Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in Oregon

Oregon rehabilitation counselors are licensed as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). Oregon has explicitly approved rehabilitation counseling programs accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) as qualifying for state licensure. The state has also approved a rehabilitation counseling certification examination for use as an LPC licensing examination.

In addition to meeting education and examination requirements, a prospective licensee must meet a supervised practice requirement. While accruing hours, he or she is registered as an intern.

Licensure is governed by state law. It is not mandatory in all cases. Counseling requirements and exemptions are outlined in state statute (http://www.oregon.gov/oblpct/Pages/web-lr.aspx). Agencies operating within the state may have their own standards.

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Rehabilitation Counselor LPC Education Requirements

The prospective LPC must complete a graduate program that represents at least two years of study and confers at least a master's degree. The Board has explicitly approved a number of in-state counseling programs. Oregon also accepts programs accredited by CORE or the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP (http://www.cacrep.org/directory/) maintains online directories of programs.

Other programs can be accepted if they are determined to be comparable; standards are described in Division 60 of Administrative Rule (http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_800/oar_833/833_060.html). To be considered comparable, a program must include at least 60 semester hours. This is the case for degrees conferred in October 2014 or afterward; degrees conferred before this date may be as short as 48 semester hours. On October 1, 2014, the requirement for applied/ clinical experience also increased from 600 to 700 hours.

The Board distinguishes between degrees that meet “full standards” and those that meet “majority standards”. If a program meets majority standards, some deficiencies may be made up post-master. Majority standards are also described in Division 60.

Supervised Practice Requirements

Fully 2,400 experience hours are required prior to LPC licensure (http://www.oregon.gov/oblpct/Pages/experience.aspx). A graduate can credit no more than 400 of the hours accrued in the degree program.

Individuals who are earning their post-degree experience hours in Oregon will be registered as interns. Registered interns are subject to six-month reports.

Although an individual who does not complete his or her supervised practice in Oregon will not be under Board jurisdiction, he or she will need to meet Board standards in order to have the hours accepted (http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_800/oar_833/833_030.html). Supervisees are expected to have at least three hours of supervision a month if 46 or more client contact hours are accrued; they are expected to have at least two hours of supervision a month regardless of the number of client contact hours accrued. At least half of the required supervision is to be individual.

If not certified as a supervisor by an accepted national organization, the supervisor will need to meet Oregon's license, experience, and training requirements. He or she will need to hold an acceptable counseling certification in addition to a mental health license. The CRC is among the acceptable certifications.

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination Requirements

Oregon has approved the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination for licensure. This same examination can also confer national certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).

The CRC examination is under the banner of the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Rehabilitation counseling training is an examination prerequisite. However, there are a number of eligibility pathways.

If a student completes a CORE-accredited program that includes a CRC-supervised internship or completes a doctoral program with a CRC-supervised internship, no additional rehabilitation counseling experience is needed to qualify for certification. Students who complete other qualifying programs, including rehabilitation counseling programs, will need additional experience to meet the certification requirements. Those who complete non-CORE rehabilitation counseling programs can meet the requirement in 12 to 24 months. If the degree was in another field of counseling, the requirement will be at least 36 months. The graduate will need to provide evidence of having had coursework related to rehabilitation counseling.

The CRC is currently available during three annual testing windows. Application materials are due four to five months in advance (http://wvbec.org/becominganlpc.html). The certification fee is $385.

The Oregon Board also accepts the National Counselor Examination and the National Certified Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination; The NCE and NCMHCE are both under the banner of the National Board for Certified Counselors. The Oregon Board will approve candidates for examination after determining that they are academically eligible. The fee is currently $195. The NCCC has provided an information page that is specific to Oregon (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//OR).

The Board has the authority to accept other counseling examinations determined to be comparable.

Candidates must also pass a state test of laws and rules. They will access this test after passing the national examination (http://www.oregon.gov/oblpct/Pages/web-lr.aspx).

Background Check Requirements

Licensure is contingent on clearing a fingerprint-based criminal background check.

Applicants may opt to have their fingerprints made electronically; they will utilize the approved vendor, Fieldprint. There are sites located in most parts of the state; the Fieldprint website includes a list of locations (http://www.fieldprintoregon.com). Applicants begin by entering the required information into the online system; scheduling is also carried out online.

The candidate will need the code found in the fingerprint instructions; instructions are available in the ‘forms’ section of the Board website.

An applicant may instead call the Board to request that a fingerprint card be mailed.

The Application Process

An in-state candidate will apply at the registered intern level.

Application forms can be downloaded from the Board website (http://www.oregon.gov/oblpct/Pages/Forms.aspx).

The applicant will need to request that the school send a transcript to the Board. If the school was not CORE- or CACREP-accredited or explicitly approved by the Oregon Board, additional educational documentation will be required. The applicant will need ‘Form 6A’; it is to be signed by representative of the school.

The Board will require a professional disclosure statement.

The application fee is $172.25.

Applicants are invited to contact the Board if they have questions about which forms to submit.

Applications are to be mailed to the Board office in Salem.

Out-of-State Counselors

A counselor who holds a comparable license in another state may apply by reciprocity. The counselor must have earned a degree that meets ‘majority standards’. The Board may accept five years of clinical experience in lieu of up to 15 semester hours of coursework. However, experience cannot be substituted for training in diagnosis.

The out-of-state counselor must have passed an examination and worked under supervision. Reciprocity is described in Division 20 (http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_800/oar_833/833_020.html).

Additional Information

The Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (http://www.oregon.gov/OBLPCT/pages/index.aspx) can be reached by telephone at 503-378-5499 or by email at '’lpct.board at state.or.us’. Individuals with questions about rules may contact the Rules Coordinator (http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/resources/coordinators.html). Additional contact information is available online (http://www.oregon.gov/oblpct/Pages/contact_us.aspx).

The Oregon Rehabilitation Association is an additional professional resource (http://www.oregonrehabilitation.org).

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