Rehabilitation counselors provide invaluable services to Alabama residents, helping clients recover from issues such as grief, trauma, and substance abuse. Some counselors assist people who have disabilities with school, work, and daily tasks. Other counseling professionals work with military veterans dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% increase in the number of rehabilitation counseling positions from 2016-2026. In a study by the Alabama Department of Public Health, state residents identified substance abuse and mental health issues as Alabama's second-biggest health concern.
The Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling requires rehabilitation counselors to hold licensure before using the title of professional counselor, although individuals can work as vocational rehabilitation counselors without a license. Rehabilitation counselors can also practice with a certification conferred by a third party, rather than by the state.
This page details the education and experience required to obtain a counseling license or certification. The sections below explore the application and examination processes, providing links to resources for aspiring rehabilitation counselors.
Counseling License and Career Requirements in AlabamaExplore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Alabama here
Education and Experience Requirements
The following section covers the education and coursework requirements needed to become a rehabilitation counselor in Alabama. Candidates must also obtain experience through practica, clinicals, or internships, and garner postgraduate supervised work experience. The section also highlights the importance of choosing an accredited program.
Education and Coursework
To become a licensed rehabilitation counselor in Alabama, candidates must hold at least a master's degree in counseling. Candidates' graduate studies must include at least 48 credits of coursework from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Graduates from schools or programs without CACREP accreditation can obtain Alabama counseling licensure if they have completed equivalent coursework in the following state-mandated areas:
- Counseling theory
- Group dynamics
- Helping relationships
- Human growth and development
- Lifestyle and career development
- Professional orientation
- Research and evaluation
- Social and multicultural foundations
- Testing and appraisal
The state requires applicants to complete a 100-hour practicum experience, including 40 hours of direct counseling services. Candidates must also complete a 600-hour internship that includes 240 hours of direct service. Interns perform the same duties as licensed rehabilitation counselors.
Alabama licenses counselors in two stages. Candidates who have completed a graduate program, practicum, and internship can apply for an associate licensed counselor (ALC) credential. After completing their supervised experienced and passing the required examination, ALCs can apply for the licensed professional counselor (LPC) credential.
Rehabilitation counseling certification also requires a graduate degree. Candidates apply at different category levels, depending on whether their degree is in rehabilitation counseling or a related field and whether their degree is from a CACREP-accredited program.
Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:
Practicum and Internship
In addition to a student practicum and internship, the Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling requires candidates for licensure to have completed postgraduate supervised experience.
Candidates with a master's degree must have completed at least 3,000 hours of postgraduate experience, including 2,250 hours providing direct counseling services. The state reduces experience requirements for candidates with academic credits beyond the master's level. ALCs must log 100 hours annually.
Certification requirements depend on an applicant's category level.
Application and Exam Requirements for Alabama Rehabilitation Counselors
The Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling issues counseling licenses. Rehabilitation counselors apply to become ALCs and then LPCs. Professionals in all counseling disciplines obtain these credentials.
The board requires ALC candidates to submit the following:
- A completed and notarized application, including information about a candidate's education, experience, and professional fitness
- Three recommendation forms, including two from references who can speak to a candidate's professional experience and one from an individual who is familiar with a candidate's academic work
- A $200 application fee
- Academic transcripts providing evidence of a graduate degree from a CACREP-accredited program (or approved coursework)
- Proof of citizenship
After completing training hours, ALC candidates take the National Counselor Examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering academic subjects and professional practice topics relevant to counselors. After passing the exam and submitting verification of supervised work, ALC applicants pay a $150 licensing fee. The LPC licensing fee is $300.
The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification administers credentials for rehabilitation counselors around the world. Applicants must pass the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor exam and pay a $410 certification and exam fee.
Out-of-state Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates
Application requirements for professionals pursuing the Alabama LPC credential who hold a current license in another state include:
- An LPC endorsement application
- License verification from their current state board
- Academic transcripts demonstrating completion of coursework that meets Alabama's academic requirements
- A $200 application fee
- Three recommendation forms, including two from references familiar with a candidate's professional experience and one from a professor or another individual who can speak to a candidate's academic work
Endorsement candidates must also provide verification of a passing score on the National Counselor Examination. After approving a candidate for endorsement, the board issues the license upon receipt of the $300 biennial license fee.
Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements
Alabama LPCs must renew their license by August 1 every two years. Renewal requires an application, a $300 fee, and verification of 40 continuing education hours completed during the renewal period (including six hours in ethics). ALCs renew their license every year; renewal costs $150 and requires completion of 10 continuing education hours, including two hours in ethics. Counselors must earn continuing education hours through an NBCC-approved provider.
Alabama LPCs must renew their license by August 1 every two years
Certified rehabilitation counselors renew their credential every five years. Renewal requires 100 hours of approved continuing education — including 10 ethics hours — and a $405 fee.
Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Alabama
The list below includes resources for rehabilitation counselors and features state and national agencies and organizations. These resources are helpful for those considering a career in counseling, current counseling students, and graduates applying for a license or certification. The following resources can help you find continuing education courses, networking opportunities, statistics and data, and information about research in the field.
- Alabama Counseling Association ALCA consists of location-based chapters and specialty divisions. The organization offers membership options for professionals, students, and retirees. ALCA members receive access to conferences, workshops, publications, a listserv, and legal advice.
- Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services This state agency's website features statistics and news releases on current topics in the field. The website also provides information about vocational rehabilitation, early intervention, and independent living and homebound services.
- Alabama Rehabilitation Association This state chapter of the National Rehabilitation Association promotes collaborative and ethical practice among rehabilitation professionals. ARA provides advocacy and legislation, research, job listings, and continuing education opportunities.
- Alabama School of Alcohol and Other Drug Studies ASADS provides NBCC-approved continuing education programs for professionals who assist patients with substance abuse issues. The organization connects addiction specialists and educators and provides material focused on treatment, prevention, and recovery.
- American Counseling Association This national organization offers membership levels for students, new professionals, and experienced professionals. ACA provides an online knowledge center, continuing education opportunities, conferences, advocacy, a career center, and a publications library.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association This online community of mental health counselors offers discounted continuing education courses, insurance, and publications. AMHCA also maintains a career center and a discussion forum.
- Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research This center collects evidence-based research that helps people with disabilities. The center also provides technical assistance, an online library, a policy portal, and a strategy database.
- Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification This global organization provides certification for rehabilitation counselors, online continuing education courses, a career center, and research studies. CRCC advocates in three areas: advancing the profession, state licensure, and workplace recognition.
- Alabama Mental Health This nonprofit organization promotes the mental health of state residents. The organization provides a directory of mental health practitioners, event listings, legislative information, and policy updates relevant to rehabilitation counseling.
- National Board for Certified Counselors In addition to administering licensing exams, NBCC supports counselors by administering specialty certifications, advocating for the profession, and offering professional liability insurance. The board also delivers publications and a list of approved continuing education providers.