Rehabilitation Counseling Certification Guide

Rehabilitation counselors work with patients with emotional, physical, and cognitive disabilities, assisting them in living adjusted, healthy lives. Through individual and group therapy, counselors assist disabled patients in identifying their weaknesses and emphasizing their strengths in an effort to empower them to lead independent lives.

Those interested in counseling that caters toward patients with disabilities may find a fulfilling career in rehabilitation counseling. In addition to a license, some employers may look for counselors with certification in the field. This guide explores the benefits of earning certification in rehabilitation counseling and outlines the steps to begin.

Benefits of Certification

To practice as a rehabilitation counselor, states generally require a license in mental health counseling. Licensure requirements vary by state, but generally include a master's degree in counseling and passing a licensure exam. Most states also require counselors to earn a master's degree from a program accredited by a counseling program accreditation agency.

Rehabilitation Counseling certification designates that the counselor has met rigorous education and practice standards

In addition to licensure, many counselors choose to earn certifications in rehabilitation counseling. Though not required to practice, many employers prefer candidates with this certification. It designates that the counselor has met rigorous education and practice standards in rehabilitation counseling and further qualifies them for advanced practice.

Provided by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), this certification provides counselors with a marketable credential accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). This certification sets credentialed counselors apart, potentially making them more appealing to employers. In private practice, this credential provides clients with further quality assurance.

Rehabilitation Counseling Certification Process

To become a certified rehabilitation counselor, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements vary based on each applicant's academic background. Students in graduate counseling programs may begin the rehabilitation counseling certification process prior to graduation, but must earn their degrees within 12 months of passing the required exam.

CRCC oversees the certification process, accepting applications and facilitating exam scheduling online. The CRC exam takes place three times per year. Applicants may fall into one of three categories: a student or graduate of a rehabilitation counseling program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), students and graduates of a non-CACREP accredited counseling program, and graduates of master's programs in related fields. Requirements vary depending on each applicant's category.

Board-certified rehabilitation counselors must renew their certifications every five years. To remain certified, counselors must complete at least 100 hours of continuing education over the five-year period. Without proof of continuing education, counselors must retake the rehabilitation counseling certification exam.

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