Rehabilitation Counselor License Requirements in New Jersey: The path to becoming a Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor in New Jersey

New Jersey recognizes rehabilitation counseling as a unique discipline. The Professional Counselors Examiners Committee issues a Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor (LRC) credential; this is distinct from the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential. Licensure as an LRC is based on education, examination, and supervised practice. Applicants must also submit to background checks.

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Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor Education Requirements in New Jersey

New Jersey rehabilitation counselors are statutorily required to hold master's degrees in rehabilitation counseling; degrees are to be earned through regionally accredited institutions.

By regulation, rehabilitation counselors are to document coursework in the following content areas:

  • Counseling theory and practice
  • Introduction to rehabilitation counseling
  • Medical aspects of disability
  • Social aspects of disability
  • Evaluation and assessment
  • Community counseling and resources
  • Group methods
  • Research methods
  • Career development theory
  • Career counseling and consultation
  • Social and cultural diversity

Details are provided in professional counselor regulations (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/pc/Pages/regulations.aspx).

Practicum is to be at least 100 hours; internship, at least 600. There is to be weekly supervision.

Counselor regulations further state that applicants are to provide evidence of having completed a program accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) beginning in October 2012. CACREP and CORE have now merged. CACREP/CORE has provided a directory of accredited programs (http://www.cacrep.org/).

Some counseling programs have a dual emphasis; some hold accreditation by both CORE and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). It is possible to achieve credentialing in more than one area of counseling.

Examination Requirements: CRC Exam

Rehabilitation counselors are licensed by examination. New Jersey requires the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination, or CRC. Students may take the examination as students of CORE-accredited programs. Some schools use the CRC as their comprehensive examination. This same examination also can also confer national certification.

Individuals who did not take the examination as students (or as part of the credentialing process in another state) will need the permission of the Committee to register.

The CRC is administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, or CRCC. It assesses competency in ten domains, among them, aspects of disability, disability management, vocational consultation and services, and mental health counseling. Questions are in multiple choice format. Study guides can be downloaded from the CRC website (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/crc_exam_overview/120.php).

Supervised Practice Requirement

Licensure is not granted until after successful completion of supervised practice requirements. A candidate with education at the master's level will need 4,500 hours of supervised practice. A candidate with 30 semester hours beyond a master's need accrue only 3,000 hours, provided that the coursework clearly relates to rehabilitation counseling.

The candidate will work under a supervision plan. Paperwork can be found in the ‘applications and forms’ section of the website (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/pc/Pages/applications.aspx).

The Board can accept hours earned in an exempt setting under a qualified supervisor. Hours that were earned in a graduate program can be credited if they aren’t simultaneously credited to meet educational requirements. However, no more than one of the three required years can be credited for pre-degree experience.

The supervisor will need to have at least 3,000 hours of post-licensure experience at the required level and will need to be certified as a supervisor by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) unless he or she holds an equivalent credential issued by a licensing board.

The supervisor will carry out various activities including role playing or responding to case presentations. He or she will co-counsel, view sessions, and or review video or audio sessions. Ultimately, the supervisor will evaluate the candidate and provide details about the supervisory sessions to the licensing agency.

An applicant may be granted up to six years to meet supervised experience requirements.

Background Check Requirement

The licensing agency will carry out background checks on all applicants. Applicants who have had fingerprints made for a Board or Committee that is under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at any point since the qualifying date (November 2003) may be excused from having fingerprints made; they will instead submit a $20.25 fee to have a new background check processed. Details are found in application materials.

Applicants who need to have fingerprints made will receive instructions from the Board; they will not remit fees until instructed to do so.

The Application Process

Application materials can be downloaded from the website of New Jersey Consumer Affairs (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/pc/Pages/applications.aspx).

The licensing agency will require official verification of test results.

Applicants who answer “yes” to questions about adverse legal or professional history will need to provide explanation and supporting documentation.

The applicant will attach a passport-type photograph. There is a $75 application fee. The application packet includes an affidavit that requires notarization.

Applications are to be sent to the Board office in Newark.

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselors

According to statute, an out-of-state rehabilitation counselor can be licensed on the basis of licensure in another jurisdiction if the requirements are determined to be substantially equivalent.

Additional Information

The New Jersey Professional Counselors Examiners Committee is under the banner of the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/pc/Pages/default.aspx). The Committee can be reached by telephone at (973) 504-6582. The Committee has also provided a contact form (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/pc/Pages/contactus.aspx).

Prospective rehabilitation should be aware that requirements change periodically.

The New Jersey Rehabilitation Association (https://njrehabassociation.webs.com/) and the New Jersey Counseling Association (http://www.njcounseling.org) are additional professional resources.

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