How to Become a Licensed Counselor in Vermont

How Do I Become a Professional Counselor in Vermont?

People who have a strong desire to improve the health and well-being of others may be ideally suited for a career as a mental health counselor. In Vermont, a counseling career may present significant opportunities, given that the state ranked first in the nation for its concentration of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors as of May 2020. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 5.61 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor jobs for every thousand jobs in Vermont during this time.

Learning how to become a mental health counselor in Vermont starts with familiarizing yourself with the education, experience, and examination requirements set forth by the Vermont Board of Allied Health Practitioners and the Secretary of State Office of Professional Regulation.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in Vermont?

The first step to becoming a licensed mental health counselor in Vermont requires the completion of a master’s or doctoral mental health counseling program that’s either accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or is part of a school that has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Board of Allied Mental Health.

Counseling Educational Track
Education Requirements Education Length Available Programs
Undergraduate Work Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling 4 Years Online or Campus
Graduate Work Earn a Master's Degree in Counseling 5-6 Years Online or Campus
PHD or Doctoral Work Earn a Doctorate in Counseling 7-8 Years Online or Campus

If you have completed a program that is not accredited by the CACREP or is within a school that has an MOU, you must complete the Board’s Education and Coursework Requirements Worksheet and show proof of the completion of:

  • Multi-cultural studies
  • Research and evaluation
  • Career and lifestyle appraisal
  • Marriage, couples & family counseling
  • Human sexuality for counselors
  • Crisis intervention
  • Addictive disorders
  • Psychopharmacology

The program must include at least 60 semester credits and include a practicum/internship of at least 700 hours.

Many graduate programs in counseling are now offered in a hybrid and/or online format. These programs combine the rigor and quality of an on-campus program with the convenience and flexibility of online study. An online master’s degree in counseling is often the ideal way to complete the required education leading to licensure as a mental health counselor while you continue to fulfill your professional and personal obligations.

Find a graduate counseling program in Vermont.

What are the Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in Vermont?

After graduating from an approved graduate course of study in mental health counseling, you’ll apply to take either the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), both of which are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Apply to take the NCE or NCMHCE exam.

The NCE is more of a general certification and the test consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that cover a general range of counseling topics. The NCMHCE is specifically for licensing clinical mental health counselors and focuses on a more specialized range of topics.

What Are the Supervised Experience Requirements to Become a Counselor in Vermont?

You must complete at least 3,000 hours of supervised work in clinical mental health counseling over the course of two years. At least 100 hours should be comprised of face to face supervision with a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist or mental health counselor.

Before beginning your supervised experience, you will need to register with the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation as a non-licensed, non-certified psychotherapist.

After completing the examination and experience requirements, you’ll be eligible for licensure as a clinical mental health counselor in Vermont.

Counseling Career Outlook in Vermont

Between 2018 and 2028, the number of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Vermont is projected to increase by an impressive 18%. During this ten-year period ending in 2028, the state will see about 120 annual job openings in this profession due to a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.

As of May 2020, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Vermont earned a median salary of $39,190. Those with just a couple years of experience can expect to earn salaries that reflect the 25thpercentile, which was about $34,610, while those with considerable experience and a solid standing in the mental health field can expect to earn salaries that reflect the 90th percentile, which was about $63,570.

Rehabilitation counselors in Vermont, who treat clients with physical, emotional, mental, and developmental disabilities to help them live full, independent lives, earned a median salary of $39,370 as of May 2020, while those at the top of the pay scale (90th percentile) earned about $78,130 during this time.

All other types of counselors in Vermont earned a median salary of $35,880 as of May 2020, while the highest earners (90th percentile) earned about $47,160.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Vermont

Additional Resources for Vermont Applicants

From grief counseling to pediatric counseling to couples counseling and beyond, careers in counseling are varied and rewarding. While you’re learning more about Vermont’s counseling careers, you may also be interested in learning about similar professions in the state and how they’re regulated:

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and counselors, all other. Figures represent state data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed May 2021.

State job growth projections for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors and mental health counselors sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net database (2018-2028).