Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in Missouri

Missouri rehabilitation counselors are licensed as Licensed Professional Counselors, or LPCs. This is a generalist counseling license; rehabilitation counselors may opt for adjunct certification in rehabilitation counseling.

Licensure is based on education, examination, and supervised practice. The Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors regulates the practice of individuals completing pre-licensure supervised practice.

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Educational Requirements for those seeking LPC status as Rehabilitation Counselors

A prospective counselor must complete a graduate degree. The program is to be at least 48 semester hours, though Missouri does allow individuals to make up deficiencies post-degree.

The Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) is one of the approved accrediting agencies. A student can expect a CORE program to meet Missouri LPC educational requirements. CORE accreditation can also shorten the credentialing process for those who are simultaneously seeking certification in rehabilitation counseling. However, individuals can also earn LPC licensing based on completion of 1) programs accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or 2) other counseling-related programs that are housed in accredited institutions. Approved programs may be in counseling or counseling and guidance. The Mississippi Committee will accept degrees in some branches of psychology. To be license qualifying, the program must include the following core coursework:

  • Counseling theory
  • The helping relationship
  • Human growth and development
  • Cultural and social diversity
  • Career development
  • Appraisal
  • Diagnosis
  • Group counseling
  • Professional orientation
  • Research

The student will need six semester hours of practicum.

Examination Requirements

Prospective counselors must take a national counseling examination and a state jurisprudence examination.

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. Missouri candidates are allowed to register for the NCE directly. They will provide transcripts and remit a $275 fee. Registration forms can be found on the Missouri page of the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//MO). The test taker should allow approximately four weeks for an ATT to be issued. At this point, the candidate can schedule an examination at his or her preferred Pearson VUE professional center. There are sites located in Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, and St. Louis and in many other cities around the nation. The ATT grants a six-month eligibility window. Examination sessions are typically available during the first two weeks of the month. However, slots may fill.

The jurisprudence examination is open book and can be accessed online. Candidates are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the relevant statutes and rules beforehand. The fee is currently $45. Although an individual does not have to complete the examination until such time as he or she is ready to submit an application for professional counseling licensure, the test can be completed at any point during the supervisory period. The candidate will need to print the certificate and send it the Board for placement in his or her file.

Experience Requirements

LPC licensure is dependent on completing a post-master supervised practice requirement. A prospective LPC who has education at the master’s level must work under supervision for at least 24 months and accrue at least 3,000 experience hours. At least 1,200 hours are to consist of direct client contact.

An in-state practitioner will be under Committee jurisdiction during this time. If he or she has met the NCE requirement, a provisional license (PLPC) may be issued. Otherwise, the classification is counselor-in-training (CIT).

A graduate who has some coursework deficiencies may be approved for supervised practice, but will not be eligible for a provisional license until deficiencies are corrected. In order for the proposed supervision to be approved, the graduate will need to have had some practicum coursework, as well as coursework in counseling theory.

The supervisor, who may be an experienced LPC or an experienced licensed psychiatrist or psychologist, must have the approval of the Missouri Committee. The PLPC or CIT is expected to have at least one hour of face-to-face supervision each week. Supervision is to be carried out in accordance with Rule 20 CSR 2095-2.020 (http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/current/20csr/20csr.asp#20-2095). This same rule addresses out-of-state experience and the conditions in which the Committee may consider it.

The practice requirement is reduced for individuals who hold qualifying specialist or doctoral degrees or have 30 semester hours of post-master coursework. In this instance, a CIT or PLPC will need a minimum of 1,200 experience hours.

Background Check Requirement

Prospective counselors must have background checks; fingerprinting is carried out when they first come under Committee jurisdiction. Those who are in-state will have their fingerprints made digitally. They will initiate the process by registering through the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (https://www.machs.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MACHSFP/home.html). It will be necessary to provide the registration number found in the application packet. The state’s approved vendor, 3M, operates sites around the state; registered users will be allowed to pick a convenient site from the map provided.

Out-of-state applicants will receive fingerprint cards from the Committee office.

The Application Process

Prospective counselors register supervision when ready to begin supervised practice. They apply for LPC status when all requirements have been met (or when they are in the final month of completing their supervision requirements).

Application materials can be downloaded from the website of the Missouri Division of Professional Registration (http://pr.mo.gov/counselors-application-forms.asp).

Transcripts are due at the registration stage. If the supervisor has not previously been approved, he or she will also need to submit an application.

Supervised experience must be documented at the LPC stage. An applicant who completed supervision in another state may use a copy of the license file as alternate documentation.

The license application fee is $100.

The applicant will affirm having read the applicable statutes and regulations.

Once an application file has been started, the applicant will receive a PIN number that will allow for online monitoring.

Adjunct Rehabilitation Counseling Certification

National certification is granted by the Commission for Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Prospective Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs) first establish eligibility, then take an examination. Some CORE-accredited rehabilitation counselor programs use the CRC as their comprehensive exam. Individuals who hold degrees in counseling disciplines other than rehabilitation counseling will need to 1) take some related coursework and 2) accrue work experience in the rehabilitation counseling field. The CRCC Certification Guide provides detailed information about eligibility and registration; it can be downloaded from the CRCC website (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php).

Although the CRC may be sought by employers, it does not convey the legal right to work as a counselor in Missouri. A professional might provide rehabilitation services in various circumstances without licensing, but would be limited in the titles he or she could use; exemptions are outlined in state statute (http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/33700005051.html).

Additional Information

The Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors (http://pr.mo.gov/counselors.asp) can be reached by email at 'profcounselor at pr.mo.gov' or by telephone at 573-751-0018.

State professional organizations include the Missouri Rehabilitation Association (http://www.mo-rehab.org/index.html) and the American Counseling Association of Missouri (http://www.counselingmissouri.org).

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