Counseling Degrees & Licenses in Utah

In Utah, the field of counseling is governed by the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing under the Utah Department of Commerce. This office licenses the occupations of Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor, and Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor Extern. 

To achieve a counseling degree and license in Utah to work as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor, the applicant must have a master’s or doctorate degree in mental health counseling from a program that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the equivalent. The graduate must complete 4,000 supervised mental health practice hours and report a passing score on the NCMHCE and NCE exams (the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination and the National Counselor Exam, respectively). 

Utah allows licensure by endorsement for those who are currently licensed as a clinical mental health counselor in a state, territory, or district of the United States that has an equivalency or reciprocity with Utah. There are currently 13 states that have licenses that are equivalent to a counseling license in Utah. Most other states and territories require additional documentation in order to reciprocate. 

There are currently 9,520 counselors of all types employed in the state of Utah, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020). That number is likely to continue to grow, as the BLS (2021) forecasts that careers in counseling fields will grow 12 percent nationally from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. 

The need for counselors, in general, will grow as a growing population seeks mental health counseling. The BLS (2021) predicts the job outlook for substance abuse counselors to grow at an even higher rate during that same decade (23 percent). Demand for rehabilitation counselors is expected to grow at a rate of 10 percent. On the other hand, the job outlook for marriage and family therapists is expected to grow at a rate of 16 percent. 

Overall, students who pursue counseling degrees and licenses in Utah can find rewarding and stable careers. Read on for accredited schools for earning counseling degrees and licenses in Utah. 

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Accredited Counseling Degree Programs in Utah

Utah State University – Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services 

Utah State University is Utah’s largest public residential campus. It was founded in 1888. The school has a marriage and family therapy counseling program as well as a rehabilitation counseling program. 

The marriage and family therapy program meets initial clinical practice requirements for Utah state licensure as marriage and family therapists and for clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Students who complete this program will qualify for intern-level licensure as MFTs in the state of Utah.

Students have the option to complete a thesis (and receive the master of science with a specialization in marriage and family therapy), or to complete a Plan C non-thesis degree called the master of marriage and family therapy (MMFT). The MMFT requires the same coursework and requirements as required for the MS with MFT specialization. However, instead of a thesis, students write and present a paper as their capstone project. The MMFT program qualifies students for associate-level licensure as MFTs in the State of Utah. 

USU’s master of rehabilitation counseling (MRC) program is ranked in the top 20 in its category, according to U.S. News & World Report. The MRC degree is offered via distance education nationwide. Although classes are offered online, students are required to travel to the Logan, Utah, campus during the summer semester to take three one-week courses. Those who complete the program, either in person or through the distance model, are eligible to take the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination. 

Utah State University has a school counseling program. Students in this master of education program are required to complete a 150-hour practicum and an internship of 600 hours of supervised school guidance and counseling in a school setting. Students who have been full-time teachers in a public school for three years or longer are only required to complete 400 hours of internship. Prior to graduation, students are required to successfully complete the Praxis II School Counseling Exam. School counseling classes are held one evening per week. This program is approved by the Utah State Office of Education and most other states.

  • Location: Logan, Utah
  • Duration: The MMFT program is 47 credits; the MS program is 53 credits; MRC is 61 credits; the school counseling program is 48 credits
  • Accreditation: The rehabilitation counseling program is accredited by CACREP; the marriage and family therapy degree is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE); the school counseling program is accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) 
  • Tuition: A Utah resident will pay $4,651.17 for 12 credits for tuition and fees; a non-resident will pay $14,869.23

Westminster College 

Westminster College is a private college comprising four schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, the School of Education, and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. The school was established in 1875. 

Students in the master of science in mental health counseling program can enjoy small average class sizes of only about 13 students. Students are not required to have an undergraduate major in the social sciences (e.g., psychology) to enter the program. This program fulfills Utah counseling license requirements. 

Graduates immediately qualify for licensure as an Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor (ACMHC) in Utah. After about two years of supervised experience and passing the two exams required by Utah for counseling graduates (the NCMHCE and NCE exams), graduates qualify for full licensure as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC). 

  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Duration: 60 credits, three years
  • Accreditation: CACREP
  • Tuition: $52,140, total program tuition without fees

Brigham Young University – College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Brigham Young University is a private research university sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was founded in 1875 by Mormom religious leader Brigham Young. 

The school’s marriage and family therapy program offers a master of science degree as a two-year program. At the end of the program, students will be able to pass the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) National Licensing Exam and be able to meet the requirements for the associate/intern MFT license in Utah. There are two tracks for this degree program. The research track, which is recommended for those planning to pursue a doctoral degree, or the clinical track.

  • Location: Provo, Utah
  • Duration: 62 credits
  • Accreditation: COAMFTE
  • Tuition: For up to eight credits per semester, Latter-Day Saints students pay $453 per credit; non-LDS students pay $906 per credit

University of Utah – Department of Educational Psychology

The University of Utah was founded in 1850. It is the second-largest public university in the state. The school’s Department of Educational Psychology offers a master of education in educational psychology with a specialization in school counseling and a master of education in clinical mental health counseling (CMHC). 

In Utah, school counselors are licensed educators who hold a master’s degree in school counseling. The clinical mental health counseling degree meets the educational requirements for licensure as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) in the state of Utah and most other states. The CMHC program requires a 1,000-hour internship in the final year. 

  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Duration: The MEd in school counseling is two years, six semesters of three classes each semester; CMHC is 60 credits
  • Accreditation: Both programs are accredited by the Master’s in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) 
  • Tuition: $4,483.91, 12 credits including fees, Utah resident; $15,892.42, 12 credits including fees, non-resident

Utah Valley University – College of Humanities and Social Science

Utah Valley University was established in 1941 with the primary intention of providing vocational classes and training for production during World War II. In 1943, the school became state-funded. Today, UVU offers more than 200 degree options, including a master of science in clinical mental health counseling, a master of arts in marriage and family therapy, and a master of education in school counseling. 

The master’s in clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) meets requirements for employment and licensure as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor in the state of Utah. The master’s in marriage and family therapy meets requirements for employment and licensure as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist in Utah. The master of education in school counseling completes eligibility requirements for professional licensure as a school counselor in Utah.

  • Location: Orem, Utah
  • Duration: Clinical mental health counseling is 62 credits; marriage and family therapy is 54 credits; the school counseling program is 51 credits
  • Accreditation: Utah Valley University is accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition: Utah residents pay $2,953 for tuition & fees per semester; non-resident tuition is $8,403 per semester

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions 

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions is a private, for-profit university focused on graduate healthcare education. It was established in 1998. 

Here, students can choose between a master of science in clinical mental health counseling or a master of science in school counseling. The school also offers a license-only program for candidates who already have a master’s degree in a related field. Their dual-degree programs allow students to pair a master’s in school counseling with a master’s in either clinical mental health counseling, addiction counseling, clinical rehabilitation counseling, or marriage, couples, and family counseling. 

Although the curriculum is designed to meet CACREP standards, the counseling program is not currently CACREP accredited (the expectation is that a Self-Study will be submitted in 2021-2022). 

  • Location: Provo, Utah
  • Duration: Both programs are 60 credits; the dual-degree option is 72 credits
  • Accreditation: Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition: Total tuition for both programs is $42,300

How Much Do Counselors Make in Utah?

These numbers represent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2020—the latest data available as of November 2021.

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors

United StatesUtah
Number employed292,2303,980
Average annual salary (mean)$61,000$55,890
10th percentile$34,380$28,530
50th percentile (median)$57,040$48,510
90th percentile$96,090$95,490

Marriage and Family Therapists

United StatesUtah
Number employed60,850660
Average annual salary (mean)$54,590$80,110
10th percentile$32,070$46,230
50th percentile (median)$49,610$72,820
90th percentile$87,700$127,010

Rehabilitation Counselors

United StatesUtah
Number employed100,260610
Average annual salary (mean)$40,160$41,260
10th percentile$23,820$25,110
50th percentile (median)$39,950$37,280
90th percentile$63,790$62,960

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

United StatesUtah
Number employed293,6203,350
Average annual salary (mean)$49,950$62,250
10th percentile$29,520$31,420
50th percentile (median)$46,240$57,770
90th percentile$76,080$102,610

All Other Counselors

United StatesUtah
Number employed27,310920
Average annual salary (mean)$48,800$43,260
10th percentile$27,030$28,720
50th percentile (median)$42,930$39,010
90th percentile$77,590$60,560

Counseling Professional Associations & Resources in Utah

  • Utah Mental Health Counselors Association 
  • Utah Psychological Association 
  • Utah School Counselor Association 
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy – Utah Chapter
  • Utah Health Care Association 
  • Utah Counseling Services
  • Counseling Associates of Utah
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness – Utah Chapter
  • Central Utah Counseling & Substance Abuse Center
  • Utah Psychological Association
  • Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Hope4Utah
  • Survivors of Suicide Attempt Support Group
  • Family Institute of Northern Utah
  • University of Utah – Wellness Bus
  • Utah Department of Health – Living Well Programs
  • RAINN Utah

Mental Health Counseling (LMHC) Licenses in Utah: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing

There are two primary licenses issued in Utah: Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) and Licensed Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LACMHC).

If a LACMHC is lacking required coursework, they may be issued a LACHMC Extern license which allows the licensee to complete the required classes within three years while completing supervised work experience.

Requirements for LACMHC licensure include:

  • Completing a master’s or doctorate in clinical mental health counseling of at least 60 semester or 90 quarter hours from a CACREP accredited institution. If a degree is earned at a non-CACREP institution, then it must meet programmatic requirements, including a 1,000-hour internship with at least 400 hours of direct client interaction.
  • Submitting an application
  • Paying $85 application fee

To become a LCMHC, applicants must meet the LACMHC requirements as well as:

  • Pass the NCMHCE exam
  • Pay $120 application fee
  • Complete a two-hour suicide prevention course
  • Complete 4,000 hours of post-master’s supervised work experience. Of those hours, 1,000 must be in mental health therapy and 100 must be in face-to-face supervision.

LCMHC and LACMHC licenses in Utah expire every two years on the 30th of September of even-numbered years.

Counselors are required to submit 40 hours of continuing education hours, of which six must be in ethics and two in suicide prevention. Renewals cost $93.

School Counseling Licenses in Utah

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Utah State Board of Education (USBE)

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) is responsible for School Counselor licensing.

The requirements to earn a school counselor license are:

  • Have a master’s degree in school counseling from a state-approved program or a CACREP accredited school
  • Pass the Praxis Professional School Counselor exam
  • Have a recommendation for licensure from the university in which the program was completed
  • Pass a background check
  • Submit a completed application

If applying with an out-of-state degree, then the applicant must provide proof of a valid school counselor license from the state where the degree was completed

School counselors in Utah may be licensed at three levels. Level 1 licenses are valid for three years, Level 2 are valid for five, and Level 3 are valid for seven.

Continuing education requirements for Level 1 are 100 Professional Learning Points (PLPs), while Levels 2 and 3 must earn 200 PLPs. All levels must complete two hours of Youth Suicide Prevention Training, a new background check, and a Utah State Board of Education Ethics Review online. They must also get a licensed administrator’s signature of approval for renewal.

Substance Abuse Counseling Licenses in Utah

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Utah Department of Commerce’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL)

Utah’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) issues six licenses to substance use disorder counselors (SUDC).

They are: Certified SUDC Intern (CSUDC Intern), Certified SUDC (CSUDC), Licensed SUDC (LSUDC), Certified Advanced SUDC Intern (CASUDC Intern), Certified Advanced SUDC (CASUDC), and Licensed Advanced SUDC (LASUDC).

CSUDC Intern licensure candidates must:

  • Hold an associate’s degree
  • Pay $70 application fee
  • Submit a completed application
  • Complete 200 hours of substance abuse-related education
  • Complete a 200-hour supervised practicum

CSUDC applicants must meet the requirements for the intern license, as well as:

  • Pass a national exam (NEC Level I, NEC Level II, or MAC from NAADAC or the ADC or AADC from the IC&RC)

LSUDC candidates must:

  • Have a CSUDC license OR verification of a license from another state and a passing national exam score
  • Complete 2,000 hours of supervised work experience as a CSUDC (if the applicant is not currently a CSUDC, then 4,000 hours are required)
  • Complete the Verification of Experience form
  • Pay $85 application fee
  • Submit a completed application
  • Complete a two-hour suicide prevention training course
  • Have an associate’s degree

CASUDC Intern license candidates must:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree with required coursework in human growth and development across the lifespan and general psychology
  • Pay $70 application fee
  • Submit a completed application
  • Complete 300 hours of substance abuse-related education
  • Complete a 350-hour supervised practicum

To be a CASUDC, applicants must meet the requirements for the intern certification, as well as:

  • Pass a national exam (NEC Level II, or MAC from NAADAC or the AADC from the IC&RC)

LASUDC candidates must:

  • Have a CASUDC license or verification of a license from another state and a passing national exam score, such as the NEC Level 2, MAC, or AADC
  • Complete 4,000 hour of supervised work experience as a CASUDC (if 2,000 hours have already been submitted for another Utah SUDC license, then only 4,000 hours are required)
  • Complete the Verification of Experience form
  • Pay $85 application fee
  • Submit a completed application
  • Complete a two-hour suicide prevention training course
  • Have a bachelor’s degree

All substance abuse counselor licenses in Utah expire on May 31st of odd-numbered years. Renewals cost $78.

Counselors must complete 40 hours of continuing education in order to renew. Six hours must be in ethics and two must be in suicide prevention.

Rehabilitation Counseling Licenses in Utah

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing

There are two primary licenses issued to rehabilitation counselors in Utah: Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) and Licensed Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LACMHC).

If a LACMHC is lacking required coursework, they may be issued a LACHMC Extern license which allows the licensee to complete the required classes within three years while completing supervised work experience.

Requirements for LACMHC licensure include:

  • Completing a master’s or doctorate in clinical mental health counseling of at least 60 semester or 90 quarter hours from a CACREP accredited institution. If a degree is earned at a non-CACREP institution, then it must meet programmatic requirements, including a 1,000-hour internship with at least 400 hours of direct client interaction.
  • Submitting an application
  • Paying $85 application fee

To become a LCMHC, applicants must meet the LACMHC requirements as well as:

  • Pass the NCMHCE exam
  • Pay $120 application fee
  • Complete a two-hour suicide prevention course
  • Complete 4,000 hours of post-master’s supervised work experience. Of those hours, 1,000 must be in mental health therapy and 100 must be in face-to-face supervision.

LCMHC and LACMHC licenses in Utah expire every two years on the 30th of September of even-numbered years.

Counselors are required to submit 40 hours of continuing education hours, of which six must be in ethics and two in suicide prevention. Renewals cost $93.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Licenses in Utah

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Utah Psychologist Licensing Board

The Utah Psychologist Licensing Board credentials Behavior Analysts and Assistant Behavior Analysts.

Requirements for licensure are:

  • Complete 1,500 hours of supervised work experience for Behavior Analysts or 1,000 for Assistant Behavior Analysts
  • Submit a completed application
  • Pass either the BCBA or BCaBA examination
  • Pay a $120 application fee
  • Submit official transcripts

Behavior analyst licenses issued in Utah expire on September 30th of even-numbered years. Renewals cost $93.

Marriage and Family Therapy Licenses in Utah

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements
Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing

There are two primary licenses issued in Utah: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (LAMFT).

If an LAMFT is lacking required coursework, they may be issued an LAMFT Extern license, which allows the licensee to complete the required classes within three years while completing supervised work experience.

Requirements for LAMFT licensure include:

  • A master’s or doctorate in marriage and family therapy from a COAMFTE-accredited program or one accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or a program that meets coursework requirements
  • A completed application
  • An $85 application fee

To become an LMFT, applicants must meet the LAMFT requirements, as well as:

  • Pass the AMFTRB exam
  • Pay $120 application fee
  • Complete a two-hour suicide prevention course
  • Complete 4,000 hours of post-master’s supervised work experience (1,000 hours must be in mental health therapy and 100 hours must be in face-to-face supervision)

LMFT and LAMFT licenses in Utah expire every two years on the 30th of September of even-numbered years.

Counselors are required to submit 40 hours of continuing education hours, of which 15 must be related to marriage and family therapy, six must be in ethics and two in suicide prevention. Renewals cost $93.

Child (Pediatric) Behavioral Therapy Licenses in Utah

Licensing AuthorityEligibility & DetailsRenewal Requirements

Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing

There are two primary licenses issued to child therapists in Utah: Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) and Licensed Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LACMHC).

If a LACMHC is lacking required coursework, they may be issued a LACHMC Extern license which allows the licensee to complete the required classes within three years while completing supervised work experience.

Requirements for LACMHC licensure include:

  • Completing a master’s or doctorate in clinical mental health counseling of at least 60 semester or 90 quarter hours from a CACREP accredited institution. If a degree is earned at a non-CACREP institution, then it must meet programmatic requirements, including a 1,000-hour internship with at least 400 hours of direct client interaction.
  • Submitting an application
  • Paying $85 application fee

To become a LCMHC, applicants must meet the LACMHC requirements as well as:

  • Pass the NCMHCE exam
  • Pay $120 application fee
  • Complete a two-hour suicide prevention course
  • Complete 4,000 hours of post-master’s supervised work experience. Of those hours, 1,000 must be in mental health therapy and 100 must be in face-to-face supervision.

LCMHC and LACMHC licenses in Utah expire every two years on the 30th of September of even-numbered years.

Counselors are required to submit 40 hours of continuing education hours, of which six must be in ethics and two in suicide prevention. Renewals cost $93.

Vanessa Salvia

Vanessa Salvia

Writer

Vanessa Salvia is an Oregon-based freelance writer and editor with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. As fun as rigorous studies in math and science were, Vanessa took an independent path and developed a prolific career covering lifestyle and healthcare topics for magazines and newspapers, important industries such as concrete construction and building waterproofing, and even hard science. You can get in touch at Sage Media and Marketing.

Counseling Schools & Licensure in Nearby States