Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in Oklahoma

Oklahoma rehabilitation counselors can be licensed as Licensed Professional Counselors, or LPCs. LPCs must meet education, examination, and supervision requirements. They are under Board jurisdiction when working toward post-graduate requirements.

Section 1903 of the 2010 Counselor Act and Regulations notes some exceptions to licensing mandates. A rehabilitation counselor, for example, might work under another ‘certifying authority’.

Oklahoma counselors can practice only in areas where they are competent; competence is determined by factors such as education, training, and national credentialing.

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LPC Education Requirements for Rehabilitation Counselors

A prospective LPC must earn a counseling degree (or other substantially equivalent mental health degree) at at least the master’s level. The total program must be at least 60 semester hours. It must include a core of required courses. It must also include a minimum number of electives in content areas identified by the Board.

The program must include at least two courses each in 1) counseling theories/ techniques and 2) assessment/ appraisal. It must include at least one course each in 1) human growth and development 2) abnormal behavior 3) professional orientation 4) research and 5) practicum/ internship.

The student must have at least five three-semester hour courses drawn from a list of 15 Board-identified content areas. The list includes rehabilitation counseling as well as core counseling subjects such as career and lifestyle development, group work, and social and cultural foundations. The Board can credit coursework in areas such as addictions counseling, consultation, gerontology, and counseling of children and adolescents.

The Board has provided an academic worksheet that prospective counselors can use to determine if they have met requirements (http://www.ok.gov/behavioralhealth/ACADEMIC_REQUIREMENTS_-_LPC.html).

LPC Examination Requirements for Rehabilitation Counselors

Prospective LPCs must pass a counseling examination and a state jurisprudence examination. They take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) after receiving state approval. The NCE is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Oklahoma candidates will receive their NCE registration forms from the State Board. They will submit their eligibility letter and registration form to the NBCC along with the required fee (currently $195 ). There may be a four week wait before the ATT is issued. The ATT authorizes scheduling locally or internationally at any of more than 400 Pearson VUE assessment centers. There are assessment centers in Norman, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. A link to the candidate handbook can be found on the ‘Oklahoma’ page of the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//OK).

Candidates will also be approved to take the Oklahoma jurisprudence test after application submission. The Oklahoma Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination (OLERE) is based on state regulations (http://www.ok.gov/behavioralhealth/OLERE_Exam.html). It costs $40 and is available at Health Certification Project (HCP) sites around Oklahoma. Information is available on the Career Tech website (http://www.okcareertech.org/educators/assessments-and-testing/health-certification-project-hcp/professional-counselor-licensing).

Rehabilitation Counselor/LPC Supervised Practice Requirements

A master's level practitioner will need 3,000 hours or three years of supervised practice. The requirement may be reduced by additional post-master education; 30 semester hours may be accepted as a year, 45 semester hours as two years.

Supervisees must submit paperwork at regular intervals. Supervision agreements must be approved by the Board. The supervisee will also need to seek Board approval for changes in supervisor or location.

The supervisee will need weekly supervision by an LPC. Supervision must conform to Board standards (http://www.ok.gov/behavioralhealth/SUPERVISION_-_LPC.html). The supervisee can expect to have evaluations at regular intervals; these will be based on live or taped sessions.

The Board has provided a list of frequently asked questions about supervised experience requirements (http://www.ok.gov/behavioralhealth/Frequently_Asked_Questions:_Supervision.html).

The License Application Process

Prospective Oklahoma LPCs apply after they have met academic requirements but before meeting supervision and experience requirements. Applications forms are posted on the Board website (http://www.ok.gov/behavioralhealth/Making_Application.html).

Some steps will need to be completed in advance. Oklahoma requires fingerprint-based criminal background checks; cards are to be included in the completed application packet. Applicants may request cards or use cards that are available from a local sheriff's office (http://www.ok.gov/behavioralhealth/Making_Application.html).

Transcripts are to be included in sealed envelopes. The graduate will also provide practicum/ internship verification

The applicant will need three recommendations; forms are supplied in the application packet.

The prospective LPC will verify LPC supervision and on-site supervision and will provide a professional disclosure statement.

The application fee is $145.

Oklahoma Civil Service Positions

The Office of Personnel lists multiple rehabilitation classifications in the civil service arena (http://www.ok.gov/opm/jfd/jfd_k-page.htm). A Vocational Specialist I may have education at the baccalaureate level; Vocational Specialist II, III, and IV are master's level. Candidates are expected to have the educational qualifications to sit for a certification or licensing examination. The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) is among the certifications that may be considered.

National Certification: Certified Rehabilitation Counselor

The CRC examination is under the banner of the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Eligibility is achieved more quickly by students who attend rehabilitation counseling programs accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and who complete 600-hour internships. However, there are multiple paths that could lead to examination eligibility within a period of approximately one to three years (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php). Some candidates will need both work experience and supplemental coursework.

Additional Information

LPCs are regulated by the Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure. The Board can be reached by phone at (405) 522-3696. Email contacts are listed online (http://www.ok.gov/behavioralhealth/Contact_Us_-_BBHL.html).

Rules state that a specialty designation may be recognized on the basis of nationally recognized certification, in situations where a petition is signed by 15 or more licensees who meet the qualifications of the certifying agency.

Regulations change periodically. Prospective counselors can check the Board website (http://www.ok.gov/behavioralhealth) for updated rules (including those that may still be awaiting approval).

Professional organizations include the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Association (http://www.okrehabilitation.org) and the Oklahoma Counseling Association (http://www.oklahomacounseling.org).

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