Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in Minnesota: Which path to take to become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Minnesota?

Minnesota rehabilitation counselors may be eligible for multiple credentials. One option is to be nationally certified as a rehabilitation counselor and then state registered as a qualified rehabilitation consultant; this authorizes employment in vocational rehabilitation/ workman's compensation.

A rehabilitation counselor may also be eligible for state licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). These two licenses, issued by the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy, each have their own education, examination, and supervised practice requirements; the LPCC grants a greater scope of practice, focused on mental health practice.

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Educational requirements for those seeking Professional Counselor or CRC status as a Rehabilitation Counselor

Licensure as a professional counselor depends on completion of a degree at the master's or doctoral level. The same is true for national certification as a national rehabilitation counselor, although an individual with lesser education can become a Minnesota qualified rehabilitation consultant; this would entail seeking alternative certification as a disability management specialist.

Minimum program length is generally 48 semester hours. Programs accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) include at least 48; while CORE accreditation is not mandatory, it hastens the process of becoming a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. A prospective LPC or LPCC will need to complete a program of at least 48 semester hours before licensure and complete additional hours during the initial four years of licensure to bring the total up to 60 semester hours (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/rules/?id=2150.2520).

License qualifying programs are subject to state mandates. The degree may be earned in counseling or a related field. If a program is not accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), it must be housed in a regionally accredited institution.

To be eligible for LPC or LPCC licensure, a student must complete coursework in ten core counseling areas:

  • Human growth and development
  • The helping relationship/ counseling theory and practice
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Group dynamics and processes, counseling and consulting
  • Appraisal and assessment
  • Mental and emotional disorders/ dysfunctional behavior
  • Social and cultural foundations/ multicultural issues
  • Family therapy and counseling
  • Ethics and professional orientation
  • Research and evaluation

A candidate for LPC licensure must have 700 hours of combined practicum and internship; a prospective licensee who does not meet this requirement may enroll in an educational program and complete the requirement post-master; it is also permissible to make up some coursework deficiencies post-master.

In addition to meeting educational requirements at the LPC level, an LPCC must have at least 24 semester hours of clinical coursework, to include the following content areas:

  • Diagnostic assessment
  • Clinical treatment planning
  • Clinical intervention methods
  • Methodologies for evaluating intervention effectiveness
  • Cultural diversity
  • Professional ethics, as it relates to clinical practice

Counselors who apply by the ‘general method’ (without first being licensed as LPCs) will need to meet minimum semester hour requirements in each of the above clinical content areas. The application package includes a detailed description of the course content that can be applied to each category.

Examination Requirements for those seeking Professional Counselor and/or CRC status as a Rehabilitation Counselor

To receive credentials, a prospective counselor must go through an examination process. Minnesota rehabilitation counselors can potentially make themselves eligible for multiple credentials by passing one examination: the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Examination, offered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Although the examination officially approved for LPC licensure is the National Counselor Examination (NCE), the Board has the authority to accept other examinations judged to be equivalent. According to the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, the CRC examination is, by departmental policy, accepted in Minnesota (https://www.crccertification.com/pages/state_licensure/221.php).

The CRC is available in three annual eight-day testing windows. Applications, however, need to be in several months prior to the start of the testing window. Applicants must establish eligibility (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php). A student in a CORE-accredited rehabilitation counseling programs can apply before all program requirements have been met, provided that the appropriate school official confirms that he or she is indeed enrolled in an accredited program with a CRC-supervised 600-hour internship, and that at least 75% of requirements will have been met by the qualifying date. Graduates of CORE-accredited master's programs or doctoral level counseling programs will need to document qualifying internship, but no additional work experience; other applicants will need to document employment within the field.

Licensure as an LPCC requires additional examination. Prospective LPCCs must pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. Registration information can be found on the "Minnesota" page of the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/directory/MN).

Supervised Practice Requirements for those seeking Professional Counselor status as a Rehabilitation Counselor

Full licensure as an LPC or LPCC depends on meeting a supervised practice requirement.

Although LPC has a supervised practice requirement of 2,000 hours, a professional can be licensed before meeting the requirement, provided a supervision plan is in place. The licensing agency also has the authority to accept hours accrued before licensing provided that all requirements were met. Supervision must meet ratios set in Board rule. The LPC must complete supervision to receive a designation of independent practice.

The LPCC has a supervised practice requirement of 4,000 hours, to include 1,800 of direct client contact; unlike the LPC, the LPCC credential cannot be earned until all hours have been accrued. A counselor who first earns an LPC with independent practice authorization can earn the LPCC after an additional 2,000 hours, provided the practice includes at least 900 hours of direct client contact.

The supervisor may be someone who has already been designated as an approved supervisor or who meets requirements (https://mn.gov/boards/behavioral-health/lpc-and-lpcc/). A list of approved supervisors is available.

Graduates of non-CORE master’s programs will need varying amounts of practice before certification.

An initial applicant for the QRP credential will serve at least a one year internship (http://www.dli.mn.gov/WC/BecomeRehabProv.asp). An employee may be allowed up to three years to achieve full credentialing as a QRP.

The Application Process

A professional who meets qualifications for LPC or LPCC will apply to the Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (http://mn.gov/boards/behavioral-health/). Application forms can be downloaded from the BBHT website. LPCs who are ready to convert to LPCC will also find the necessary paperwork. The combined application, license, and surcharge fee is $425 at the LPC or LPCC level.

The candidate is to submit relevant graduate transcripts. Clinical coursework is documented by syllabi.

The Board will require supervisory documentation.

The applicant will attach a two-by-two photograph and have the application notarized.

Individuals who need a QRC will apply through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (http://www.dli.mn.gov/WC/BecomeRehabProv.asp). An applicant for initial credentialing pays a $110 fee.

License Reciprocity

Out-of-state counselors must provide license verification.

Minnesota extends reciprocity to out-of-state counselors in cases where both the requirements and the scope of practice are substantively similar. The Minnesota Board has reviewed many states and has provided a list of state licenses that do and do not meet requirements at the LPC (https://mn.gov/boards/behavioral-health/lpc-and-lpcc/) and LPCC (https://mn.gov/boards/behavioral-health/lpc-and-lpcc/) level. The Board notes that some state licenses have not yet been reviewed.

Additional Information

The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (http://mn.gov/health-licensing-boards/behavioral-health) can be reached by telephone at 612-548-2177 or by email at ‘bbht.board at state.mn.us’.

Information about state registration as a vocational consultant is available from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (http://www.dli.mn.gov/WC/BecomeRehabProv.asp). Requests for information can be directed to 'dli.workcomp at state.mn.us'.

Additional professional resources include the Minnesota Rehabilitation Association (https://www.mnrehab.org/home.html) and the Minnesota Counseling Association (http://mnca.org).

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