Become a Counselor in 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.
Utah LCMHC licensure 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 the corresponding amount of time:
- Professional orientation and ethical practice: two semester hours
- Social and cultural diversity: two semester hours
- Group work: two semester hours
- Human growth and development: two semester hours
- Helping relationships: six semester hours
- Substance use disorders: two semester hours
- Psychometric test and measurement theory: two semester hours
- Assessment of mental status: four semester hours
- Research and evaluation: two semester hours
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 therapy directly to clients.
This requirement is distinct from post-graduate supervision, which is also necessary for LPC licensure in Texas. (See “Supervision” below for details.)
“Supervision” is shorthand for directed, post-graduate experience in professional counseling under supervision in a work setting. Utah requires LCMHCs to complete 1,000 hours of supervision, with at least 100 hours under the direction of a mental health therapist.
LCMHC licensure in Utah requires a passing score on both the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification, and the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam.
National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)
The NCE is a 200-question, multiple-choice examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. It assesses knowledge, skills, and abilities in effective counseling services.
National Clinical Mental Health Counselor 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.
Utah LCMHCs can expect to pay the following fees for their license application, renewal, and examination:
LCMHC Application: $120
LCMHC Biennial License Renewal: $93
National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification: $195
National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination: $195
Utah LCMHC licenses expire biennially on September 30 of each even-numbered year. License renewal requires payment of the appropriate fees (see above) and the completion of Continuing Education.
LCMHCs in Utah are required to complete 40 hours of CE during each two-year renewal cycle. (New licensees’ required CE hours will be prorated.) 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.
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” and is delineated on the Utah State Legislature's website.
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:
|Occupation||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||$16.37||$34,040|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||$24.60||$51,160|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$25.74||$53,550|
|Mental Health Counselors||$23.38||$48,620|
|All Other Counselors||$18.12||$37,700|
Utah Counseling Scholarships
The following scholarships and loan repayment programs are available to Utah LCMHCs:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.