Rehabilitation counselors help people with disabilities or injuries learn or relearn how to conduct the activities of daily life, such as finding employment, accessing transportation, and living independently. This growing career path offers the chance to leave a lasting positive impact on people's lives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 13% employment growth for rehabilitation counselors between 2016-2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
This guide explains how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Colorado. The state requires rehabilitation counselors who provide counseling services to patients to acquire state-issued licensed professional counselor (LPC) licenses. Holding an LPC can help rehabilitation counselors qualify for more positions and potentially earn more money. Rehab counselors who provide other types of services do not necessarily need licenses and can pursue the voluntary certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) certification from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).
Rehabilitation counselor students, experienced professionals from other states, and Colorado counseling professionals who want to renew their credentials can all find useful information in this guide. It covers education, experience, exam requirements, and the application process, and includes a list of professional resources and organizations.
Counseling License and Career Requirements in ColoradoExplore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Colorado here
Education and Experience Requirements
Licensed rehabilitation counselors in Colorado must meet both education and experience requirements set by the Colorado counselor board, including coursework and internship requirements. Rehabilitation counselors pursuing voluntary certifications must also meet these types of requirements, but the specifics will vary by credential.
Education and Coursework
The education requirements to become a rehabilitation counselor in Colorado vary depending on if the prospective counselor pursues licensure or certification. We describe the requirements for these two different pathways below.
Licensed Professional Counselor
Individuals pursuing Colorado counseling careers as LPCs need a master's or doctoral degree from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Applicants who attend a program after August 31, 2014, must complete at least 60 semester credit hours.
Prospective counselors from programs that do not hold CACREP accreditation may qualify for licensure if they graduate from an "equivalent program" at a regionally accredited university. The board evaluates program equivalency by analyzing the applicant's submitted educational credentials.
LPCs must demonstrate knowledge in the following areas:
- Human growth and development
- Social and cultural foundations
- Helping relationships
- Group dynamics
- Lifestyle and career development
- Research and evaluation
- Professional orientation
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor
A rehabilitation counselor pursuing a CRC must hold at least a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field. Applicants who complete non-accredited programs or master's degrees in other fields must also demonstrate completion of specific coursework.
Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:
Practicum and Internship
A licensed rehabilitation counselor pursuing an LPC in Colorado must complete at least 2,000 hours of post-degree experience over a minimum of two years. This must include 100 hours of post-degree supervision, 70 of which must be face-to-face client work.
Application and Exam Requirements for Colorado Rehabilitation Counselors
In addition to education and experience requirements, licensed rehabilitation counselor applicants in Colorado must submit additional application materials and pass an exam. The State Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners regulates professional counselor licenses in Colorado.
Licensed Professional Counselor
Each LPC in Colorado must pass the national counselor examination from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The board requires LPC applicants to submit other materials and documentation, including:
- A completed model mandatory disclosure statement
- Transcripts from a CACREP-accredited master's program
- Documentation of required post-degree experience and supervision
- Application fee
- Documentation of a successfully completed jurisprudence exam
- Documentation of a passing score on the national counselor exam
During the licensure process, the Division of Professions and Occupations may request information about applicants' criminal histories or disciplinary actions. Failure to disclose this type of requested information can result in denial of application or revocation of license. Applicants can submit all materials and check application status online.
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)
Three types of applicants can apply to take the CRC exam: a student or graduate of an accredited program, a student or graduate of a non-accredited program, and a graduate of a master's or doctoral program in a related field of study. Eligibility requirements vary by applicant category, but may include:
- Official transcripts
- Evidence of completion of specific coursework
- Evidence of completion of an internship
Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates
A rehabilitation counselor who holds a current, unrestricted equivalent license in another state, territory, or foreign country can apply for an LPC license by endorsement in Colorado. The out-of-state license must allow professional counseling practice, and each applicant must:
- Submit verification of licensure from all states where they are licensed
- Submit official transcripts
- Attest to the successful completion of an exam for competence in professional counseling
- Attest to post-degree supervised experience or active practice for at least two years immediately before applying
Applicants from foreign countries must submit additional documentation to the Colorado counselor board.
Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements
Colorado LPCs must renew their licenses every two years. LPC licenses expire on August 31 of odd-numbered years. Licensed rehabilitation counselors can view their expiration dates in their online accounts. Renewal applicants can apply starting six weeks before their license expiration date. Renewal requirements for LPCs include 40 professional development hours every two years, and LPCs can complete no more than 20 hours within one professional development activity category.
Colorado LPCs must renew their licenses every two years
CRCs must renew their certifications every five years, through reexamination or continuing education.
Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Colorado
The resources below explore the Colorado counseling field, including licensure and certification information, rehabilitation counseling tools, and professional organizations. Students, recent graduates, and working professionals exploring how to become a counselor in Colorado will find these resources useful for finding job opportunities, exploring current issues in the rehabilitation counseling profession, and applying for a counseling license.
- American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine ACRM promotes and disseminates interdisciplinary rehabilitation research and holds the world's largest rehabilitation counseling conference each year in the fall.
- American Counseling Association As the world's largest organization representing professional counselors in all areas of practice, ACA offers an annual conference, continuing education opportunities, a career center, and publications.
- American Rehabilitation Counseling Association ARCA is a professional organization for rehabilitation counselors. Its mission is to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Members receive a newsletter, access to continuing education, and student volunteer opportunities.
- Colorado Counseling Association CCA represents 800 professional counselors practicing in Colorado, who benefit from licensure resources, an annual conference, and the group's advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession.
- Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies On this website, prospective LPCs in can find information about how to become a counselor in Colorado. This includes rules and regulations, forms, applications, and guides related to LPC licensure.
- Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification As the world's largest rehabilitation counseling organization, CRCC offers the internationally recognized CRC certification. It also offers continuing education opportunities.
- Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Part of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation helps Coloradans with disabilities connect to resources and services that support self-employment, self-sufficiency, and independent living.
- National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials This clearinghouse serves as a first point of contact for the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Students and counselors can use the website to locate helpful resources related to rehabilitation counseling.
- National Rehabilitation Association This national professional organization for rehabilitation counselors, educators, and researchers provides social advocacy and leadership, promotes research, and educates the public about people with disabilities.
- Rehabilitation Counselors Occupational Outlook Here, students can find information about the career outlook, work environment, pay, and state and area data for rehabilitation counselors according to BLS data.