Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in Delaware: The Path to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Delaware

Delaware rehabilitation counselors may hold state licensing as Licensed Professional Counselors of Mental Health, though it is not mandated. Although state law prohibits falsely representing oneself as a licensed counselor, it does not prevent one from providing counseling services (http://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/faqs.shtml ). In order to be licensed, an individual must accrue post-master experience that meets the Board’s definition of professional counseling; some types of experience may not qualify. An individual seeking initial licensure as a professional counselor will be licensed as an Associate Counselor of Mental Health while completing post-degree practice.

In some cases, a rehabilitation counselor will need to meet governmental standards even if not licensed. Some of the state’s rehabilitation counselors are employed by the government. Delaware has set standards for vocational rehabilitation counselors at different levels.

Achieving the third party Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential is one way to show that requirements have been met on a high level. The CRC is recognized by many agencies nationwide.

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Achieving Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Certification

The CRC is granted by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). Examination eligibility is dependent upon 1) completing a graduate degree in rehabilitation counseling or counseling or 2) completing a master’s degree in a qualifying field and a post-degree program in rehabilitation counseling. Counseling students who plan to take the CRC will need coursework in job placement or occupation information assessment and in the combined areas of physical/ psychosocial aspects of disability. Although there are multiple pathways, some will require several years of work experience (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php). It is expected that some work will have been supervised by a CRC. In some cases, an individual who has met the experience requirement but has not met the CRC requirement may be granted provisional licensure.

The most direct path is to complete a master's program accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education. If the program includes a 600 hour internship supervised by a CRC, the student needs no further experience. A student who pursues a doctoral degree that includes a qualifying internship is also immediately eligible.

Once eligibility has been established, the candidate will sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor examination. The CRC is a computer-based examination. It is offered at sites around the nation. There are three annual testing windows. Registration is due several months in advance. Candidates should be prepared to remit a $385 fee. A portion can be refunded if the applicant is found ineligible for testing. While the CRCC requires rehabilitation counselors to uphold professional standards, a past criminal conviction will not necessarily be disqualifying.

Rehabilitation Counselor/LPCMH License Requirements

State licensing also requires education at the master’s level. The program must meet the educational standards of a certifying agency that is acceptable to the Delaware Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals. The graduate will pursue third party certification before state licensure.

Typically, the certifying agency is the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC); regulations state that the agency must be a nationally recognized mental health counseling organization that requires a degree at at least the master's level. An individual who seeks licensure on the basis of alternative mental health certification will need to have the organization complete a ‘Certifying Organization Certification Form’. The Board will make a decision based on the organization's scope and mission, the certifying examination it uses, its membership requirements, and the code of ethics.

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is the test typically taken for Delaware licensing, though the Board may consider other mental health counseling examinations. The Delaware Board directs candidates to contact the NBCC at (336) 547-0607 about registering for the NCE.

In order to achieve full licensure, a graduate must work under supervision for four years. He or she must accrue 3,200 experience hours. At least 1,600 hours must be under direct supervision. The total experience requirement can be reduced by additional post-master study; a candidate who has 30 semester hours beyond the master's will need to demonstrate only 1,600 supervised hours.

The clinical supervisor will be a licensed mental health professional; the licensing agency explicitly states that supervision by certified school counselors or school psychologists cannot be accepted. If the supervisor is licensed in any discipline other than mental health counseling or is licensed in a jurisdiction other that Delaware, he or she must be pre-approved. The supervisor will need to be familiar with Delaware requirements.

The associate will work under a supervisory plan. If the degree was conferred July 1, 2012 or later, hours must be accrued while licensed as an LAMHC.

The supervisee will need at least 100 hours of face-to-face supervision; up to 40 may take place in a small group setting. At the end of the supervisory period, the supervisor will submit verification directly to the Board.

Out-of-state counselors may be licensed by reciprocity. If the counselor has been licensed for less than five years in his or her current state, the Board will need to see the other state’s licensing laws and regulations.

The License Application Process

An applicant must submit a notarized application form; forms can be downloaded from the Board website (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/).

The licensing agency requires fingerprint-based criminal background checks. Out-of-state candidates may have their prints captured at local law enforcement agencies. They will submit their fingerprint cards to the Delaware State Police along with the required fee (currently $69). In-state applicants should select one of the Delaware locations listed in the application packet. All applicants will need the release of information form found in the application packet.

Transcripts are to be sent directly from the issuing institution.

The Board will require verification from each state of licensure, past or present.

Applicant should submit materials at least ten working days before a scheduled meeting (https://egov.delaware.gov/pmc/#agency44-).

Initial application carries a $207 fee; the fee to upgrade from associate to professional status is $55 (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/).

State Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling

The Delaware Office of Management and Budget⁄ Human Resource Management has established various classifications in vocational rehabilitation, and a person could potentially be hired without a graduate degree (http://delawarepersonnel.com/class/index.shtml). However, at higher levels, it is expected that one will demonstrate either a CRC or a master's, which may be in rehabilitation counseling or in a behavioral or social science field.

Job classifications do not necessarily reflect current needs; an individual who believes he or she meets standards can request email notification when positions open.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/).The Board is under the banner of the Division of Professional Regulation. The Division can be reached by email at 'customerservice.dpr at state.de.us' or by telephone at (302) 744-4500.

Professional associations include the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals-Chesapeake (https://connect.rehabpro.org/chesapeake/home) and the Delaware Professional Counselors Association (http://www.decounselors.org/board/board/).

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