Connecticut Counseling License Requirements
If you would like to practice as a counselor in Connecticut, you will likely need to become licensed. There are 11,280 people practicing counseling in the state across the five major subfields as of May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1-5 The primary counseling license in the state is the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), which is regulated by the Connecticut Department of Health. To read more about counseling licensure in Connecticut and the processes associated with each type of counseling, continue reading below.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Counselor in Connecticut
- Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) Licensing Process
- Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Connecticut
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
- School Counselor
- Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional (LCDP)
- Other Professional Counseling Careers
- Connecticut Counseling Career and Salary Information
- Counseling Associations in Connecticut
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Become a Counselor in Connecticut
Most types of Connecticut-licensed counselors discussed below need a master’s degree to earn licensure and practice counseling in the state. There are various counseling schools in Connecticut that offer degrees that satisfy this requirement. A degree from an out-of-state school may also be acceptable if it meets coursework requirements. In addition to a degree, most licenses require a certain number of hours of supervised work experience and some require the passing of a national exam. If you already hold a license in another state and are looking to practice in Connecticut, visit our Counseling License Reciprocity Guide.
1. Decide which area of counseling to pursue.
The first step to becoming a licensed counselor in Connecticut is to decide which type of counseling you would like to practice. It may be helpful to think about certain issues that interest you and which types of people you hope to work with.
2. Earn the degree(s) required for your counseling practice area.
Once you have decided on an area of counseling, you will likely need to earn a degree in counseling. In most types of counseling in the state, you will need to earn a master’s degree with coursework in certain areas. Note that Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADCs) do not need a degree to become certified, but they will still need to complete certain educational requirements, and the possession of a degree may increase their job possibilities.
3. Get licensed to practice counseling in Connecticut.
Once you have earned the appropriate degree for your desired counseling license, you will usually be required to earn postgraduate supervised experience. Some license types, including the LPC, require a national exam to be passed. LPCs, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs), and Alcohol and Drug Counselors (A&DCs) are regulated by the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH), while school counselors are regulated by the Connecticut Department of Education (DPE). Continue reading to learn more about how to become each type of counselor in Connecticut.
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Licensing Process
The Connecticut Department of Health (DPH) regulates the certification of licensed professional counselors in the state. To become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Connecticut, you will need to obtain either a graduate degree in clinical mental health from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling Related Education Programs (CACREP) or a graduate degree that includes 60 graduate hours in counseling or a related mental health field as well as specific coursework requirements. Other options include earning a graduate degree in counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy, or psychology from a regionally accredited institution or completing either a 100-hour counseling practicum or a 600-hour clinical mental health counseling internship taught by a faculty member licensed as a professional counselor or its equivalent in another state. LPCs in Connecticut provide individual, group, marriage, and family counseling services to clients, can give functional assessments relating to disability, and conduct crisis intervention and consultation with individuals or groups. If you would like to learn more about what professional counselors do, read our mental health counselor career guide. To become an LPC in Connecticut, you will:
1. Apply for the Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) credential.
After you have obtained your graduate degree, you will need to complete supervised experience. To work with clients and complete the experience requirement, you must be licensed as an LPCA. You do not need to pass an exam for the LPCA, but you should have completed your graduate degree. The LPCA license application is available on the DPH website.
2. Accrue 3,000 hours of postgraduate supervised experience.
To qualify for the LPC, you will need to accrue 3,000 hours of supervised experience in a professional counseling environment. These hours should be over a period of at least one year but no more than two years, and include a minimum of 100 hours of direct supervision. The supervision should be conducted by a licensed physician certified in psychiatry, a licensed psychologist, a licensed advanced practice registered nurse (must be 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. You will document this experience using the Verification of Postgraduate Degree Supervised Professional Counseling Experience form.
3. Pass a national exam.
In Connecticut, you have a choice to take one of two exams: the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), both administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). You can find exam preparation materials for the NCE and the NCMHCE on the NBCC website.
4. Apply for LPC licensure.
Applications for LPC licensure must be completed online through the eLicense website. You will also need to submit transcripts and a Course of Study form for all graduate-level coursework completed, the Verification of Supervised Experience form, a score report for the national exam taken, a completed application, and a fee of $315 (as of November 2022).
5. Receive your LPC license.
Within three to four weeks of receiving your application, the DPH will determine if you meet the requirements for licensure. You will receive an email notification at that time with the license number and effective date. Your licensure documents will follow in the mail.
LPC Licensure by Endorsement in Connecticut
While Connecticut does not offer licensure by reciprocity, the DPH does offer licensure by endorsement for those licensed in another state as a professional counselor, so long as the DPH determines that the scope of practice is similar to that of Connecticut and there are no pending disciplinary actions. If the practitioner’s current license is deemed to be equivalent, the applicant can substitute three years of licensed work experience for the supervised experience requirement.
Counselor License Renewal and Continuing Education Information
To renew your license, you will need to complete at least 15 hours of qualifying continuing education (CE) during a one-year period, except for the first year of licensure. Licensees are required to keep proof of their CE hours for a period of three years in case it is requested by the DPH. You can renew your license online on the eLicense website.
Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Connecticut
For different counseling license types, there are varying pathways to licensure. In addition to the LPC license, Connecticut offers licenses for licensed marriage and family therapists, school counselors, and substance abuse counselors. The processes for becoming each of these counselors are detailed below.
Licensed Marital and Family Therapist (LMFT)
The Connecticut State Department of Public Health (DPH) also regulates licensed marriage and family counselors in the state. LMFTs in Connecticut need a graduate degree in marital and family therapy from a Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)-accredited program or a qualifying degree from a regionally-accredited institution. Your program should also include a supervised practicum or internship with an emphasis on marital and family counseling; you can also get the practicum from a COAMFTE-approved, accredited postgraduate clinical training program. After completing the educational requirements, you can continue the licensing process:
- Complete 12 months of postgraduate supervised experience with a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct client marital and family therapy services and 100 hours supervised by an LMFT. Note that in order to complete supervised experience, you must hold a Marital and Family Therapist Associate license.
- Take the Examination in Marital and Family Therapy from the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
- Apply for LMFT licensure using the State of Connecticut’s eLicense website and paying the $315 application fee.
- Receive your license to practice marital and family therapy.
To find out more about this type of counseling, check out our marriage and family therapy guide.
In Connecticut, as in most states, school counselors are certified by the State Board of Education (SBE) under the special services endorsements designation. School counselors have a far-reaching influence on the school community and assist in providing programs and services that support student success in school and beyond. To become a school counselor in Connecticut, you will need a minimum of a master’s degree and to have completed a state-approved certification program in school counseling at a regionally accredited school. Your graduate program should include 30 semester credit hours in school counseling services as well as coursework in certain areas. Once you have your professional educator certificate (or initial educator certificate with 30 months of teaching experience) to teach in Connecticut, the process to become a school counselor will include, in general:
- Provide evidence of completing supervised laboratory and practicum experiences in school counseling.
- Complete at least 36 clock hours in special education.
- Request and receive your school counselor endorsement.
- If desired, complete at least 45 semester hours of graduate credit in counseling (may include coursework from initial educator certificate), to advance your certificate to the professional level.
If you would like to learn more about being a school counselor, see our school counselor career guide.
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC)
If you are interested in becoming an alcohol and drug counselor in the state of Connecticut, you will need to go through the Connecticut State Department of Public Health (DPH). Connecticut offers alcohol and drug counselor certification and licensure, with requirements for licensed counselors being the most stringent. To become a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC), you need a master’s degree in social work, counseling, psychology, or a related field including 18 semester hours of counseling coursework. To become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in the state, you do not need a degree. Both types of counselors will need to complete 360 hours of approved education, with 240 hours designated to alcohol and drug abuse counseling. Then, the general steps to become a Connecticut alcohol and drug counselor include:
- Complete 300 hours of supervised practical training.
- Complete three years of supervised work experience.
- Complete the International Certification Examination for Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Counselors from the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse, Inc. (IC&RC/AODA).
- Submit an application online along with the $190 application fee and receive your LADC.
Optional Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Connecticut
Professional substance abuse counselors in Connecticut looking to enhance their skills and job prospects may be interested in adding one or more optional substance abuse counseling credentials. The Connecticut Certification Board (CCB) offers several credentials related to substance abuse counseling, and while these are not required for practice, adding on one or more of these may increase your job possibilities. Credentials offered include:
- Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC)
- Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC)
- Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS)
For more information about a career in substance abuse counseling, you can read our career guide.
Other Professional Counseling Careers
In addition to the counseling careers we have outlined above, there are many other subdisciplines that offer interesting and rewarding careers.
- Rehabilitation Counselor
- Gambling Counselor
- Genetic Counselor
- Youth Counselor
- Guidance Counselor
- Pastoral Counselor
- Recreational Therapist
Connecticut Counseling Career and Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Connecticut is home to the eighth-highest paying metropolitan area for rehabilitation counselors in the US.4 It also has the third-highest concentration of rehabilitation counselor jobs.4 Of the major counseling areas tracked by the BLS, educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors have the highest average annual salary at $68,660, followed by marriage and family therapists at $64,190.2,3
In terms of growth, Connecticut should see the most growth in the field of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling (19.6%) over the 10-year period between 2020 and 2030 according to Projections Central.6 Rehabilitation counselors and educational, guidance, career counselors, and advisors are tied for projected growth at 6.8%.6 Overall, the projected growth for counseling jobs in the state of Connecticut is lower than expected national rates.6
|Occupation||Number Employed1-5||Average Annual Salary1-5|
|Counselors, All Other||120||$50,050|
|Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors||3,320||$68,660|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||450||$64,190|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||4,800||$56,230|
Counseling Associations in Connecticut
- Connecticut Counseling Association (CCA): An organization that supports counselors by providing opportunities for professional development, networking, and resources.
- Connecticut School Counselors Association (CSCA): A professional organization that supports the role of professional school counselors through connecting, supporting, and empowering them.
- Connecticut Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (CTAMFT): The Connecticut chapter of the AAMFT, this organization aims to enhance the field of marriage and family therapy and advance the profession.
- Connecticut Association for Addiction Professionals (CAAP): Non-profit providing advocacy and education for professionals in the addiction field.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there counseling careers without a degree in Connecticut?
All counseling fields in Connecticut, with the exception of certified alcohol and drug counselors, require a graduate degree, in addition to supervised work experience and other requirements. To become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), you must complete 360 hours of education, though this is not required to culminate in a degree. However, to become a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC), you do need a master’s degree.
How much do professional counselors in Connecticut make?
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (which includes LPCs) earned $52,230 in 2021.1 The average salary for all types of counselors in Connecticut is $56,966 per year.1-5
How long does it take to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Connecticut?
The time it takes to become an LPC depends on many factors. For most people, it takes about four years to get a bachelor’s degree, one to two years to get a master’s degree, and about two years to accumulate the necessary supervised work experience, take the exam, and submit the application. In total, it can take eight years or more to earn licensure from the time you begin your bachelor’s degree.
Can I become an LPC in Connecticut with an online degree?
Yes, it is possible to become an LPC with an online degree, but your program of choice must be regionally accredited and approved by the licensing board for your chosen license. As long as you choose a program that meets these standards, then an online degree in counseling can be a convenient way to start your career. Keep in mind that most programs require an on-campus residency, typically a week long. Additionally, any internship and practicum experiences required for the program must take place in person.
How much do school counselors in Connecticut make?
According to the BLS, the category of educational, guidance, career counselors, and advisors (including school counselors) earn the highest average salary of any counseling group in the state, $68,660 per year.3
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211018.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Marriage and Family Therapists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Educational, Guidance, School, and Career Counselors and Advisors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211012.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Rehabilitation Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211015.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021 Counselors, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211019.htm
6. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm