How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Alaska

Rehabilitation counselors provide invaluable services to Alaskans who need help recovering from such issues as grief, trauma, or substance abuse. Some counselors assist people with disabilities with school, work, and/or daily living, while others work with military veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress and other adverse effects from their service. Regardless of the issue, however, vocational rehabilitation counselors address challenges specifically related to one's employment.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 13% increase in rehabilitation counseling positions through 2026. Alaska ranks second among the highest-paying states for this occupation and boasts an annual mean salary of $68,730 in the Anchorage metropolitan area. This means prospective vocational rehabilitation counselors can expect plenty of job opportunities and lucrative salaries in the coming years.

Alaska requires rehabilitation counselors to hold a professional counseling license in order to practice. This page describes the education and experience needed to obtain a counseling license, the application and examination processes, and useful resources for aspiring rehabilitation counselors.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Alaska

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Alaska here

Education and Experience Requirements

The following section provides information on the education and coursework needed to become a rehabilitation counselor in Alaska, along with the necessary experience attained through practicums, clinicals, or internships and post-graduate supervised work hours. You can also learn more about the accreditation credentials to look for in a school or program.

Education and Coursework

Alaska requires a master's degree or higher in counseling, or in a related discipline such as applied behavioral science, psychology, or social work. Students must earn 60 master's credits (or a doctoral degree) from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or a regionally accredited school.

Graduates from schools or programs lacking the accepted accreditation may obtain approval for licensure with coursework in eight of the following areas:

  • Assessment, testing, and appraisal of individuals
  • Group dynamics, processes, counseling, and consulting
  • Human growth and development
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Marriage and family counseling
  • Mental and emotional disorders and dysfunctional behavior
  • Professional counseling orientation and ethics
  • Research and evaluation
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • The helping relationship, including theory and practice of counseling

While a bachelor's degree is not adequate preparation to practice as rehabilitation counselor; it is an important prerequisite to earning a master's or doctorate in counseling or a related discipline.

The state also requires prospective counselors to have several hundred hours of supervised work experience with a state-approved supervisor working as licensed professional counselors, clinical social workers, marital and family therapist, or other careers in the field. Students can also receive supervision from a licensed advanced nurse practitioner certified to provide services in psychiatric or mental health, or a licensed psychologist, psychological associate, or psychiatrist.

Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:

Practicum and Internship

Most graduate degree programs in counseling include an internship, practicum, and/or clinical hours prior to graduation. For licensing purposes, the Alaska counselor board requires a minimum of two years of post-graduate, supervised work experience. Candidates must accrue at least 3,000 hours, with 1,000 hours of providing direct counseling services.

Application and Exam Requirements for Alaska Rehabilitation Counselors

The Alaska Board of Professional Counselors issues counseling credentials. Rehabilitation counselors must apply for the same professional counseling license that all counselors need to practice in the state.

The board requires candidates to submit the following:

  • A completed and notarized application, which includes information about an applicant's education and experience and answers to a series of professional fitness questions.
  • Two letters of recommendation from those familiar with the applicants' professional work.
  • A $200 application fee and $250 initial licensing fee.
  • Academic transcripts that prove the applicant earned a graduate degree from an accredited program (or approved coursework), and demonstrates 60 graduate semester hours in counseling.
  • Verification of 3,000 hours of supervised work experience by a board-approved supervisor.
  • Alaska report of criminal justice information.
  • Evidence of passing the required examination with three years of the application date.

The Alaska counseling board offers applications and forms online.

Applicants must pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), both administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NCE consists of 200 multiple choice questions covering academic subjects and professional practice topics. The NCMHCE tests knowledge of 10 clinical simulations. Examination handbooks and preparation guides are available on the NBCC's website.

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

Candidates who hold licenses from other states can apply for licensure by credentials. They must submit the following:

  • A completed and notarized application, which includes information about an applicant's education and experience and answers to a series of professional fitness questions.
  • $200 application fee and $250 initial licensing fee.
  • Verification of out-of-state license.
  • Report of criminal justice information.
  • If from a state without the 60 semester-hour requirement, academic transcripts evidencing 60 graduate semester hours in counseling.
  • If an applicant holds a graduate degree in a field other than counseling, they must provide a list of all completed coursework.
  • Verification of having completed 40 credits of continuing education (CE), including three credits in ethics.

Rehabilitation Counselor Licence Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

Alaska counseling licenses expire on October 31 of every odd-numbered year. Counselors should allow six weeks for renewal application processing. Renewing license holders submit a renewal application, $250 fee, and verification of the requisite CE credit completion. Depending on the date of the initial license, renewal candidates must complete 20-40 CE hours, including at least three hours of ethics.

Alaska counseling licenses expire on October 31 of every odd-numbered year

The licensing board accepts CE credits from sources that include accredited colleges and universities, seminars or workshops as a participant or presenter, self-study materials with verification, and approved organizations listed in the renewal application materials.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Alaska

The list below contains resources useful to rehabilitation counselors, and features both Alaska-specific and nationally-based agencies and organizations. Whether you're considering a career in counseling, you're already a student, or about to apply for a license or certification, these links can help you find CE courses, networking opportunities, statistics and data, and information about recent research.

  • Alaska Commission for Behavioral Health Certification A non-profit organization, ABCHC offers specialty certifications in behavioral health and addiction; CE, webinar, and training opportunity listings; an online job board; and an events calendar.
  • Alaska Mental Health Board and Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse These two state boards work together to advocate for and promote effective counseling services for Alaksans. They offer news bulletins on current issues, as well as a data center with results of studies and statistics on topics such as mental illness, suicide, and substance use.
  • Alaskan Core Competencies A joint project of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, University of Alaska, and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, this organization addresses skill development for counseling professionals, particularly those working in rural and frontier areas with limited support and supervision.
  • American Counseling Association This national organization offers memberships to students, new professionals, and established professionals. Members have access to an online knowledge center, CE and conference opportunities, a career center, and a publications library.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association An online community of mental health counselors, AMHCA offers discounted CE opportunities, insurance, and publications; a career center; advocacy initiatives; and a discussion forum.
  • Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability & Rehabilitation Research The KTDRR Center serves as a clearinghouse for evidence-based research that helps people with disabilities, along with training and technical assistance. Resources include an online library, policy portal, and strategy database.
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification A worldwide organization, CRCC provides certification in rehabilitation counseling, online CE courses, a career center, research studies, and advocacy in three areas: advancing the profession, state licensure, and workplace recognition.
  • Division of Behavioral Health Part of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, DBH offers a wealth of online reports, position papers, newsletters, studies, and publications relevant to rehabilitation counselors. Members also have access to a list of trainings and conferences.
  • National Board for Certified Counselors In addition to administering licensing exams, the NBCC supports counselors through specialty certifications, advocacy and governmental affairs, professional liability insurance options, approved CE provider listings, and publications.
  • Regional Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor Training This Alaska organization provides on-site and remote courses and trainings for counselors that cover alcohol and drug abuse and behavioral health. RADACT also offers certifications in chemical dependency and behavior health counseling, clinical supervision, and administration.

Explore More Pathways to Becoming a Counselor in Alaska

Learn How to Become a School Counselor in Alaska Learn How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Alaska
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