Thousands of people in Connecticut call counseling their profession. In general, they’re referred to by the Connecticut Department of Public Health as Licensed Professional Counselors.
LPCs provide a wide range of general and focused counseling services to the public. Beyond therapeutic activities for individuals, groups, couples and families, they might also complete evaluations of individuals or groups during a time of crisis, help people struggling with disabilities or provide intervention actions. The state’s DPH is the government agency that handles all licensing matters for this field.
This guide covers more than merely how to become a counselor in Connecticut. It discusses some of the different types of counselors and licenses and continuing education, salary and other requirements. Read on to learn more about this important career path:
Types of Counselor Licenses in Connecticut
The Connecticut DPH approves licenses for many different types of counselors, including general Licensed Professional Counselors, Alcohol and Drug Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Rehabilitation Counselors. When searching for information about how to become a counselor in Connecticut, an individual might have difficulty understanding the requirements for Alcohol and Drug Counselors because ADCs can possess a certification or license. The state also approves certifications for various school counselors, known as Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, through the Connecticut Department of Education.
Instruction Required for Counselor Licensure in Connecticut
Licensed Professional Counselors and most other types of counselors must have a degree in an approved field of study. Alcohol and Drug Counselors represent the biggest exception. Although LADCs must have at least a master’s degree, CADCs merely need to meet certain instruction and other requirements. The location of the school, resident or non-resident, matters less than the quality of the education and completion of certain general education, counseling coursework and training requirements. Additionally, instruction requirements typically include a certain number of supervised work hours and hands-on experience.
When required for the type of license, the student must have a master’s or doctoral degree related to counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychology or social work. For an LPC career, they must complete at least 60 graduate-semester credit hours of instruction or 90 quarter-hours of graduate-level coursework in counseling, 100 practicum hours in the field by a licensed or certified faculty member or professional counselor and 600 internship hours related to clinical mental health counseling by a faculty member or professional counselor.
According to the Connecticut DPH, areas of education must include study of:
1. Appraisals or Tests and Measurements for Individuals and Groups
2. Career and Lifestyle Development
3. Counseling Theories and Techniques or Helping Relationships
4. Group Dynamics, Processing and Counseling
5. Human Growth and Development
6. Professional Orientation to Counseling
7. Research and Evaluation
8. Social and Cultural Foundations
They must document this requirement using the Verification of Course of Study form.
For an LADC career, they must complete at least 18 hours of coursework related directly to counseling. Overall, anyone seeking either a CADC or LADC must complete educational studies of at least 360 hours with 240 hours focused entirely on counseling in the area of alcohol and drug abuse. They must document this requirement using the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Licensure/Certification Verification of Education form.
State Specific Requirements
As with other states, Connecticut has specific requirements related to instruction, supervision hours and applications. Outside of these areas, the DPH asks anyone who applies for a license to review the state’s Practitioner Licensure General Policies and Procedures to guide them on their journey. The website provides extensive details about appointment scheduling, document submissions, fees, criminal and background checks, timeline for application review, pending investigations in other states and other areas. Professionals seeking licensure or certification to become an ADC should also review all details on the DPH’s Alcohol and Drug Counselor Licensure and Certification page.
Anyone studying to become an LDC in Connecticut must acquire at least 100 direct-supervision hours and at least 3,000 hours of post-graduate experience supervised by an approved licensed professional. Approved supervisors include a licensed Professional Counselor, Clinical Social Worker, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse certified as a Clinical Specialist by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in the areas of Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Marital and Family Therapist, Physician certified in Psychiatry by the American BD of Psychiatry and Neurology or Psychologist.
They must document their success in this area on the Professional Counselor Verification of Postgraduate Degree Supervised Professional Counseling Experience form within no less than one year and no more than two years of completing the work. Anyone not certified as an ADC must perform 300 hours of supervised practical training and three years of supervised unpaid internship or paid work experience. They must document their success on the Verification of Alcohol and Drug Counselor’s Practical Training and Verification of Alcohol and Drug Counselor’s Work Experience or Internship forms.
If an applicant is an LPC in another state, Connecticut does recognize their previous education and work experiences. The state won’t grant an immediate transfer of their license. Instead, it allows the LPC to use three years of their professional counseling work experience to fulfill the supervised-hours requirement. The experience must match the “scope of practice” that they would experience in Connecticut. They can’t have any pending disciplinary actions either. They must provide details about their work and the dates that they provided professional licensed counseling services.
Connecticut requires that LPC applicants take either the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. The National Board of Certified Counselors administers both exams. The applicant can study for these exams using the following materials:
– Candidate Handbook for State Licensure National Counselor Examination (NCE)
– Candidate Handbook for State Licensure National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)
The applicant can learn more and register for either exam by visiting the NBCC Examinations page.
Certification and license ADC applicants must take the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium Inc.’s International Certification Examination for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselors. They can study for the IC&RC exam and learn more about taking it by using the following resource:
Licensure and Fees
Beyond the fees associated with the pursuit of an education in the required area of study and various license and certification examination fees, an applicant must also pay a fee to submit their Connecticut license request. As of March 2023, they must pay $315 for an LPC request and $190 for an LADC request. They can only submit the application via the State of Connecticut’s eLicense Website.
They must submit all transcripts, state forms, national exam score reports and other documents to:
Connecticut Department of Public Health
Professional Counselor Licensure or Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification
410 Capitol Ave., MS #12 APP
P.O. Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134
Phone: (860) 509-7603
Fax: (860) 707-1980
Email: [email protected]
The DPH typically reviews the application within three to four weeks. If the applicant receive an LPC or LADC approval, they receive an email with their effective date and license number followed by their official documents sent via postal mail service.
Continuing Education Requirements
Per the DPH, an LPC can renew their license after successfully completing 15 hours of approved continuing education every year. This requirement is designed to help them maintain professional skills and stay up to date with state and national changes in the field. They’re not required to meet the requirement the first year that they have an approved license. They must also retain any certificate documentation that proves that they met the requirement for three years after renewal for record-keeping purposes.
When that state doesn’t suspend the CE requirement because of a public health or other emergency, an LADC must renew their license and complete 20 hours of approved continuing education per year.
The education requirements vary based on the type of license. An LPC must complete on-campus or remote courses approved by one of the following:
– National Board of Certified Counselors
– American Counseling Association
– American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
– Association of Social Work Boards
– Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
– National Association of Social Workers
– American Psychological Association
– Connecticut Department of Education
– Accredited Academic Institutions (counseling or related graduate courses via audit or credit programs)
An LADC must complete activities and coursework that directly relate to their practice and that the following sponsor or offer:
– Accredited Academic Institutions
– Hospital or Other Licensed Healthcare Institution
– Individuals or Organizations Approved by the Connecticut Certification Board
Exemptions, extensions and waivers at the time of a renewal exist. A holder of a current license or certificate can ask for an extension of time or a waiver for a time frame if they’re dealing with a serious illness or medical disability. If the state approves their request, they receive more time to fulfill their continuing education obligation. A holder who isn’t active with their practice for some reason can also ask for a temporary waiver:
– LDC Application for Continuing Education Waiver or Extension
– LADC Application for Continuing Education Waiver or Extension
Counselor Salary in Connecticut
As noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2021), counselors in Connecticut earn the following hourly and annual wages on average:
– Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: $27.03 | $56,230
– Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors: $33.01 | $68,660
– Marriage and Family Therapists: $30.86 | $64,190
– Rehabilitation Counselors: $21.97 | $45,700