Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in South Carolina

South Carolina defines professional counseling broadly to include rehabilitation counseling and vocational counseling. While a rehabilitation counselor could be exempted based on employment in an exempt agency, rehabilitation counselors are eligible for licensing as Licensed Professional Counselors, or LPCs.

Licensure at the LPC level is dependent on meeting education, examination, and supervised practice requirements. While accruing post-graduate hours, the practitioner is licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern, or LPC-I.

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Rehabilitation Counselor Education Requirements

The foundation for practice is a graduate degree. The institution may be accredited by 1) a regional accrediting agency or 2) the Association of Theological Schools. The prospective LPC will need at least 48 semester hours of graduate education. The program must include coursework in each of the following:

  • The helping relationship
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Human growth and development
  • Group dynamics/ group processing and counseling
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Research and evaluation
  • Professional orientation
  • Appraisal of individuals
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychopathology diagnostics

A description of expected course content is found in the application packet. It is permissible to remedy coursework deficiencies post-degree.

Practicum requirements depend on career goals. A graduate must have at least a 150 hour practicum in order to be eligible for licensure as an LPC-Intern. In order to be qualified to diagnose and treat serious mental disorders as an LPC-I, he or she must have had, as part of the graduate program, a 600 hour internship that was supervised by a mental health professional.

Rehabilitation Counselor Experience Requirements

The prospective LPC will accrue 1,500 hours of post-degree supervised clinical practice over a period of not less than two years. During this time, the supervisee is licensed and under Board jurisdiction.

The South Dakota Board requires LPC-Interns to accrue 150 direct supervision hours; at least 100 of them individual. The professional who provides the mandated direct supervision hours must be an LPC-Supervisor (LPC/S) or supervisor candidate. The license application packet includes a list of professionals with LPC/S status.

The intern is to be under supervision even when not receiving direct supervision. Psychologists and psychiatrists are allowed to supervise, though their supervision is not credited toward the 150 hours.

Rehabilitation Counselor Examination Requirements

License is by examination. Prospective LPCs may take either of two examinations: the National Counselor Examination or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. Both the NCE and NCMHCE are made available by the National Board for Certified Counselors.

South Carolina candidates will need state approval unless they have previously taken the examination for another purpose. An applicant can receive approval after his or her intern application and educational documentation has been reviewed.

The NBCC will require a $195 fee as well as registration form and eligibility confirmation. The approved candidate should allow an additional four weeks for an ATT to be issued. The ATT authorizes registration at any of more than 400 Pearson VUE computerized assessment centers. There are three sites in South Carolina: in North Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville. Examinations are available two weeks out of each month. The NBCC has provided an information page that is specific to South Carolina (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//SC).

The score report will be sent automatically to the licensing agency after testing.

Individuals who have already taken a qualifying examination may submit photocopies of their score reports. If they do not have a copy, they are directed to contact the NBCC (www.nbcc.org/scoreverifications).

The Application Process and Forms

The South Dakota Board has contracted with the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE) to manage some parts of the application process. CCE is under the banner of the National Board for Certified Counselors; prospective licensees submit their initial applications to CCE. Applications are available on the CCE website (http://www.cce-global.org/prof/apps).

Applicants will need to provide official transcripts at the onset. They must also provide course syllabi or descriptions.

While CCE carries out the initial review, final approval is granted by the South Carolina Board; this takes after the examination has been passed and the file is complete.

The applicant will submit a $170 application fee to CCE. A $150 licensing fee will be due later to the South Carolina Board.

The Board notes that applicants are reviewed according to the mandatory licensing act (http://www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/counselors/index.asp?file=SancUnlicPrac.htm).

Out-of-State Counselors

Out-of-state counselors are directed to maintain licensure in their current state while going through the licensing process in South Carolina; this is necessary for endorsement.

CCE notes that post-licensure practice does not substitute for educational requirements and that some applicants may need to complete additional coursework.

In some instances, supervised practice can be verified by the state of licensure.

An individual who has accrued some supervision hours but is not yet licensed will be credentialed first at the intern level. The Board notes that out-of-state experience hours may be accepted if they are found to meet South Carolina requirements but that the individual will still be an LPC/I for the full two years. South Carolina LPC/Is are allowed to work at private practices or even maintain their own practices, provided supervision requirements are met.

Additional Rehabilitation Counselor Certification Credentialing Options

Rehabilitation counselors also have the option of seeking national certification as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors, or CRCs (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/about_crc_certification/46.php). The CRC credential is granted by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. A counselor can achieve examination eligibility more quickly if he or she completes a program that is specifically in rehabilitation counseling. Students who attend rehabilitation counseling programs accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) may be approved for examination before graduation. A CORE-accredited program will include at least 48 semester hours. Some programs combine rehabilitation and mental health counseling; these programs are at least 60 semester hours.

Additional Information

The state licensing authority is the South Carolina Board of Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Psycho-Educational Specialists. The Board website (http://www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/counselors) includes links to laws and policies as well as a list of frequently asked questions. The Board can be reached by telephone at (803) 896-4658 or by email at 'Contact.Counselor at llr.sc.gov'.

The Center for Credentialing and Education has provided an informational handbook about South Carolina licensure (http://www.cce-global.org/prof/apps).

The South Carolina Counseling Association is an additional professional resource (http://www.sccounselor.org/).

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