Rehabilitation Counseling Requirements in Vermont: Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Certification and LMHC Licensure

Vermont rehabilitation counselors may hold multiple credentials. Requirements will vary, depending on what work is performed and in what capacity. Vocational rehabilitation counselors are certified by the Department of Labor. In some cases, vocational rehabilitation counselors will be hired without certification but will still need to meet requirements set by the state.

Rehabilitation counselors with clinical mental health training may be licensed as Licensed Mental Health Counselors.

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Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Certification in Vermont

To be certification eligible, an individual must hold a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or a master's in counseling that includes the following coursework:

  • Counseling theories and techniques
  • Assessment
  • Occupational information
  • Medical or psychosocial aspects of disability

The counselor will need to complete the Vermont Rehabilitation Professional’s Orientation workshop; this may be done after application submission.

To be certified, a professional must have 12 months of experience. At least six months must have been earned during the prior 24 months. It must have involved worker's compensation claimants.

An individual who does not yet meet requirements may be certified as a Job Developer/ Intern; the minimum requirement is a bachelor's degree. An intern must have a supervisor who accepts professional responsibility. The supervising counselor will provide a statement at the time of application.

Applications are available from the Department of Labor (http://labor.vermont.gov/workers-compensation/vocational-rehabilitation/).

The applicant will need to provide transcripts.

Governmental Employment in Vocational Rehabilitation

Job specifications for vocational rehabilitation counselors (and other related job roles) are available from the Vermont Department of Human Resources (http://humanresources.vermont.gov/staffing/classification/job-specifications). Candidates should expect background checks.

Rehabilitation counseling positions at the full professional level require a master’s degree. The Department may accept degrees in a variety of fields including psychology and social work. Education degrees may be accepted if there is an emphasis on special education or counseling.

The professional will need coursework specifically related to rehabilitation counseling; if he or she does not have it at the time of hire, it must be completed on an acceptable timeline. Coursework expectations include the following:

  • Vocational counseling
  • Vocational evaluation and assessment
  • Psychosocial or medical aspects of disability
  • Occupational information or job placement

Some classifications are specific to those providing vocational rehabilitation services for individuals who are deaf or limited in their hearing; these may require proficiency in sign language.

Individuals who are hired at less than the full professional level may be expected to pursue additional education. Some, but not all, require that a hiree be committed to earning a master’s degree on a specified timeline.

Some jobs reference the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential, though it is not necessarily mandatory. The CRC is granted by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). It is a master’s level credential. Individuals who hold master’s degrees specifically in rehabilitation counseling have a shorter path to certification; if the degree was accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and included a CRC-supervised internship, an individual may be approved to test before graduation. Other master’s level graduates will need work experience. Individuals with degrees in qualifying non-counseling fields will need to complete certificate or advanced degree programs of at least 21 semester hours. Once eligibility has been determined, the candidate will need to pass an examination.

Counseling Licensure for Rehabilitation Counselors

Individuals seeking counseling licensure through the Vermont Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals must have qualifying graduate degrees and fully 60 semester hours of coursework.

Programs accredited as clinical mental health counseling programs by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) meet standards. Other programs can be accepted if they meet requirements described in Board rule (https://www.sec.state.vt.us/professional-regulation/profession/allied-mental-health/statutes-rules.aspx). Some requirements must be included within the actual degree. The license agency mandates that the degree include a course in diagnosis, assessment and treatment. The degree must include a 600 hour internship and coursework in five out of seven Board-identified areas. These include the following:

  • Counseling skills
  • Theories
  • Human growth and development
  • Treatment modalities
  • Groups
  • Professional orientation and ethics
  • Measurement

The Board has set additional coursework and internship requirements, but these can be made up, if necessary, post-degree. The licensing agency expects 1,000 hours of combined practicum and internship. The application includes a summary of all expected program content.

There are some programs nationwide that offer dual emphasis in rehabilitation and mental health counseling. Prospective students may want to ask about accreditation and/ or coursework and internship requirements.

A Vermont counselor will take two examinations en route to licensure: the National Counselor Examination and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination. Both of the required examinations are administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Examinations currently cost $195. Examination information can be found on the ‘Vermont’ page of the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//VT). Candidates must be approved by the Vermont Board; some individuals, however, will have already taken the NCE as part of their graduate program.

The prospective licensee will need at least 3,000 hours of post-master supervised practice, accrued over a period of at least two years. While meeting supervision requirements, the individual will be under state jurisdiction. Vermont maintains a roster of non-licensed psychotherapists; the Board has provided an application form and answers to frequently asked questions (https://www.sec.state.vt.us/professional-regulation/profession/allied-mental-health/frequently-asked-questions/nonlicensed-noncertified-psychotherapists.aspx). It is now possible to apply online (https://www.sec.state.vt.us/professional-regulation/profession/allied-mental-health/forms-applications.aspx).

During the supervisory period, the prospective licensee will receive at least 100 hours of supervision from a licensed mental health professional.

License applications can be downloaded from the website of the licensing agency (https://www.sec.state.vt.us/professional-regulation/profession/allied-mental-health/forms-applications.aspx). Applicants submit applications before all requirements have been met; the licensing agency encourages prospective licensees to apply as soon as they have met educational requirements; this allows them to begin the examination process.

The applicant must submit official transcripts. Additional educational documentation will be required unless the program has a memorandum of understanding with the licensing agency.

Application carries a $125 fee.

Additional Information

Information about vocational rehabilitation counseling certification is available from the Vermont Department of Labor (http://labor.vermont.gov/workers-compensation/vocational-rehabilitation/).

Information about mental health counseling licensure is available from the Office of Professional Regulation (https://www.sec.state.vt.us/professional-regulation/profession/allied-mental-health.aspx).

The International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals-New England (https://connect.rehabpro.org/newengland/home) and the Vermont Mental Health Counselors Association (http://www.vtmhca.org/) are additional professional resources.

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