What are The Professional Counselor License Requirements in Vermont?

If you are interested in providing therapeutic counseling in Vermont, you can be credentialed as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC). The licensing process requires master's level education, a period of supervised practice and passing scores on two licensing exams.

Capella University offers three online CACREP - accredited Master's programs: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy and School Counseling. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs.

Northwestern's Top-12 Ranked CACREP Accredited Online M.A. in Counseling program offers both full and part time options that allow you to earn a degree on your own schedule. GRE scores are not required for this program. Request information.

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Required Education

You will need a master's degree in counseling or a related field. There are two separate things to keep in mind when planning your education: what constitutes a qualifying degree (and serves as the core of your education) and what coursework you will actually need before you begin practice. Some coursework must be taken as a part of your degree program; other coursework may be included within your program or taken later.

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)

Qualifying Degrees for Counselors in Vermont

You will be allowed to make up some missing requirements as long as the board considers your degree to be counseling-related. Your degree is considered qualifying if it includes three graduate credits of diagnosis, assessment, and treatment, at least 600 hours of supervised experience, and three graduate credits in at least five of the content areas outlined below:

  • Human growth and development
  • Counseling theories
  • Counseling skills
  • Groups
  • Measurement
  • Professional orientation and ethics
  • Treatment modalities

If you have a master’s with at least 48 semester hours of coursework, you can make up the remaining units without enrolling in another degree program.

Coursework Required for Licensing

You will need a total of at least 60 semester hours of coursework, however, for professional licensing, you will need to have three graduate credits of diagnosis, assessment, and treatment, and 700 hours of internship.

You will also need three graduate credits in each of the seven core areas listed above (under Qualifying Degrees). Additionally, you must have three graduate credits in at least two Group 2 content areas:

  • Marriage, couple, and family counseling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Human sexuality for counselors
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Addictive disorders

You will also need three credits in each of the following areas:

  • Research and evaluation
  • Multicultural studies
  • Career development and lifestyle appraisal

Learn more about selecting a Master's in Counseling program here.

Supervised Practice in Vermont

You will need to work under supervision for at least two years and accrue a minimum of 3,000 hours before you can be professionally licensed. At least 2,000 of your post-master hours must be spent providing direct services. You may begin accruing hours once you have finished your degree requirements, even if you have not actually graduated yet (https://www.sec.state.vt.us/professional-regulation/list-of-professions/allied-mental-health.aspx).

You may begin supervised practice on the strength of your master’s program even if you still need to make up some coursework to meet the 60 semester hour requirement. Before you can begin practice, however, you will need to be entered on the roster of non-licensed and non-certified psychotherapists.

Over the course of your supervised practice, you will need at least 100 hours of face-to-face supervision. At least 50 of the supervision hours must be individual. Supervisory sessions should occur at regular intervals. You should not accrue more than thirty practice hours without at least an hour of supervision.

You may be supervised by a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, independent clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist or other individual with equivalent training. Your supervisor will not be your employer, but another professional who takes responsibility for your professional development. Ultimately, they will make a recommendation to the board about your qualifications as a counselor.

Required Examinations

You will need to pass two licensing examinations, both of which are offered through the National Board for Certified Counselors. You may be able to take the National Counselor Examination while still a student if you are in a properly accredited program. If you have already taken the NCE, you will need to have verification sent to the Vermont board. If you are past the student stage, you will need to seek authorization from the Vermont board for any licensing exam you have not previously taken. In order to be authorized, you will need to send transcripts and course descriptions to the Vermont board.

The registration process is essentially the same for the NCE and the NCMHCE. You will send a copy of your approval letter from the Vermont board to the NBCC along with the registration form and appropriate fees. Each exam costs $195; you will pay $390 if requesting registration for both.

You will need to wait to hear from the NBCC before scheduling your exam. You may opt to take the exam at any of the computer-based testing locations; the Vermont location is in South Burlington, but there are also testing sites in neighboring states. The NCE and the NCMHCE are scheduled during the first two weeks of each month.

The Application Process

The application will include professional fitness questions. You will also need to attest that you are in good standing with regard to child support, taxes, and court fines. Click here to download the application for Vermont. The application fee is $125.

Applications may be submitted online.

Out of State Applicants

As an out-of-state applicant, you will need to obtain verification from any state where you have held a license. The verification form includes questions about the state’s licensing standards as well as about your own license. You may be eligible for licensure by endorsement or by a “5 year rule”.

Counselors with at least five years of active practice under license in the United States or Canada may be licensed even if the requirements were not substantially equivalent.

If you are establishing that you meet the five year rule, you will need a letter to that effect.

Out-of-state candidates who do not meet the five year rule are eligible for reciprocal licensing if the jurisdiction currently has substantively equivalent licensing standards, but must take the second Vermont licensing exam if their municipality required only one. You will need to forward a copy of your state’s statutes to the Vermont board to demonstrate equivalency.

The following is also listed as “subject to legislative approval”:

"Registration as a mental health counselor with a national registry of the American Association of State Counseling Boards may be accepted as a demonstration of having met licensing standards."

Other Professionals who can be Licensed as Counselors

The American Art Therapy Association reports that Vermont art therapists can be licensed as counselors if they meet all requirements. (Your degree must have the components outlined above, though, to be considered qualifying.)

Maintaining your License in Vermont

You will need to renew your mental health counseling license every two years. You will need to complete 40 hours of approved continuing education during the renewal cycle. Four hours must be in professional ethics. You should retain records of your continuing education for a full four years.

Additional Information

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 Vermont.

You may call the Board of Allied Mental Health Practitioners at 802 828-2390. You may also choose to become a member of the Vermont Mental Health Counselors Association to stay current and informed (http://www.vtmhca.org/).

Vermont Mental Health Counselors Association

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