Rehabilitation Counselor License Requirements in Tennessee

Tennessee rehabilitation counselors can be licensed as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) or Licensed Professional Counselors with Mental Health Service Provider designation (LPC/MHSPs). Both counseling licenses depend on completing a period of supervised practice as well as meeting education and examination requirements. Standards are different, as is scope of practice.

Some rehabilitation counseling positions, such as those in state vocational rehabilitation, may not require a license. Some positions require a professional to be eligible to pursue national certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, or CRC.

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State Employment in Vocational Rehabilitation

The state civil service classification ‘Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor-Masters’ is designed for those who are eligible to take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination or who hold master’s degrees in qualifying fields and will progress toward eligibility on an acceptable timeline.

The quickest way to achieve CRC examination eligibility is to enroll in a master's program in rehabilitation counseling that holds accreditation through the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE); a student who attends a CORE-accredited program may be approved to test before graduation. Graduates of non-CORE rehabilitation counseling programs will need at least a year of experience before they can test. Those who hold master's in counseling or related fields will need to complete coursework in particular areas mandated by the CRCC. They will also need at least three years of experience before they can test.

An individual who plans to take the CRC examination should be aware that it is currently offered just three times per year. The CRCC has published a schedule of registration deadlines (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/crc_exam_schedule/83.php).

State job classifications are described on the Human Resources website (http://tn.gov/hr). These do not necessarily reflect current openings. They do reflect basic standards.

Rehabilitation Counselor LPC Education Requirements

Like the CRC, the LPC requires a degree at the master’s level. However, the program must be 60 semester hours.

The program must hold an acceptable accreditation. The Board cites the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a regional accrediting institution serving Tennessee and neighbor states, as well as the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a programmatic accrediting agency, and notes that other comparable accreditations can be accepted.

The student must have coursework in ten Board-identified content areas:

  • Behavior, learning, and personality theories
  • Counseling and psychotherapy theory
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Counseling techniques
  • Evaluation and appraisal
  • Group dynamics/ group theory and technique
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Ethics
  • Research
  • Practicum or internship

An individual who seeks the mental health service provider designation will need at least nine semester hours of coursework that supports the appraisal, diagnosis, treatment, and assessment of mental disorder.

LPC Experience Requirements

A prospective LPC must complete two years of post-degree supervised practice. He or she must work at least 10 hours a week and must receive 50 hours of supervision each year in accordance with Board rule.

The work setting must meet the standards of Board rule. The Board has issued a policy statement about acceptable settings (http://www.tn.gov/health/article/pcmft-legislative).

A professional who seeks the mental health service designation will need fully 3,000 hours of supervised practice with no less than 150 hours of supervision. The prospective LPC/MHSP must practice in a setting that allows for considerable practice in the diagnosis, treatment, and assessment of mental disorder. The Board issues temporary licenses to professionals who are working toward LPC/MHSP standards.

Examination Requirements

Prospective licensees must pass both a national licensing examination and a state jurisprudence examination.

The National Counselor Examination (NCE) is the licensing exam officially adopted for LPC licensure. However, the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification has stated that by departmental policy, the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination may be accepted for licensure in Tennessee (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/state_licensure/221.php). The CRCC can be reached by email contact form (https://www.crccertification.com/contact-us); additional contact information is available online. Prospective licensees may also want to contact the Tennessee Board.

The NCE is a generalist counseling examination. It is offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. Tennessee candidates are allowed to register directly; they will find registration forms on the Tennessee page of the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//TN). They will need to provide transcripts. The examination fee is currently listed as $185. It may take four weeks for eligibility to be determined and an ATT to be issued. NBCC examinations are available during monthly testing windows. Candidates for Tennessee licensure will have their scores reportedly automatically to the Tennessee Board.

The state jurisprudence examination is also administered through contract with the NBCC. It is currently administered four times a year. Registration forms are available from the Tennessee Board. The NBCC has also provided an information sheet about the jurisprudence exam.

The NBCC’s National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination is the adopted examination for the mental health service provider designation.

The License Application Process

Applications can be downloaded from the Board website (http://www.tn.gov/health/article/pcmft-applications).

Applicants are to request official transcripts. They must provide two recommendations.

The applicant will need to have a criminal background check; there is a $38 fee. In-state applicants will have their fingerprints made digitally through the approved vendor, Morphotrust. Out-of-state applicants will also utilize Morphotrust for processing. However, they will have the fingerprints made at a local law enforcement agency. It will be necessary to register with Morphotrust in either instance. Applicants will need the correct OCA code. The Tennessee Board has provided detailed instructions (http://www.tn.gov/health/topic/pcmft-board).

Out-of-State

Out-of-state licensees are directed to contact the Tennessee Board to see if their state has a reciprocity agreement with Tennessee. They will need to provide license verification, regardless of reciprocity and regardless of the current status of the license.

Applicants pay $210 in fees.

There is an additional $150 for a temporary LPC/MHSP license.

Additional Information

The Tennessee State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, Marital and Family Therapists, and Licensed Pastoral Therapists can be reached by telephone at (615) 741-5735 or (800) 778-4123. Individuals with questions about regulations may call (615) 532-3202 or (800) 778-4123.

State professional organizations include the Tennessee Chapter of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals (https://connect.rehabpro.org/tennessee/home ) and the Tennessee Counseling Association (http://www.tncounselors.org).

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