Rehabilitation counselors provide invaluable services to Arkansas residents 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. Vocational rehabilitation counselors address challenges relating to employment.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 13% increase in rehabilitation counseling positions through 2026. According to a recent report from Mental Health America, Arkansas ranks fourth among U.S. states for adult alcohol dependence and marijuana, cocaine, and heroin use.
Rehabilitation counselors must hold a licensed professional counseling credential from the Arkansas counselor board and a specialty certification to practice rehabilitation counseling.
This page describes the necessary education and experience to obtain a counseling license and certification. Read on for information on the application and examination processes and links to useful resources for aspiring rehabilitation counselors.
Counseling License and Career Requirements in ArkansasExplore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Arkansas here
Education and Experience Requirements
The following section provides information on the education and coursework needed to become a rehabilitation counselor in Arkansas, along with the requisite experience attained through practicums, clinicals, internships, and post-graduate supervised work hours. It also discusses accreditation credentials to look for in a school or program.
Education and Coursework
To become a licensed counselor, the Arkansas counselor board requires a master's degree or higher in counseling, including 60 semester hours of coursework, from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Arkansas requires candidates to earn three credit-hours of coursework and a "B" average in each of the following areas:
- Abnormal Psychology
- Career Development
- Family and Relationships
- Group Work
- Helping Relations
- Human Growth and Development
- Professional Identity
- Research and Program Development
- Social and Cultural Identity
The state also requires proof of competency through nine semester hours of practicum and/or internship experience.
A third-party organization confers certification credentials. Students enrolled in a CACREP-accredited master's or doctoral program can apply for certification while still in school. Graduate degree-holders from non-CACREP-accredited programs must log additional rehabilitation counseling experience prior to taking the certification exam.
The Arkansas board licenses counselors under two designations. Candidates who have completed their graduate education and practicum/internship hours apply for a licensed associate counselor (LAC) credential. After completing their post-graduate supervised experience and passing the requisite examinations, they apply to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC).
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 student practicums and/or internships, the Arkansas counselor board requires additional supervised experience. Candidates with master's degrees need three years of supervised work that includes 1,000 hours of client contact. The licensing board may credit semester hours toward the supervised work requirements. LACs need one supervised hour for every ten hours of counseling clients.
Application and Exam Requirements for Arkansas Rehabilitation Counselors
The Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling issues counseling licenses. Rehabilitation counselors apply to become LACs and LPCs, credentials which applicants from all counseling disciplines obtain.
The board requires LAC candidates to submit the following:
- Completed and notarized initial license application, including information about their education and experience
- $200 application fee
- Color, passport-size photo
- Notarized affidavit of residency
- Core curriculum summary
Once the board sends an approval letter, candidates take the National Counselor Examination (NCE), administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NCE consists of 200 multiple choice questions covering academic subjects and professional practice topics.
Candidates also submit a statement of intent, four letters of recommendation, and a fingerprint card for federal and state background checks.
In addition to student practicums and/or internships, the Arkansas counselor board requires additional supervised experience
After taking the NCE exam, candidates provide official transcripts. exam scores, and background check results. They also schedule an oral interview with the board.
Finally, applicants submit a signed supervision agreement, Incapacitation or Termination of Practice (C2h) plan from their employer, and a license fee determined by the board.
All forms can be downloaded from the board's website.
The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), the third-party organization that credentials rehabilitation counselors, requires applicants to take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam and pay a $410 certification and exam fee.
Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates
Out-of-state counselors with licenses from another state for less than three years must submit the same documents as initial license applicants, along with license verification from their current state.
Counselors holding licenses for more than three years can become licensed by endorsement. They must submit the same documents as in-state applicants, with two differences: they submit an endorsement application (rather than the initial license application) and their scores from the Arkansas Jurisprudence Exam, if required.
Arkansas also accepts scores from the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), also administered by the NBCC, if taken for an out-of-state applicant's initial licensing.
Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements
Arkansas counselors renew their licenses with the state board every two years according to the date on their license. Renewal requires a renewal application, updated statement of intent, C2h update, and verification of the requisite 24 hours of continuing education (CE) credits completed during each renewal period. Counselors can renew online or with downloaded forms.
Arkansas counselors renew their licenses with the state board every two years
LACs must report their client contact hours and supervisor evaluations every six months.
Certified rehabilitation counselors (CRCs) renew every five years and must accrue 100 hours of approved CE, including 10 ethics credits. CRCs pay a $405 fee to renew.
Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Arkansas
The list below contains resources useful to rehabilitation counselors and features both Arkansas-specific and nationally-based organizations. Whether you are considering a career in counseling, already a student, or about to apply for a license or certification, these links can help you find continuing education courses, networking opportunities, statistics and data, and information about recent research.
- American Counseling Association A national organization offering memberships for students, new professionals, and established professionals, ACA provides an online knowledge center, CE and conference opportunities, advocacy, a career center, and a publications library.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association As an online community of mental health counselors, AMHCA offers discounted CE opportunities, insurance, and publications; a career center; advocacy initiatives; and a discussion forum.
- Arkansas Counseling Association This nonprofit organization offers its members professional development opportunities, including conferences, networking, advocacy, and free or discounted CE opportunities and workshops.
- Arkansas Mental Health Counselors Association The state chapter of the AMHCA supports Arkansas mental health counselors through CE opportunities, legislative advocacy, an annual conference, a fall retreat, and a blog.
- Arkansas Rehabilitation Association As the state chapter of the National Rehabilitation Association, ARA promotes ethical practice in the assistance of people with disabilities. The organization offers CE options, networking events, legislative updates, access to professional journals, and a newsletter.
- 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.
- 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.
- National Council on Rehabilitation Education NCRE advocates for professional standards in the rehabilitation field through education and research. NCRE hosts two conferences a year and posts a newsletter and journal articles on its website. The website also features a worldwide job board.
- NetCE This NBCC-approved CE offers independent home study courses, which the Arkansas licensure board accepts for all requisite 24 CE hours. Course options include Arkansas-mandated ethics for counselors, along with topics in trauma, drug use, and practice management.