held counseling licensure.
Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal in Vermont
LPCs in Vermont must renew their license every two years. The Office of Professional Regulation emails a renewal notice to counselors six weeks before their license expires. Counselors can apply to renew their license online.
To meet eligibility requirements for license renewal, LPCs need to participate in continuing education. Mental health counselors must complete 40 hours of continuing education during those two years, while marriage and family therapists must complete 20 continuing education hours. They find these opportunities through university courses, professional association workshops, training institutes, retreats, or conferences. You can find specific examples for Vermont counseling professionals in the list below.
Continuing Education Opportunities for Counselors in Vermont
- Healthcare Training Institute The Healthcare Training Institute provides continuing education units approved by the NBCC. The institute offers online courses in various mental health fields, including counseling and marriage and family therapy. Counselors can opt for video and audio courses in topics such as couples' therapy, anger management, and ethical boundaries.
- Brattleboro Retreat Founded in 1834, Brattleboro Retreat is a mental health center that treats a variety of conditions, including addiction, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. The center hosts continuing education conferences for mental health professionals in the area. These workshops inform counselors about recent research findings in addiction and mental healthcare.
- University of Vermont Graduate Counseling Program Counselors may choose to complete their continuing education requirements through graduate-level counseling courses. The University of Vermont's MS in counseling prepares students for work in a variety of healthcare settings, including schools and mental health facilities. Students may opt for either the school counseling or mental health counseling track.
Resources & Professional Organizations for Counselors in Vermont
- Vermont Board of Allied Mental Health Vermont's Board of Allied Mental Health oversees counseling licensure in the state. Through its website, counselors and counseling students can learn about requirements, review renewal laws, and access forms.
- NBCC Examinations Through this website, counseling students can locate important information about the two counseling exams necessary for licensure in Vermont. Students can also access study guides and order their scores.
- NBCC Approved Continuing Education Providers This page serves as a directory for continuing education opportunities and providers approved by the NBCC. Counselors can browse opportunities or search for providers by name, location, or education format.
- American Association of State Counseling Boards This organization offers information on laws, regulations, and ethical matters relevant to counselors and state counseling boards. Counselors can view newsletters and a directory of state counseling boards.
- Vermont Department of Mental Health This department seeks to improve the mental health and well-being of Vermonters. Through this site, counselors and counseling students can learn about events, healthcare providers, and the overall state of mental health in Vermont.
- Vermont Mental Health Counselors Association VTMHCA is the state's chapter of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. The group advocates on behalf of Vermont's licensed counselors, hosts continuing education and professional development workshops, and publishes newsletters about field developments. The organization also provides free ethics advice to members.
- American Counseling Association Founded in 1932, ACA supports mental health professionals in the U.S. through advocacy and professional development opportunities. The association also promotes ethical standards and culturally inclusive practices within the counseling field. Members gain access to a job center, an annual conference, and free online courses.
- Vermont Psychological Association The Vermont affiliate of the American Psychological Association is one of the main professional organizations for psychologists and other mental health professionals in the state. Founded in 1950, the association strives to support the advancement of psychology in Vermont and improve the mental health and well-being of Vermonters.