Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Programs in Utah

Alexander BuCher

Written by Alexander BuCher

Licensed Professional Counselor | Youngstown State University

Updated & Fact Checked: 02/10/24

Utah is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States and is rapidly growing in population. The state is surrounded by natural beauty with mountains and desert landscapes and boasts vibrant city life in Salt Lake City. However, as with many rapidly growing states and metropolitan areas, there is an increasing need for mental health services. 

According to O*Net Online, there will be an increase in the need for mental health counselors in Utah by about 37%. The University of Utah published a report in 2019 stating that about 1 in 5 adults in the state experience “poor mental health.” The report also included that suicide is the leading cause of death of Utahns between the ages of 10 and 24. This has led to state and local lawmakers seeking out ways to increase mental well-being and decrease the number of suicides in the state. 

One of the ways that Utah has vowed to increase funding for mental health is by implementing the Utah State Suicide Prevention Plan 2022-2026. This initiative calls for increased funding for mental health services and to increase services in high-demand areas. This initiative and the growing state population mean that many programs must be developed to educate new counselors. 

Luckily, many mental health counseling programs in Utah exist to meet the growing need for counselors and fit the requirements for state licensure. Some standout programs in the state are at Westminister University in Salt Lake City and Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo. 

For new professionals, Utah is a great state to work and is experiencing a growing economy.  This means that there are lots of opportunities for employment and career advancement. Utah has activities for all interests including outdoor recreation and nightlife which is attractive to new professionals and residents.

Master of Counseling Programs in Utah

To become a mental health counselor in Utah one must graduate from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The programs on this list will be categorized into Online Programs, CACREP-Accredited Programs, and programs that do not require the Graduate Records Examination (GRE).

Online Master of Counseling Programs in Utah

There are many benefits to attending an online master of counseling program. Some benefits include the flexibility of courses, continued access to course materials, and the ability to take courses at your own pace. One program in Utah is offered online.

(GRE required for undergraduate GPA below 3.0)

CACREP-Accredited Master of Counseling Programs in Utah

Accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is becoming an increasingly popular feature of many masters of counseling programs nationwide. Some of the benefits of attending a CACREP-accredited program include meeting the requirements for most states and becoming familiar with other programs that are accredited. Two programs in Utah are CACREP-Accredited. One program under the Online Programs category is CACREP-Accredited and located at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.

(GRE not required)

Utah Online, No GRE & CAREP Accredited Counseling Masters Programs

SpecialtyUniversity NameDegreeCityStateAccreditationModalityGRE Required?Program Length
Clinical Mental Health CounselingWestminster UniversityM.S.Salt Lake CityUTCACREPCampusNo GRE Required2 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingUniversity of UtahM.Ed.Salt Lake CityUTCACREPCampusNo GRE Required60 Credits Hours
Clinical Mental Health CounselingUtah Valley UniversityM.SOremUTCACREPCampusNo GRE Required3 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingWestminster UniversityM.SSalt Lake CityUTCACREPCampusNo GRE Required3 Years
School CounselingUtah State UniversityM.Ed.LoganUTCACREPHybridNo GRE Required3 Years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingRocky Mountain University of Health ProfessionsM.S.ProvoUTCACREPOnlineGRE Required3 Years
Marriage and Family TherapyUtah Tech UniversityM.S. in MFTSt. GeorgeUTCACREP2½ years
Clinical Mental Health CounselingUniversity of PhoenixM.S.UTCACREPOnline60 credit hours

No GRE Required Master of Counseling Programs in Utah

The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is a standardized test used to determine the aptitude of potential college admittance. However, many people get anxious about standardized tests or do not want their college admission based on test scores. Three programs in Utah do not require the GRE. Under the CACREP-Accredited Master of Counseling Programs category, Westminster University does not require the GRE.

  • Program: Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • 60 Credit Hours (Three-year completion)
  • In-person program located in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Tuition: $3,307.32 per semester (based on 9 credit hours per semester) for residents of Utah (broken down to $367.48 per credit hour)
  • Tuition: $12,980.39 per semester (based on 9 credit hours per semester) for non-residents of Utah (broken down to $1442.27 per credit hour)

Most Affordable Master of Counseling Program in Utah

Choosing an affordable master of counseling program is sometimes just as important as finding an academically sound one. The most affordable master of counseling program in Utah is located at The University of Utah. The price per credit hour for residents of Utah is $367.48 per credit hour.

Accelerated Master of Counseling Programs in Utah

Due to the nature of counseling graduate programs in Utah, it is required that programs have 60 credit hours. This means that most programs are completed in 2-4 years depending on the schedule of courses at each program. While none of the programs listed above are explicitly labeled as accelerated, the program at Utah Valley University has the shortest completion time of two years.

Required Courses for Licensure in Utah

According to the Utah Division of Professional Licensing, if a counseling graduate program is CACREP-Accredited, it automatically meets the course requirements in the state. However, if the program is not CACREP-Accredited, the required courses are as follows:

  • Social and Cultural Diversity
  • Group Counseling and Group Work
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Career Development
  • Counseling and Helping Relationships
  • Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
  • Assessment and Testing
  • Mental Status Examination and Appraisal of DSM Maladaptive and Psychopathological Behavior
  • Research and Program Evaluation 
  • 700 Hours of Supervised Clinical Training (240 hours must be direct client contact)

Counseling Licensure Requirements in Utah

According to the Utah Division of Professional Licensing, there are two stages of counselor licensure in Utah. The first stage is the Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor and the second is Clinical Mental Health Counselor. There are different requirements to obtain each stage of licensure.

Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor:

To obtain this stage of licensure, one must graduate from a master in counseling program accredited by CACREP or CHEA containing at least 60 credit hours or 90 quarter credits. If you did not graduate from a CACREP-Accredited program, you must ensure that you have completed an internship or practicum with at least 700 hours of supervised experience (240 hours must be direct client contact).

Clinical Mental Health Counselor:

To obtain this stage of licensure, one must complete 4,000 hours of supervised experience as an Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor in not less than two years. It is also required that applicants complete two hours of post-graduate suicide prevention training. The final step to obtaining this stage of licensure is to pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE).

Utah Counseling FAQs (Obtained via the Utah Division of Professional Licensure)

What is the maximum number of people my supervisor can supervise? 

Six. 

If I am licensed in Utah, can I do telehealth in other states?

It depends on the laws and regulations in those states. In most cases, it is required that one has to be licensed in the state where the client is located to do a telehealth session.

How Much Does a Mental Health Counselor Make in Utah

According to O*Net Online, the average salary for mental health counselors in Utah is $61,520. This is significantly higher than the national average which is listed at $49,710.

How to Become a School Counselor in Utah

The Utah State Board of Education lists the requirements to obtain school counselor licensure in the state. To obtain licensure, one must graduate from an accredited school counseling program located at Utah State University, University of Utah, Utah Valley University, or Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (these are the only accredited programs in the state). The next step is to pass the PRAXIS 5422 test with a score of 153 or higher. The final step to obtaining school counselor licensure in Utah is to obtain a letter of recommendation from the university in which the program was completed.

How Much Does a School Counselor Make in Utah

According to O*Net Online, the average school counselor salary in Utah is $50,180. This is significantly less than the national average salary of $60,140. Utah stands out in this category as most states have an average school counselor salary close to or higher than the national average whereas Utah is significantly lower.

How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Utah

According to the Utah Division of Professional Licensure, there are six different substance abuse counselor licenses. The six licenses are Certified Substance Disorder Counselor Intern, Certified Substance Disorder Counselor, Licensed Substance Disorder Counselor, Certified Advanced Substance Use Disorder Intern, Certified Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor, and Licensed Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor. 

Certified Substance Disorder Counselor Intern:

The following are the requirements to obtain this license:

  • Official transcripts documenting an associate’s degree or equivalent
  • Official transcripts documenting completion of the pre-requisite courses in human growth and development across the lifespan and general psychology
  • Official transcript or certificate from an accredited institution of higher education that verifies completion of the substance abuse education program that includes and verifies completion of at least 200 hours of substance use disorder-related education and a supervised practicum of at least 200 hours

Certified Substance Disorder Counselor (with Intern license):

The following is the requirement to obtain this license:

  • A copy of the score report showing a passing score on the written National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) National Certification Exam Level I, II, or MAC. A passing score on the ICRC AADC or ADC exam may be submitted instead of verification of a passing score on the NAADAC exam

Licensed Substance Disorder Counselor:

The following are the requirements to obtain this license:

  • Completed 2,000 hours of experience while licensed as a Utah CSUDC
  • Supervisor(s) completed the Verification of Experience form

Certified Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor Intern:

The following are the requirements to obtain this license:

  • Official transcripts documenting a bachelor’s degree or higher and completion
  • Official transcripts documenting completion of the pre-requisite courses in human growth and development across the lifespan and general psychology
  • Official transcripts or certificate from an accredited institution or higher education verifying completion of the substance abuse education program that includes completion of at least 300 hours of substance use disorder-related education and a supervised practicum of at least 350 hours

Certified Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor (with Intern license):

The following is the requirement to obtain this license:

  • A copy of the score report showing a passing score on the written National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) National Certification Exam Level II or MAC. A passing score on the written ICRC Advanced Alcohol and Drug (AADC) Examination may be submitted instead of verification of a passing score on the NAADAC exam

Licensed Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor:

The following are the requirements to obtain this license:

  • Have you completed 4,000 hours of experience while licensed as a Utah CASUDC
  • Supervisor(s) completed the Verification of Experience form

How Much Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Make in Utah

According to O*Net Online, the average salary for substance abuse counselors in Utah is $61,520. This is significantly higher than the national average which is $49,710.

What Other Career Options Are Available to Those with a Degree in Mental Health Counseling

The skills learned in a Master of Counseling program open the door for many positions outside of the counseling profession. Some positions with this degree include human resources, governmental social services, education, and non-profit leadership.