Arizona rehabilitation counselors help clients with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. They create treatment plans, connect clients with services, and help individuals live more independently. There are approximately 1,800 rehabilitation counselors in Arizona, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster-than-average job growth in this field in the coming years. Rehabilitation counselors in Arizona must meet educational, experience, and testing requirements to become licensed counselors.
In Arizona, the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners issues counselor licenses for associate counselors and professional counselors. Both licenses require a master's degree that meets Arizona counseling standards. After completing the state licensure process, licensed counselors must meet continuing education requirements to renew their license. This guide covers how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Arizona.
Counseling License and Career Requirements in ArizonaExplore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Arizona here
Education and Experience Requirements
The following sections cover degree, accreditation, and experience requirements for rehabilitation counselors in Arizona. The Board of Behavioral Health Examiners provides additional information on the state's licensure process.
Education and Coursework
Licensed rehabilitation counselors in Arizona need a graduate degree in counseling. Both the licensed associate counselor and licensed professional counselor credentials require a master's degree or higher in counseling from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. The graduate program must consist of at least 60 semester credits (or 90 quarter credits) and include a supervised counseling practicum of at least 700 hours, including at least 240 hours of direct client contact.
Licensed rehabilitation counselors in Arizona need a graduate degree in counseling
The board also accepts non-accredited degrees in counseling if the candidate completes at least one course in each of eight core content areas, including ethical practice, career development, social and cultural diversity, and assessment. The board evaluates a candidate's completed curriculum to ensure it meets Arizona counseling standards.
Graduates with a master's in counseling can apply for an associate counselor license immediately after graduation. However, the professional counselor license requires additional supervised work experience. Candidates for the professional license must hold at least 3,200 hours of supervised work experience over the last two years, including at least 1,600 hours of direct client contact involving psychotherapy. Learn more about different counseling education and career paths by visiting this site.
Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:
Practicum and Internship
Arizona requires at least 700 hours of supervised practicum experience during a master's in counseling program. Candidates for the professional counselor license must then accrue 3,200 hours of supervised work experience after graduating. The associate counselor license does not require supervised postgraduate work experience.
Application and Exam Requirements for Arizona Rehabilitation Counselors
The process to become a rehabilitation counselor in Arizona begins by meeting education and experience requirements. Candidates for a license submit an application to the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners that includes official transcripts, verification of supervised work experience, and an employment history covering the past seven years. Prospective rehabilitation counselors must also submit proof of passing test scores.
The Board of Behavioral Health Examiners approves three exams for counselor licenses:
- National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification from the National Board for Certified Counselors
- National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination from the National Board for Certified Counselors
- Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Applicants must also submit proof of legal residency in the United States and a copy of their driver's license, state-issued ID, or Social Security card. Additionally, candidates must submit a copy of an Arizona Department of Public Health fingerprint clearance card. Alternatively, applicants can submit a complete set of fingerprints plus $40 for a background check. All rehabilitation counselors must pay a $250 application fee.
Out-of-state Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates
Arizona provides a license-by-endorsement route for out-of-state rehabilitation counselors. Candidates can apply for the licensed associate counselor or licensed professional counselor credential by submitting an endorsement application form. This form requires proof that a candidate meets license requirements, including an official transcript, verification information for all professional credentials, and an employment history covering the prior seven years.
The board reviews endorsement applications to determine whether a candidate must complete examinations or provide additional materials. Candidates complete the process by taking tutorials related to Arizona clinical supervision requirements and the state's statutes and regulations.
Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements
Counseling licenses in Arizona remain valid for two years. Rehabilitation counselors renew their license by demonstrating at least 30 hours of continuing education during the two-year period. At least three of these hours must be related to behavioral health ethics and mental health law. Another three hours should cover cultural competency and diversity training. Counselors must submit a license renewal application to the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. The application includes a log for continuing education hours, a background questionnaire, and employer information. Applicants pay $325 to renew their license.
Counseling licenses in Arizona remain valid for two years
Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Arizona
Arizona rehabilitation counseling students and professionals can benefit from professional organizations and resources dedicated to their field. Professional organizations provide career development tools, networking opportunities, and student chapters. Many Arizona state offices provide rehabilitation services and resources that help rehabilitation counselors connect their clients with support.
- American Rehabilitation Counseling Association A national organization for rehabilitation counselors, ARCA provides professional development resources and hosts an annual conference with networking opportunities. Counseling students can join ARCA student chapters.
- Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners This board grants licenses for rehabilitation counselors in Arizona. It also offers information about the licensure process and renewal requirements.
- Arizona Counselors Association AzCA offers continuing education resources, networking events throughout the state, and a career center with Arizona job openings. It also hosts local chapters.
- Arizona Department of Health Services This department licenses long-term care and residential facilities in Arizona. It also offers resources for counselors, including training courses and educational materials for patients.
- Arizona Rehabilitation Services This organization runs programs that assist individuals with disabilities by providing employment resources and independence services, including the state's vocational rehabilitation program.
- Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification CRCC — a nonprofit rehabilitation counseling organization — sets standards for delivering rehabilitation counseling services. The commission offers the certified rehabilitation counselor credential.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Arizona NAMI Arizona runs mental health programs and support groups. Counselors can attend meetings and events hosted by NAMI Arizona or use the organization's resources.
- National Rehabilitation Association Established in 1923, the National Rehabilitation Association represents rehabilitation counselors and other professionals. The association oversees divisional organizations within the rehabilitation profession and operates regional chapters.
- Southwest Behavioral and Health Services SB&H hosts a training institute for counselors and other behavioral health professionals, providing clinical training that meets Arizona licensing requirements. The organization also hosts events for behavioral health specialists.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Program Arizona's Vocational Rehabilitation Program offers services to people with disabilities. The program also offers pre-employment transition services to help people explore career options and improve their job readiness skills.