Vermont Counseling License Requirements
As of May 2021, there are over 2,700 people in Vermont working in the five primary counseling fields.1-5 If you are interested in pursuing a counseling career here you will need an understanding of the laws and rules for counseling licensure in Vermont. On this page, you will learn the requirements to become a licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC), as well as the licensing processes required for other types of counseling.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Counselor in Vermont
- Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) Licensing Process
- Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Vermont
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
- School Counselor
- Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADC)
- Other Professional Counseling Careers
- Vermont Counseling Career and Salary Information
- Counseling Associations in Vermont
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Become a Counselor in Vermont
Vermont has rigorous licensure requirements for the major types of professional counseling. In many cases, applicants must have a related graduate degree that meets coursework requirements for the specialization area. There are several counseling schools in Vermont that can help you meet requirements. Licensure processes may also include examinations and clinical work experience. If you already hold a license in another state and are looking to practice in Vermont, visit our Counseling License Reciprocity Guide.
1. Pick which area of counseling to pursue.
Counseling is a broad field and to become a professional counselor you must decide on an area of specialization because the pathways to licensure vary. Making this decision ahead of time will ensure you choose the right degree program and coursework to meet the licensure demands in Vermont.
2. Meet the degree and coursework requirements for your chosen counseling area.
For most types of Vermont counselor licenses, applicants must have at least a master’s degree to be eligible for licensure. Mental health counselors must have a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling; marriage and family therapists must have a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy; and school counselors must have a master’s degree in school counseling. Degrees in closely related fields may be accepted if they meet substantial coursework requirements. Alcohol and drug abuse counselors can earn a credential with an associate’s degree or proof of enrollment in a bachelor’s degree program, but a master’s degree is required to practice as an independent clinical substance abuse counselor.
3. Get licensed to practice counseling in Vermont.
After you have completed your education, you will be ready to begin the licensure process with the appropriate Vermont licensing body. The Vermont Office of Professional Regulation’s Board of Allied Mental Health (the Board) licenses clinical mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists as allied mental health professionals and has distinct requirements for alcohol and drug abuse counseling licensure. School counselors are licensed by the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE). Keep reading this guide to learn more about these processes.
Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) Licensing Process
Mental health counseling is considered an allied mental health profession in Vermont and licenses for Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CMHCs) are issued by the Board of Allied Mental Health (the Board) of the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation. Applicants must have a 60-credit master’s or doctoral degree in mental health counseling with at least 700 hours of practicum or internship. In Vermont, CMHCs specialize in psychotherapeutic counseling methods, including assessing and treating psychopathology, mental illnesses, and psychiatric disabilities. Services can be provided to individuals or groups in independent practice or community-based settings. For more about a career in professional counseling, read our mental health counselor career guide. To become a CMHC in Vermont, follow these steps.
1. Register for the Vermont roster of non-licensed, non-certified psychotherapists and request permission to test.
All individuals who provide psychotherapy services must register for the Board’s roster of non-licensed, non-certified psychotherapists using the online portal. Applicants must submit transcripts indicating they have met the educational requirements as well as a signed and scanned copy of the disclosure document. There is no application fee to register. You must be on the roster before engaging in supervised practice; any supervision hours accumulated prior to approval will not be considered by the Board.
2. Accrue supervised experience.
Training counselors must complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience in no less than two years, including 2,000 hours of direct client contact. They must receive at least one hour of face-to-face supervision for every 30 hours of accrued experience from an approved supervisor and at least 50 hours must be on an individual basis. The supervisor must be a CMHC or other allied mental health professional approved by the Board with a valid license in good standing for at least three years. More information about supervision requirements can be found in the application instructions document.
3. Pass the required exams.
The Board requires all Vermont licensure applicants to pass both the National Counselor Exam (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). While the NCE is a general multiple-choice exam testing counseling knowledge, the NCMHCE is a simulation-based exam that tests for advanced mental health counseling skills and learning. The NBCC provides online handbooks for both the NCE and the NCMHCE with detailed information on the exam content, format, and process.
4. Apply for CMHC licensure.
Once you have met all the requirements, you can apply for licensure through the online portal; the application fee is $150 as of January 2023. You must submit an updated copy of the disclosure document and a supervision report.
5. Receive your CMHC license.
The Board processes complete applications in three to five business days. You can check the status of your application and print your license using the online portal; the Board no longer mails license certificates.
CMHC Licensure by Endorsement in Vermont
While Vermont does not have reciprocal agreements for CMHC licensure with other states, applicants are accepted for licensure by endorsement. These applicants must either be licensed in another state or Canadian province and have at least five years of current clinical mental health counseling experience or be licensed in another state or Canadian province that has substantially similar licensure requirements as Vermont. The Board can use discretion in approving applications from candidates who have only completed one of the required exams. Endorsement applicants must use the online portal to apply and provide copies of other licenses held and either copies of the statutes and rules from the other states or proof of five years of work experience. The application fee is $150 as of January 2023.
Counselor License Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Licenses must be renewed online biennially and renewal notices are mailed to licensees six weeks prior to expiry. The renewal fee is $250 as of January 2023. With the exception of the first renewal period, 40 hours of clinical continuing education (CE) must be completed during each two-year period, including four hours of professional ethics. Licensees should use the CE record to keep track of their completed hours and submit this document online when renewing.
Additional Counseling Careers and Licenses in Vermont
The pathway to a career as a professional counselor will vary depending on the area of specialization. Other major types of counseling licensure available in Vermont include marriage and family therapy, school counseling, and substance abuse counseling.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
To become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Vermont, you must have a license from the Board of Mental Allied Health (the Board). The minimum educational requirement is a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy that is either accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or meets specific coursework requirements including an internship that consists of 500 hours of direct marriage and family therapy services. In Vermont, LMFTs have a broad scope of practice that includes the diagnosis and treatment of mental, cognitive, or behavioral disorders using psychotherapy and other counseling modalities in the context of marital and family systems. The licensure process requires candidates to:
- Register for the Vermont roster of non-licensed, non-certified psychotherapists and request permission to test.
- Earn 3,000 hours of supervised experience over at least two years, 100 of which must include face-to-face supervision, and submit a Supervision Report to the Board.
- Take and pass the Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) National Examination from the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
- Receive your LMFT license.
To learn more about marital and family therapy careers, visit our LMFT career guide.
In Vermont, school counseling is an endorsement that can be added to an educator’s license. The Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) regulates the licensure of teachers as well as school counselors in the state. Licensed educators who would like to be school counselors for levels pre-K through 12th grade must demonstrate competency in certain areas through coursework. They also must have a master’s degree in school counseling or a closely related subject. Once you have completed a master’s program in school counseling, you will:
- Complete a supervised internship of 600 hours in counseling with at least 60 hours in school counseling at both the elementary (PK-6) and middle/secondary (Grades 7-12) levels.
- Apply online for a Level I Professional Educator License with a School Counselor endorsement.
- Receive your Level I Professional Educator License with a School Counselor endorsement and earn three years of experience as a school counselor.
- Successfully complete 45 hours of professional learning, 15 of which must be related to the subject of school counseling.
- Submit a transition form along with your application to the appropriate Local and Regional Standards Board (L/RSB) for approval.
- Submit your application package to the AOE and receive your Level II license and endorsement.
To learn more about a career in school counseling, see our school counseling career guide.
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADC)
Vermont alcohol and drug abuse counselors help clients identify goals and create action plans to address addictions and dependency problems using adapted psychotherapy and counseling techniques. Currently, the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation (the Office) licenses alcohol and drug abuse counselors who work in settings certified by the Vermont Department of Health-Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs (ADAP). Credentials are available for Apprentice Addiction Professionals (AAPs), Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselors (CADCs), and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (LADCs). AAPs must have an associate’s degree or be enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program, CADCs must have a bachelor’s degree, and LADCs must have a master’s or doctoral degree that includes the completion of a 600-hour supervised internship. To become an alcohol and drug abuse counselor in Vermont, follow these steps:
- Secure employment with a Vermont Department of Health’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs (ADAP)-certified provider.
- Register for the Vermont roster of non-licensed, non-certified psychotherapists.
- Submit the AAP, CADC, or LADC application online.
- Complete the required training in addictions and substance abuse (AAPs: 40 hours; CADCs and LADCs: 270 hours)
- Earn supervised experience (CADCs: 4,000 hours; LADCs: 2,000 hours).
- Take and pass the Vermont AAP exam, the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) exam (for CADC), or the IC&RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) exam (for LADC).
- Receive your alcohol and drug abuse counselor license.
Optional Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Vermont
In addition to the credentials listed above, Recovery Vermont, a program of the Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (VAMHAR), offers an optional credential for substance abuse professionals who wish to further specialize in the field, the Vermont Certified Recovery Coach (CRC) credential. While this credential is not necessary to practice substance abuse counseling in Vermont, it may be of interest to people who are interested in the field but do not have the qualifications required for counseling.
More about substance abuse counselors can be found on our substance abuse counseling career guide.
Other Professional Counseling Careers
Those with a degree in counseling can pursue many different career paths. Other types of counseling careers in Vermont, in addition to the major types described above, include:
- Rehabilitation Counselor
- Gambling Counselor
- Genetic Counselor
- Youth Counselor
- Guidance Counselor
- Pastoral Counselor
- Recreational Therapist
Vermont Counseling Career and Salary Information
In Vermont, there are over 2,700 people employed in the various fields of counseling, with the largest number (1,210) employed in the area of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling.1-5 In addition, there are 970 counselors working as educational, guidance, school, and career counselors and advisors; and 550 as rehabilitation counselors.3,4 Of the categories with available data, educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors earn the highest average annual salary ($57,470) followed by substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors ($48,890) and rehabilitation counselors ($46,190).1,3,4
Many counseling fields are projected for double-digit growth in Vermont in long term projections through 2030.6 Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling jobs are expected to experience the most growth at a rate of 21.7%, adding around 400 new positions in the state over the 10-year period ending in 2030.6 The field of “all other” counseling is projected to grow by 17.6%; education, guidance, school, and vocational counseling by 11%; and rehabilitation counseling by 9.3% during the same time period.6
|Occupation||Number Employed1-5||Average Annual Salary1-5|
|Counselors, All Other||N.Av.||$41,080|
|Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors||970||$57,470|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||N.Av.||N.Av.|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||1,210||$48,890|
Counseling Associations in Vermont
- Vermont Addiction Professionals Association (VAPA): The Vermont affiliate of the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Counselors (NAADAC) that provides advocacy, mentorship, and networking opportunities for substance abuse professionals in Vermont.
- Vermont Mental Health Counselors Association (VTMHCA): Provides continuing education and public information about the role of mental health counselors.
- Vermont School Counselor Association (VTSCA): A professional organization that promotes the school counseling profession within Vermont through advocacy, leadership, collaboration, and systemic change.
Frequently Asked Questions
What coursework should I take to become a mental health counselor in Vermont?
The Board has strict coursework requirements for those seeking licensure as CMHCs. The degree must include at least three credits in five of the seven core areas, including counseling theories, psychometric assessment, and treatment modalities. All degrees must also include three credits in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment that provides an understanding of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and psychopathology. The Board does not accept supplementary coursework in these areas completed after the degree has been conferred. Additional coursework requirements outlined in the coursework requirements instructions document must also be met, but can be met through supplementary, post-degree coursework if needed.
Where can I complete my mental health counseling degree in Vermont?
The Board accepts any 60-credit graduate degree program that meets the mental health counseling coursework requirements. Programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or that have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Board are preapproved. As of January 2023, four schools in Vermont offer preapproved counseling programs: Antioch University New England, Northern Vermont University, and Saint Michaels College. Further information about current and preapproved programs can be found on the Board website. Applicants who did not complete a preapproved program must complete the education and coursework requirements worksheet as part of the application process.
Are there counseling careers without a degree in Vermont?
All the major types of counseling licensure reviewed in this guide require a degree. Clinical mental health counseling, marital and family therapy, and school counseling all require a master’s or doctoral degree in a related subject that meets specific coursework requirements. For alcohol and drug abuse counseling, you can become an Apprentice Addictions Professional (AAP) with an associate’s degree or while enrolled at least part-time in a bachelor’s degree program. The more advanced credentials for Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselors (ADCs) and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADCs) require a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree respectively.
Who can be a CMHC supervisor in Vermont?
The Office of Professional Regulation (the Office) allows a wide range of mental health professionals to provide supervision to aspiring CMHCs including licensed physicians or osteopathic physicians certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Medical Specialties, licensed psychiatric nurse practitioners, licensed psychologists, CMHCs, licensed clinical social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, or licensed professionals who have received prior approval from the Office. Supervisors must have an active license in good standing with at least three years of experience. If the supervisor is licensed in another state but not licensed in Vermont, they must complete and submit the supervisor licensure verification form.
What counseling areas have the most annual openings in Vermont?
According to Projections Central, 420 average annual openings are expected across all projected counseling fields through 2030, including replacement jobs.6 The highest number of average annual openings are projected for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (230) and educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (110).6 Rehabilitation counselors are also projected to have 60 average annual openings and “all other” counselors are projected to have 20 average openings per year including replacements.6
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, 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