Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in North Dakota: Licensure for most but exemptions may apply

North Dakota rehabilitation counselors can be licensed as Licensed Professional Counselors, or LPCs. The North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners describes the LPC credential as a full professional license; it is distinct from the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) credential, which is a mental health specialty license.

LPC licensure is based on education, examination, and experience. A counselor who is working toward the LPC credential will hold licensing as a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC).

Counselors are licensed unless they fall under exemption categories described in North Dakota Century Code (http://ndbce.org/laws.shtml). A rehabilitation professional could be exempted based on government employment or employment in another exempt setting.

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Education Requirements for those seeking LPC or LAPC Licensure as Rehabilitation Counselors

Licensure at the associate or professional level entails completion of a master's degree in a field such as counseling or counseling and guidance. In order for a candidate to qualify for LADC or LPC, a program must be at least 48 semester hours. The program must address the following Board-identified content areas:

  • Human growth and development
  • Counseling theories
  • Counseling methods
  • Research methods or statistics
  • Testing or individual appraisal
  • Career and lifestyle development
  • Cultural and social foundations
  • Group counseling
  • Professional orientation and ethics
  • Practicum or internship

Practicum and internship are together to comprise at least 700 hours.

Administrative code states that the requirement will increase to 60 semester hours, effective July 1, 2017 (http://ndbce.org/laws.shtml). Coursework requirements are not slated for change.

Examination Requirements: National Counselor Examination (NCE)

The approved LPC licensing examination is the National Counselor Examination (NCE), offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Candidates must seek approval from the North Dakota Board unless they have already taken the examination for another purpose; they will submit an additional $40 with their LAPC application packets to have the Board review their qualifications.

The NBCC will require registration form, eligibility letter, and fee (currently listed as $195). An approved candidate can expect an ATT to be issued in about four week's time. Applicants may make status inquiries by email at ‘exam at cce-global.org’.

The examination is computer-delivered. It is administered in Bismark and Fargo, as well as in other AMP assessment centers around the nation. The ATT grants a six-month eligibility window.

Registration information and candidate handbooks can be found on the Board website (http://www.ndbce.org/testing.shtml) and on the North Dakota page of the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/directory/ND).

Rehabilitation Counselor Pursuing LPC Licensure: Supervised Practice Requirement

A prospective LPC will work under supervision for two years. He or she will accrue a minimum 200 client contact hours during each of the two years. The LAPC will have a total of at least 100 hours of supervision; supervision is to be spread out over the two year period. An approved supervisor is a professional who has been certified as a supervisor by the North Dakota Board.

An LAPC will work under a supervision plan on file with the Board. LAPC paperwork can be downloaded from the Board website (http://ndbce.org/LAPC.shtml).

The Application Process

Applications and forms can be downloaded from the Board website (http://www.ndbce.org/forms.shtml). In-state candidates apply first at the LAPC level. Candidates who apply for the first time at the LPC level currently submit materials found in the LAPC application packet.

The transcript should be requested and sent directly from the academic institution.

The licensing agency will need to confirm the number of practicum/ internship hours; either the clinical supervisor or program director may provide a letter.

The applicant must provide three professional recommendations. An individual applying at the LAPC level will supply letters from the following professionals: practicum or internship agency supervisor, program director, and instructor.

The applicant will submit a $150 fee; of this, $50 is nonrefundable.

The application package includes an affidavit that must be notarized. One things that the applicant's signature indicates is that he or she understands that a criminal records check will be conducted.

License by Reciprocity

Out-of-state counselors may be licensed by reciprocity if they were licensed on the basis of substantially similar standards and the licensing agency finds no reason to withhold licensing.

Other Credentialing Options: Rehabilitation Counseling Certification

Some rehabilitation counselors will be eligible for other credentials, including clinical licensing and/ or third party rehabilitation counseling certification.

Standards for the LPCC license are different at all stages beginning with education (http://www.ndbce.org/LPCC.shtml). The Board sets the minimum semester hour requirement at 60. The student will need coursework in abnormal psychology, diagnostic assessment, and clinical counseling skills. Practicum and internship experiences must be relevant to clinical practice. The prospective LPCC will need to pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. There are also qualitative and quantitative differences in supervised practice requirements for associate counselors vying for clinical licensure; these individuals will need to identify in their supervision plans the clinical requirements that will be met. Ultimately, the LPCC candidate will tape a clinical session.

Some programs have a dual emphasis in rehabilitation counseling and mental health. Such programs may put a rehabilitation counselor on the path toward clinical licensure.

Rehabilitation Counseling Certification: The North Dakota LPC license is generic. Rehabilitation counselors can pursue adjunct certification as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs) through the Commission of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification; this is a nongovernmental credential. If the counselor did not graduate from a program accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and did not complete a doctoral program with CRC-supervised internship, it will be necessary to accrue work experience before applying for examination. Candidate handbooks are available on the CRCC website (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php).

Additional Information

The North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners (http://www.ndbce.org) can be reached by telephone at 701-667-5969 or by email at 'ndbce at btinet.net'. Professional counseling law and administrative code are available online (http://www.ndbce.org/laws.shtml).

The North Dakota Counseling Association (http://www.ndcounseling.org) is an additional professional resource.

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