How to Become a Licensed Counselor in Colorado

Excellent counselors are in high demand all over the country, and the state of Colorado is no different. Recent occupational projections suggest that the counseling industry within Colorado will grow more than 6 percent through the year 2020. Higher demand often means more opportunities for counselors as well as more attractive salaries. Those who feel a calling to help others and improve lives may be well suited for counseling and the state of Colorado is a wonderful place to learn and practice counseling.

Education Requirements for Becoming a Counselor in Colorado

Those who wish to become professional counselors in Colorado need at least a Master’s degree in counseling or a closely related field. It is required that the Master’s program be composed of at least 48 semester credit hours. The program should be accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency; those programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) are a great choice. There are more than 10 accredited counseling schools in the state of Colorado, so finding a high-quality one shouldn't be difficult.

Counseling Educational Track
Education RequirementsEducation LengthAvailable Programs
Undergraduate WorkEarn a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling4 YearsOnline or Campus
Graduate WorkEarn a Master's Degree in Counseling5-6 YearsOnline or Campus
PHD or Doctoral WorkEarn a Doctorate in Counseling7-8 YearsOnline or Campus

Supervised Professional Practice Requirements

After completing the degree program to become a counselor, individuals will need at least 2 years of supervised professional practice. This includes at least 20 hours per week spent in a clinical, healthcare or other professional setting and working with patients under the supervision of a professional counselor. At the end of the practice, the time spent should be at least 2,000 hours for those with a Master’s degree or 1,000 for those with a Doctorate’s degree.

Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in Colorado

In order to gain licensure within the state of Colorado, individuals will be required to pass an examination that tests their knowledge of counseling and ethics. The board will accept passing scores from the National Counselor Examination administered by the NBCC. The other examination required is the jurisprudence examination which specifically focuses on ethics and is an open-book exam.

Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado

After completing all of the requirements set forth by Colorado law, individuals must submit an application for licensure to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. There may be an application fee that should be submitted along with the application.

Note: To learn more about the application process to become a counselor in Colorado, please visit the DORA website.

Salary and Occupation Information for Counselors in Colorado

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has compiled data for counselors in the state of Colorado. As of May 2012, there were 1,420 substance abuse and behavioral counselors, 4,130 educational counselors, 3,320 mental health counselors and 1,830 rehabilitation counselors employed within the state. The annual median salary for these professionals is between $39,250 and $46,920. Salary will differ depending upon location within the state, education and experience.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Colorado

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Additional Resources for Colorado Applicants: