Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in Mississippi: Deciding on how to become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Mississippi

Mississippi statute currently provides for various exemptions from counseling licensure, making some settings exempt and allowing "certified rehabilitation counselors" to work as employees under some conditions (https://www.lpc.ms.gov/secure/statuteandrules.asp). However, rehabilitation counselors are eligible for licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors, or LPCs. They will need to meet the education, examination, and experience requirements of the Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors.

Prospective counselors should be aware that some requirements will become more stringent in 2017.

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Education Requirement for those seeking LPC Licensure as Rehabilitation Counselors

Professional counselors may be licensed on the basis of master's, specialist, or doctoral degrees. Total program length must be at least 60 semester hours.

A master’s program may be in “counselor education” or related to counselor education. A program can be considered counselor education related if it includes required coursework. As per the 2015 revision, programs are to include the following:

  • Human growth and development
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Counseling skills
  • Group counseling
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Testing and appraisal
  • Professional counseling orientation or ethics
  • Theories of psychotherapy counseling and personality
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Research and evaluation
  • Marriage or family therapy
  • Internship

New regulations narrow the range of master’s degrees acceptable for licensing beginning in 2017. Master’s degree programs are to be 60 semester hours; they may may be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or use "counseling" in the title and meet content areas requirements in accordance with the “structure of CACREP”. Individuals will want to stay posted to see whether there are additional changes.

CACREP has not traditionally been the accrediting agency for rehabilitation counseling programs. However, some do have dual emphasis or accreditation. A new affiliate relationship between CACREP and the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) has resulted in a new accreditation category, 'clinical rehabilitation counseling'. Thusfar, only a limited number of programs hold the accreditation. However, there are other programs that may meet requirements described in Rule 4.2.

Supervision/Experience Requirements

A prospective licensee must complete a supervised practice requirement. Mississippi requires a total of 3,500 post-baccalaureate hours with at least 1,750 to be earned subsequent to the graduate degree. Supervision is to be provided by a Board-qualified supervisor, or LPC-S.

Up to 1,750 hours may be credited for internships and practicum experiences.

Examination Requirements

Prospective counselors must take a national counseling examination and a state jurisprudence examination. Beginning July 1, 2015, there is just one national counseling examination adopted by the Mississippi Committee: the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination, or NCMHC; it is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Individuals who took another NBCC examination, the National Counselor Examination, NCE, prior to the qualifying date may also be considered for licensure.

An NCMHCE handbook is available from the NBCC. The Board will provide NCMHCE authorization after reviewing application materials (https://www.lpc.ms.gov/secure/licenseexam.asp). The NBCC has provided a page of state-specific information (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//MS). The fee is currently listed as $195; the test vendor as AMP. There is just one site in Mississippi (In Jackson) but candidates may also test in other states.

An applicant is expected to take the examination within one year of the time that the application is received. The Board monitors examination progress. After a second failure, an individual must re-apply to the Board.

Prospective licensees must also pass a Board-administered jurisprudence test, the Mississippi Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination.

Mississippi requires criminal background checks, carried out by the Department of Public Safety. The applicant will need to submit a form authorizing the Department of Public Safety to release records; this is included in the application packet. The background check fee is currently $32.

The License Application Process

The Board currently allows prospective counselors to apply online or by paper, though online is the preferred method (https://www.lpc.ms.gov/secure/forms.asp).

Official transcripts are to be included in signed or sealed envelopes.

Supervision verification may also be included in the application packet in signed envelopes.

The applicant is to include both a $200 licensing fee and $100 nonrefundable application fee.

Applications are reviewed at Board meetings; application deadlines are typically ten business days in advance.

The licensing agency may, on a case-by-case basis, determine whether out-of-state licensees were credentialed on the basis of substantially similar requirements.

Out-of-state licensees will need to verify license status; the Board has provided a form for this purpose.

Other Credentialing Options: National Certification as a CRC

Rehabilitation counselors can be nationally certified through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). A master's or doctoral degree in counseling or other accepted field is an examination prerequisite. The preferred accrediting agency at the master's level is the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE); CORE accreditation allows a candidate to take the examination toward the end of his or her program. Students who complete rehabilitation counseling or counseling programs at the doctoral level can take the examination shortly after meeting educational requirements, provided they have had qualifying internship experiences. There are multiple eligibility pathways, but most require experience (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php).

Candidates can register through the CRCC website (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/forms___fees/70.php). There is a $385 certification fee.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors (https://www.lpc.ms.gov/secure/index.asp). The Board can be reached by email at 'info at lpc.ms.gov’ or by telephone at 601 359-1010.

The Board notes that rules, regulations, and guidelines are revised periodically and applicants and licensees must make sure they know the current version; there were some updates in 2015 (https://www.lpc.ms.gov/secure/statuteandrules.asp).

State agencies like the Mississippi Department of Economic Security have their own requirements for rehabilitation counseling professionals (http://mdes.ms.gov/i-need-a-job/job-searching-resources/vocational-rehabilitation).

State professional associations include the Mississippi Chapter of the Rehabilitation Counselors and Educators Association http://rehabcea.org/chapter/mississippi-chapter and the Mississippi Counseling Association (https://mica.memberclicks.net).

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