How to Become a Counselor in Utah

State of Utah

As in some other states, counselors in Utah who have completed their licensure are known as Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors (LCMHCs). Utah counselors who are still in the supervision portion of the licensure process are referred to as Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselors (ACMHCs), and those who have yet to finish their coursework requirements may be called ACMHC Externs.

The state’s premier professional organization for LCMHCs is the Utah Mental Health Counselors Association, a local member of the American Mental Health Counselors Association whose mission is “to enhance the profession of mental health counseling through licensing, advocacy, education, and professional development in the state of Utah.” Licensure for Utah LCMHCs is managed by the state Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, a division of the Utah Department of Commerce.

Licensure requirements for counselors in Utah, including education, supervision, examination, fees, renewal, and “licensure by endorsement,” are examined in further detail below, along with salary information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as scholarships and loan repayment programs available to LCMHCs in the state.

Counselor Education in Utah

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Licensure as a mental health counselor in Utah requires the completion of a master’s or doctorate degree in clinical mental health counseling or counselor education and supervision from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Appropriate degree programs will be at least 60 semester hours in length and include coursework in each of the following areas for at least two semester hours:

  1. Professional orientation and ethical practice
  2. Social and cultural diversity
  3. Group counseling and group work
  4. Human growth and development
  5. Career development
  6. Substance-related and addictive disorders
  7. Psychometric test and measurement theory
  8. Assessment and testing
  9. Research and program evaluation

Additional coursework includes:

  1. Helping relationships for six semester hours
  2. Assessment of mental status for four semester hours
  3. Internship for four semester hours

Internship Requirements

In addition to the coursework listed above, Utah LCMHC licensure also requires the completion of an internship or practicum at least four semester hours in length. This must include a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised clinical training, of which at least 400 hours must be in providing mental health counseling directly to clients.

This requirement is distinct from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for LPC licensure in Utah.

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Supervision Hours

“Supervision” is shorthand for directed, post-graduate experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Utah requires LCMHCs to complete 4,000 hours of supervision in no less than two years.

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Examinations

LCMHC licensure in Utah requires a passing score the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHCE). The NCMHCE tests knowledge of assessment, diagnosis, counseling, psychotherapy, administration, consultation, and supervision. It consists of 10 clinical mental health counseling cases and assesses clinical problem-solving ability by testing identification, analysis, and treatment. It is also administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

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ACMHC and LCMHC Licensure Fees

Utah LCMHCs can expect to pay the following fees for their license, application and renewal:

LCMHC Application: $120

Associate CMHC Application: $85

LCMHC Biennial License Renewal: $93

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LCMHC License Renewal

Utah LCMHC licenses expire biennially on September 30 of each even-numbered year. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate fees and the completion of continuing education.

Continuing Education

LCMHCs in Utah are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year renewal cycle. At least six of these hours must focus on ethics and laws governing professional counseling. A maximum of 10 hours per cycle can be obtained through teaching, supervision, distance learning, clinical readings, and Internet-based courses. Up to 10 hours of excess can be carried over and applied to the next renewal term.

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Additional Information

For Counselors Licensed in Other States

The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing has an alternative route to licensure for counselors who have already obtained their licenses in other states. This process is called “licensure by endorsement”. Out-of-state applicants must submit an application, pay appropriate fees, provide proof of an active and in good standing license, submit documented clinical counseling hours of at least 4,000 with 1,000 in mental health therapy, pass specific jurisprudence examination, and prove a passing score on the NCMHCE.

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Average Counselor Salary in Utah

Utah counselors can expect to earn these average hourly and annual wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Average Counselor Salary in Utah
Type of Counselor Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors $20.71 $43,070
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors $23.27 $48,400
Marriage and Family Therapists $23.13 $48,100
Mental Health Counselors $29.37 $61,080
Rehabilitation Counselors $23.02 $47,880

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Utah Counseling Scholarships

The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to Utah LCMHCs:

Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: This award from the American Psychological Foundation is available to one full-time graduate student in good standing at an accredited university who has demonstrated a commitment to stigma issues.

American Addiction Centers’ Behavioral Health Academic Scholarship Program

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: $2,500 to $5,000
  • Description: American Addiction Centers offers three scholarships providing financial assistance to full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers in behavioral health and addiction-related studies, including counseling.

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

  • Type: Loan Repayments
  • Amount: Between $30,000 and $50,000
  • Description: LCMHCs in Utah are eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance in exchange for working in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) at a site approved by the National Health Service Corps. Funding is tied to HPSA score and is in exchange for two years of full- or half-time service.

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

  • Type: Scholarships
  • Amount: To Be Decided
  • Description: The Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program provides funds to schools, which in turn offer scholarships to full-time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are studying professional counseling, amongst other health professions.

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*Licensure information including requirements, renewals, and fees were retrieved as of May 2017. Information may have changed since, check with the state's board of licensing for more information.