Vermont Counseling License Requirements
The Green Mountain State is largely comprised of smaller communities instead of larger cities with many jobs available for those in the counseling field. There are currently about 2,700 people working in various counseling fields in Vermont.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. Licensure processes may also include examinations and clinical work experience.
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 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. 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 Vermont Office of Professional Regulation. Applicants must have a 60-credit master’s degree in mental health counseling with at least 600 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 Office’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 Office.
2. Accrue supervised experience.
Training counselors must complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience in not less than two years, including 2,000 hours of direct client contact. They must receive at least one hour of face-to-face supervision per 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 Office 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 Office 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 and receive CMHC licensure.
Once you have met all the requirements, you can apply for licensure through the online portal; the application fee is $125 as of September 2019. You must submit an updated copy of the disclosure document and a supervision report. The Office 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 Office no longer mails license certificates.
Professional Counselor 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 Office 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 $125 as of September 2019.
Counselor Licensing 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 $150 as of September 2019. 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 Vermont Office of Professional Regulation. The minimum educational requirement is a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy that is either accredited by COAMFTE or meets specific coursework requirements. 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 supervised experience.
- Pass the National Marriage and Family Therapy Exam.
- Request and 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 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 the elementary and middle/secondary levels.
- Apply to add a new endorsement to your education license online.
- Receive your school counselor 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 licenses alcohol and drug abuse counselors that work in settings certified by the Vermont Department of Health-Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs (ADAP). The Office is currently reviewing the licensure requirements and these rules may change once permanent rules are approved. Three credentials are available as of September 2019 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 and complete 40 hours of training in addictions and substance abuse; CADCs must have a bachelor’s degree with 270 hours of documented training in addictions and substance abuse; and LADCs must have a master’s or doctoral degree and 270 hours of addictions training. To become a LADC, follow these steps:
- Secure employment with an ADAP-certified provider.
- Apply for LADC licensure and permission to take the exam.
- Earn supervised experience and pass the IC&RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam.
- Receive your license.
Other Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in Vermont
- Vermont Certified Recovery Coach (CRC)
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 in the profession. 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 close to 2,700 people employed in the various fields of counseling, with the largest number employed (1,160) in the area of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling.1-5 In addition, there are 960 counselors working as educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors; 440 as rehabilitation counselors; and 40 as “all other counselors.”1,2,4
Many counseling fields are projected for double-digit growth in Vermont in long term projections through 2026. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling jobs are expected to grow by 14%, adding another 60 positions in the state.6 Rehabilitation counseling is expected to grow by 14.1%, while education, guidance, school, and vocational counseling is expected to grow only 3.7% in the same time period.6 Mental health counselors, which Projections Central separates into its own category, can expect the most growth at 15.3%.6
|Occupation||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Counselors, All Other||40||$42,280|
|Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors||960||$54,790|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||—||—|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||1,640||$46,950|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1-5
Counseling Associations 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 Office 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 Office does not accept supplementary coursework in these areas completed after the degree has been conferred. Additional coursework requirements outlined in the Office’s rules 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 Office accepts any 60-credit graduate degree program that meets the mental health counseling coursework requirements. Programs accredited by CACREP or that have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Office are preapproved. As of September 2019, four schools in Vermont offer preapproved counseling programs: Northern Vermont University; Southern New Hampshire University; Springfield College; and Saint Michaels College. Further information about current and preapproved programs can be found on the Office 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 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 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 professional 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?
The Bureau of Labour Statistics projects 330 annual openings across all projected counseling fields through 2026, including replacement jobs.6 The most annual openings are projected for mental health counselors (110) and educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors (90).6 Rehabilitation counselors are also projected to have 80 annual openings and substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are projected to have 50 openings per year including replacements.6
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, 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, Marriage and Family Therapists: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211013.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211012.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Rehabilitation Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211015.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Counselors, All Other: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211019.htm
6. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections 2016-2026: https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm