Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in Alabama: Licensure may not be required for all positions

Alabama rehabilitation counselors are eligible for licensing through the Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling. Associate Licensed Counselor (ALC) is the first license that a counselor will qualify for; it is awarded on the basis of graduate education. The Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential requires examination and supervised experience. LPC licensure allows for private practice as well as use of the professional counseling title.

A license may not be required for all positions, such as those with the Alabama Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (http://personnel.alabama.gov/Documents/Announcements/101379_A.pdf). Some counselors work under third party rehabilitation counseling certification.

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Rehabilitation Counselor Education Requirements for those seeking ALC and LPC Credentials

Prospective rehabilitation counselors must complete degrees at the master’s level or higher. License-qualifying programs include at least 48 semester hours of coursework (http://www.abec.state.al.us/educationalrequirement.aspx). They may be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). Programs can also be accepted if judged equivalent. In order to be judged equivalent, a program must include coursework in the following content areas:

  • Counseling theory
  • Human growth and development
  • Social and multicultural foundations
  • Helping relationship
  • Group dynamics
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Testing/ appraisal
  • Research and evaluation
  • Professional orientation

The practicum experience is to comprise at least 100 hours and include at least 40 hours of direct service. The internship experience is to comprise at least 600 hours and include at least 240 hours of direct service. The intern is expected to carry out the range of duties that an employee would.

LPC Examination Requirement: NCE

Before a counselor can be licensed at the LPC level, he or she must pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE). Alabama allows for examination either before or after supervised practice (http://abec.alabama.gov/PDFs/11-09/255-X-5.pdf). A candidate will wait for approval before submitting application materials to the NBCC. The NBCC will require an eligibility letter as well as a registration form and $275 fee.

After receiving eligibility confirmation from the testing agency, the candidate will schedule through Pearson VUE. Examinations are computer-delivered. They are available two weeks out of each month. Candidates may test at any authorized site. There are five in Alabama: in Birmingham, Dothan, Decatur, Mobile, and Montgomery. Scheduling information can be found on the Alabama page of the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//AL).

Scores are reported automatically.

Re-examination is permitted. However, the NBCC imposes a three month wait time after a failed attempt.

Experience/Supervision Requirement

In order to be licensed as an LPC, an associate must provide counseling services under supervision. An individual who has no qualifying education beyond the master's level will need to accrue 3,000 hours; this is to include 2,250 hours of direct service.

With 15 counseling-related graduate semester hours beyond the master's, the experience requirement is reduced to 2,000 hours. With 30 qualifying semester hours beyond the master's, the requirement is reduced to 1,000 hours. 1,000 is the minimum allowable in all cases.

The ALC will need 100 hours a year of supervision or (in the case partial years) an average of two hours a week.

ALCs work under supervision plans. Both the supervisor and supervisee will attest to having read Chapter 255-X-3-.02 of Alabama Administrative Code.

The Application Process

Application materials can be found on the Board website (http://abec.alabama.gov/lpcalcapplications.aspx). Candidates who request that application materials be mailed to them will owe a $25 fee (http://abec.alabama.gov/fees.aspx).

Graduate transcripts are to be sent directly from the issuing institution.

The licensing agency requires three professional references; at least two are to come from supervisors.

The applicant will need to include a copy of a document that establishes legal presence in the United States; a driver’s license is acceptable if issued by Alabama or by another state that required evidence of legal status.

The application form includes an affidavit that requires notarization.

The application fee is $200. There are additional fees for licensing; however, these are assessed later.

Out-of-State Counselors

Endorsement candidates will need to meet comparable requirements. However, Alabama standards have changed over the years, and requirements for out-of-state licensees are based on the date that they were initially licensed (http://abec.alabama.gov/PDFs/LPC_Materials/FAQsEndorsement09.pdf). Endorsement candidates who were licensed before September 1, 2003 can be endorsed into Alabama on the basis of programs as short as 30 semester hours provided that the required content was covered.

Endorsement candidates are to provide a copy of the rules that were in effect in their state at the time they were licensed. If standards were not equivalent, the applicant will need to either demonstrate that he or she met standards at the level Alabama required or meet them in the present tense. In some cases, this will entails completion of additional coursework; the counselor need only complete coursework required for his or her particular endorsement category. Requirements are summarized in the application packet. The Board has also provided a list of frequently asked questions (http://abec.alabama.gov/PDFs/LPC_Materials/FAQsEndorsement09.pdf).

In the case of endorsement applicants, examinations other than the NCE may be accepted.

Third Party Credentialing: Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)

State licensing is not always required for rehabilitation counselors in traditional employment settings. Professionals may seek Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) certification through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (http://www.crccertification.com/). CRC certification is easier to obtain if the master's program was CORE-accredited. There are other eligibility pathways, but most require employment in the rehabilitation field.

CRC candidates take an examination specific to the rehabilitation counseling profession; it is offered three times per year. The certification process costs $385.

Additional Information

The Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling can be reached by telephone at 800 822-3307 or 205 458-8716 or by email contact form (http://abec.alabama.gov/contact.aspx). Licensing requirements and exemptions are described in the Code of Alabama (http://abec.alabama.gov/PDFs/CodeofAl4-17-12.pdf).

Additional professional resources include the Alabama Division of the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (http://www.aldarca.org/about-us/) and the Alabama Chapter of the Rehabilitation Counselors & Educators Association (http://rehabcea.org/chapter/alabama-chapter).

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