How to Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Connecticut

People who want to become licensed professional counselors in Connecticut know that the Constitution State should be happy to hear that Connecticut has the highest per-capita income and highest median household income in the United States. If you want to make a career out of helping people through the pursuit of studies in counseling and psychiatry, a career in counseling might be the right move for you.

If you want to become a counselor in Connecticut, there are several career options: A counseling or school psychologist, a marriage and family therapist, a rehabilitation counselor or a mental health counselor that helps people who have substance abuse disorders.

To learn about how to start a rewarding and fulfilling career in counseling, including the education and training requirements for Connecticut, keep reading.

Education Requirements to Become a Counselor in Connecticut

Licensed professional counselors in Connecticut are required to have a strong educational background and experience gleaned during on-the-job training and supervised experience with candidates pursuing a master’s degree from an accredited institution. The state also requires a passing score on a board-approved examination.

See the table below for more detailed information on educational requirements for a degree in counseling in Connecticut.

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

The first step to take to become a counselor is to earn a bachelor’s degree in a field like psychology or counseling. Then, you’ll want to earn a master’s degree with 60 graduate hours in counseling, human services, mental health and wellness or something similar. Before you apply, you’ll want to make sure the school you’re interested in attending is accredited through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP), which accredits graduate degree programs in counseling. A master’s program typically takes around two years to complete, and there are several factors beyond accreditation to consider when you’re choosing a school, such as the cost of tuition and fees.

In Connecticut, Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) are required to pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE), a 200-item multiple-choice examination to assess a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities. Apply for the online exam here. Another option is to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), which is an exam focused on simulations that are designed to ascertain a candidate’s range of competencies.

Connecticut requires at least 3,000 hours of postgraduate clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed professional approved by the board in a year. At least 100 of those hours should be  under direct supervision by a licensed physician certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; a licensed psychologist; a licensed advanced practice registered nurse certified as a clinical specialist in adult psychiatric and mental health nursing with the American Nurses Credentialing Center; a licensed marital and family therapist; a licensed clinical social worker; or a licensed professional counselor.

Once you’ve completed your education for licensure to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. You should include the $315 application fee and may need to meet other qualifications, such as submitting to a background check, and you must apply online.

Which Type of Counselor Will You Become?

Occupational specializations for therapists include: school/academic counselor, rehabilitation counselor, substance abuse and mental health counselor or a marriage and family therapist. Also consider what environment you’d like to work in, whether that be a hospital, private practice, school, etc.

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists apply psychological principles to address student learning and behavioral problems; design and implement performance plans and evaluate performances; and counsel students and families at schools, health practitioner offices and outpatient care centers.

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors help students develop academic and social skills to succeed in life. They also help people develop vocational skills and counsel individuals and groups. Counselors typically have a master’s degree and the median annual salary was $57,040 in 2019.

Rehabilitation Counselors help people who have physical, mental, developmental and emotional disabilities and they work in community rehab centers, senior citizen centers and for youth guidance groups. Demand for rehab counselors is expected to grow 10% from 2019 to 2029, and the median annual salary in the U.S. was $35,950 in 2019.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors provide treatment and help patients who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, behavioral disorders and typically work in outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers, hospitals and residential mental health facilities.

Counseling Career Outlook and Salaries in Connecticut

The job growth outlook for counselors in Connecticut is strong with double-digit growth projected in the coming years. The Connecticut Department of Labor provided the following employment projections for various counseling occupations in the state for the 10-year period ending in 2026:

  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors: 14% growth
  • Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselors: 8.1%
  • Mental Health Counselors: 18.4%
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: 17%
  • Counselors, All Other: 16%

The median household income in Connecticut for 2015-19 was $78,444, which is $12K higher than the national median household income of $62,843 for the same period, which means that your outlook as a counselor in Connecticut is strong. Considering the projected growth for counselors nationwide, highly educated counselors in Connecticut should earn a higher salary than the statewide median salary.

Here are the salaries for Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists; Educational, Guidance and Career Counselors and Advisors; Rehabilitation Counselors; and Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors in Connecticut, according to 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists:

Bottom 10%: $55,360

Annual Mean Salary: $92,790

Top 10%: $139,600

Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors:

Bottom 10%: $32,840

Annual Mean Salary: $65,890

Top 10%: $99,400

Rehabilitation Counselors:

Bottom 10%: $24,530

Annual Mean Salary: $44,490

Top 10%: $76,990

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors:

Bottom 10%: $31,960

Annual Mean Salary: $55,530

Top 10%: $82,690

Counselors, All Other:

Bottom 10%: $35,600

Annual Mean Salary: $57,390

Top 10%: $79,940

(Salary and job growth data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2019 for Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists; Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors; Marriage and Family Therapists; Rehabilitation Counselors; Substance Abuse, behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors; and Counselors, All Others. Figures represent national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Information accessed March 2021.)

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from Connecticut

Additional Resources for Connecticut Applicants: