Rules and Regulations for Clinical Mental Health Counselor Licensure in Utah
In Utah, mental health counseling is a unique discipline, licensed separately from other counseling or therapy fields. There are three levels of licensing. When you have completed all requirements, you will become a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor or LCMHC. While you are completing your supervised practice requirements, you will be credentialed as an Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor. If you have a graduate degree in a related field, but are missing a few of the classes that Utah requires, you may be licensed as an Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor Extern.
The information provided below is designed to help guide you through the path to counseling licensure in Utah. If at any time you have questions or would like to make sure you are on the correct track, contact the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing Board at 801-530-6628 or at 866-275-3675 (within Utah).
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Select a topic below...
- Education requirements
- The application process
- Testing process
- Supervised practice requirements
- I am a licensed counselor in another state
- Maintaining your license in Utah
- Additional Resources, Professional Associations and Schools Offering Counseling Degree Programs.
- Utah School Counselor License Requirements
- Utah Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements
- Substance Use Disorder Counselor Certification and License Requirements in Utah
Licensure at all levels requires a graduate degree in mental health (Utah Counseling Licensure Rules and Regulations). Your degree must include at least 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of coursework. Your school or program should be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or by another entity recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Utah has one CACREP-accredited mental health counseling program, at the University of Phoenix-Utah. There are also accredited online programs.
Antioch University offers a new Online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program that is in the CACREP accreditation process and mirrors the CACREP-accredited program delivered on campus. Specializations in: Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling (SAAC) and Counseling Military Service Personnel and their Families (MSPF). Antioch is a private, not-for-profit university. (*This program is NOT available to students in CA, IL, IA, KS, MO, NH, ND)
If your program is not CACREP-accredited, you must show that it met Utah’s specific coursework requirements.
You must have two semester hours (or three quarter hours) in ethical standards, issues, and decision-making. Ethics should be based on the ethical standards of the American Counseling Association, the National Board for Certified Counselors, or the American Mental Health Counselors Association.
You must have six semester hours in counseling/ helping relationships and four semester hours in the examination of mental status and appraisal of DSM conditions.
You must also have two semester hours in each of the following:
- Theories of individual therapy
- Group theories
- Psychopathology and multi-axial diagnosis
- Dysfunctional behaviors
- Foundations of test and measurement theory
- Advanced assessment of mental status
You will need three semester hours (or four quarter hours) in the following:
- Human growth and development
- Group work/ group counseling
- Social and cultural diversity
- Career development
- Substance and addiction disorders
- Professional orientation and ethics
- Research and program evaluation
You will also need a practicum and an internship. The practicum must be at least three semester hours (or four quarter hours). The experience can be accepted if they total four semester hours (or six quarter hours) or include 1,000 hours of training 400 spent providing mental health therapy services.
Utah licenses, as clinical mental health counselors, only those with education in mental health counseling. If you have a master's degree in a field that is related, but does not include the required preparation for mental health counseling, you may take additional coursework. The board will consider, on a case by case basis, applicants with degrees in the following fields:
- Career counseling
- College counseling
- Gerontological counseling
- Career counseling
- Rehabilitation counseling
- Student affairs
- Dance therapy
- Music therapy
If you lack six to nine semester hours of required courses, you may be allowed to practice under a temporary license while you take them. You must have completed certain key courses, including practicum and internship.
The extern license is good for three years. It is not renewable.
(Check Out: CACREP Directory of Schools).
You will need to take two licensing exams before you can achieve professional licensing (http://dopl.utah.gov/laws/R156-60c.pdf). The National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) are both administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
The process is much the same whichever examination you are scheduling http://www.nbcc.org/Assets/StateForms/Reg/UT.pdf). You will send the NBCC a registration form along with official sealed transcripts and a $195 fee. The NBCC will process your fee first, then your application and supporting documentation. You should allow about a month. When you receive your confirmation, you will call Pearson VUE or visit their website.
Utah uses the computerized version of the test; sessions are typically offered the first two full weeks of each month. You may schedule at the Bountiful, Draper or Ogden Pearson assessment center or in one located in another state. Your fee will allow you a six month window. Your fee will allow you a six month window; you are allowed to reschedule once.
You may email [email protected] with questions about the examination process.
You will complete 4,000 hours of supervised practice as an Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor. At least 1,000 must be in mental health therapy. The Utah board defines mental health therapy as carrying out professional evaluations, making diagnoses, prescribing a treatment plan, and conducting psychotherapy and appropriate interventions.
Your supervisor may be a mental health counselor or a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, psychiatric mental health nurse specialist, or marriage and family therapist Learn More Here.
You will need to have your supervision verified before you can get your professional license.
The Application Process
You will need to fill out a qualifying questionnaire which includes questions about your legal and professional background. “Yes” answers will require additional documentation or explanation.
Transcripts are required at any level of licensing; however, you will not need to resubmit them if you already submitted them for a lower level of licensing.
Your application packet will describe the supplemental materials required for each type of licensing.
Here is the link to the counseling license application forms: Application Forms.
If you are submitting your application packet by regular mail, you will use the following address:
Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing
P.O. Box 146741
Salt Lake City UT 84114-6741
You may hand deliver materials or send express mail to:
Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing
1st Floor Lobby
160 E 300 S
Salt Lake City UT 84111
Out of State Applicants
If you are licensed in good standing in another jurisdiction and have been actively practicing for a while, you may be eligible for licensing by endorsement. You will need to show that you have at least 4,000 hours of active practice as a mental health counselor and that at least 1,000 of these were in mental health therapy. If you are applying for licensure by endorsement, you will submit a “Verification of Active Practice as a Counselor” form with your application packet. This will be filled out by an employer (or human resources personnel). If you are not eligible for reciprocity, but you have completed supervised practice hours elsewhere, you will be allowed to count them toward your practice requirement, provided that the board judges them to be equivalent.
You will renew your license every two years. During each renewal period, you will need to complete 40 hours of continuing education. At least six must be in law or ethics.
If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, or hold a bachelor's degree, check out suggested steps to take along the path to becoming a counselor in Utah.
You may call the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing Board at 801-530-6628 or at 866-275-3675 (within Utah).
The board notes that regulations are subject to change and you should visit http://www.dopl.utah.gov to stay current.
You may choose to join the Utah Mental Health Counselors Association for additional information and resources UMHCA