Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in Kentucky: The steps to becoming a Rehabilitation Counselor in Kentucky

A Kentucky rehabilitation counselor may be eligible for multiple credentials.

Although vocational rehabilitation counseling is exempted under statute 335.505 (http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Statutes/chapter.aspx?id=38874) a rehabilitation counselor can seek professional licensure if he or she meets requirements. Prospective counselors should be aware that new regulations may make it harder for an individual with traditional rehabilitation counseling education to achieve licensure.

Some vocational rehabilitation counseling positions within the state are dependent on meeting requirements set by a national third party organization, the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).

While a graduate degree provides the foundation for various credentials and job classifications, there are different expectations at multiple points along the way, beginning with program accreditation and coursework.

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Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Requirements

Many opportunities depend on either achieving credentialing as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) or being eligible to take the certification examination.

CRC certification eligibility is dependent on completion of a degree program at the master's level or higher. Students who earn their master's degrees through programs accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) may achieve eligibility sooner than those who do not. Some schools utilize the CRC as their comprehensive exam. Students enrolled in CORE programs may take the examination with as little as 75% of the program completed, though they will not actually achieve certification until such time as all requirements have been met. CACREP/CORE maintains an online directory of accredited programs (http://www.cacrep.org/).

A doctoral level counseling or rehabilitation counseling student who completes a program that includes a 600 hour CRC-supervised rehabilitation counseling internship becomes eligible after educational requirements have been met. In other instances, a period of work experience is required. If the degree was in rehabilitation counseling, the supervisory period may be as little as one year, provided the individual had a qualifying internship; it will be two years otherwise.

If the degree was in counseling, the CRCC will look for specific coursework such as psychosocial and/ or medical aspects of disability. Three years is the minimum experience for an individual whose degree was not in rehabilitation counseling.

Candidates who have qualifying degrees that are not considered counseling will need to enroll in 21-semester hour programs. Special education, rehabilitation administration, occupational therapy, and psychometrics are among the possible qualifying degrees. Eligibility pathways are summarized on the CRCC website; the certification handbook provides greater detail (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php).

A counselor who wishes to take the CRC examination may apply through the CRCC website. The certification fee is $385. Examinations are administered at Prometric assessment centers during three annual testing windows. Application materials are due several months in advance.

State Classifications and Qualifications: Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

Some vocational rehabilitation counselors are hired by the state under job classifications described by the Personnel Cabinet (https://hr.personnel.ky.gov/Pages/JobSpecs.aspx). An individual who has a bachelor’s degree in an acceptable field can achieve status as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor I after two years of experience in vocational rehabilitation or a related field such as vocational assessment or rehabilitation technology. With a master’s degree, there is no experience requirement. An individual may be considered on the basis of related non-counseling degrees such as psychology, sociology, special education, or orientation and mobility.

A master’s degree will be necessary to qualify for higher classifications such as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Certified. “Certified” refers to certification as a CRC.

For some Kentucky rehabilitation counselors, it is the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Training that grants the authority to practice their profession. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Training defines a qualified rehabilitation counselor as a person who is either eligible to take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination or has become certified . In some cases individuals may be hired with the expectation that they achieve Qualified Rehabilitation Professional status within a specified number of years.

For those seeking Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor status

Professional counseling licensure is awarded by the Board of Licensed Professional Counselors on the basis of education, examination, and supervised practice. A student who enrolls January 15, 2015 or later is expected to have a degree from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Although CACREP is not the traditional accrediting agency for rehabilitation counseling, some programs have a dual emphasis and may hold accreditation through both CACREP and CORE. “Clinical rehabilitation counseling” is a new accreditation category, made available through an affiliate relationship between the two accrediting agencies. There are also some CACREP-accredited programs that go by descriptors such as “mental health counseling and rehabilitation”. Prospective students can search for accredited programs on the CACREP website (http://www.cacrep.org/directory/).

In the case of candidates who enrolled before the qualifying date, the licensing agency can accept degrees in counseling or related fields (http://www.lrc.ky.gov/kar/201/036/070.htm). In order to qualify as a related field, a program will need to include a professional ethics course based on American Counseling Association (ACA) ethics, a 600 hour professional counseling internship, and coursework in at least seven Board-identified content areas. The Board notes cites social work, special education, and clinical psychology as examples of degrees that are not qualifying.

The counseling student will need a total of at least 60 semester hours of coursework. Courses may go by different names; examples are found in the application packet.

Prospective LPCCs must accrue 4,000 hours of post-master practice while under supervision. They work under supervisory agreements. After January 1, 2016, supervision is to be provided by an LPCC, except in cases where a supervisory agreement has already been approved or where an individual documents hardship. Prospective LPCCs must take a licensing examination offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//KY).

Application Materials for those seeking LPCC status for Rehabilitation Counseling

Application materials are available on the website of the Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (http://lpc.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx).The fee is $150 at the LPCC level, $50 at the associate level.

Additional Information

The Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (http://www.lpc.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx) can be reached at 502-782-8803.

The Kentucky Rehabilitation Association is an additional professional resource (http://www.kyrehabonline.com/).

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