How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Kentucky

Rehabilitation counselors in Kentucky help their clients overcome disabilities to lead independent lives. They may focus on independent living skills or training and vocational programs, assisting clients in finding gainful employment. These skilled counselors often collaborate with counseling teams that include clinical therapists or psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and doctors. They act as liaisons and advocate for their clients, helping them find local resources or access job training services.

The Kentucky counseling board does not require state licensing for general rehabilitation providers, though counselors may seek professional credentials. Those completing clinical counseling graduate programs may seek licensure to offer additional services to their clients, including emotional counseling.

About 710 rehabilitation counselors currently operate in Kentucky, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with professionals earning an annual mean salary of $37,200. The state anticipates a 12.4% growth in employment for this counseling specialty through 2026.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Kentucky

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Kentucky here

Education and Experience Requirements

When exploring how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Kentucky, students should consider the educational and experience requirements and professional credentials that can make their application stand out. Graduates must meet additional supervised practice standards and take national exams to provide clinical services in Kentucky.

Education and Coursework

Your path to becoming a rehabilitation counselor in Kentucky begins with a bachelor's degree in counseling or a related subject, such as education, social work, or psychology. Ensure your college or university holds regional accreditation, which graduate programs often require.

some rehabilitation counseling positions require only a bachelor's degree, but a graduate degree opens the door to professional credentials and clinical licensure

Four-year, 120-credit bachelor's degrees typically include hands-on learning opportunities for course credit or volunteer experience. Many programs working with individuals with disabilities offer a variety of work experiences for students. Visit this page to learn more about counseling education and career opportunities.

Some rehabilitation counseling positions require only a bachelor's degree, but a graduate degree opens the door to professional credentials and clinical licensure. Seek programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Degrees from such programs may help aspiring professionals meet credentialing and licensing requirements. Graduate programs often require strong academic performance, with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Some may also require GRE scores for admission.

Graduate coursework should include about 60 credits, often completed in two years. The curriculum covers professional ethics and responsibilities, along with courses in mental health assessment and counseling theories. Rehabilitation counselors must also understand case management, career development, and the medical and psychosocial aspects of disabilities.


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 relevant and rigorous counseling curriculum, professional credentials and state licensing require students to take part in hands-on learning experiences. These standards also make up requirements for programmatic accreditation from CACREP. Most programs require an internship of at least 600 hours under the supervision of a qualified rehabilitation counselor. The internship typically takes place during the last two semesters of a graduate program.

Application and Exam Requirements for Kentucky Rehabilitation Counselors

Kentucky laws exempt rehabilitation counselors from the state licensing process. These professionals provide employment counseling, job placement services, and vocational rehabilitation counseling. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) offers a nationally recognized credential for these counseling professionals to help distinguish highly qualified counselors.

Kentucky laws exempt rehabilitation counselors from the state licensing process; the CRCC offers a nationally recognized credential to help distinguish highly qualified counselors

CRCC requires students to earn graduate degrees in rehabilitation counseling. Aspiring counselors may apply to sit for the exam while still working toward their degree. Individuals seeking the credential after graduation must provide evidence of work experience over the prior 12-24 months. The exam consists of 175 multiple choice questions, covering 12 competency areas. The organization charges a $410 testing fee.

Many employers require background checks prior to beginning employment, and your school may complete these investigations before your internship begins.

The Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors administers license applications for individuals offering clinical services. To qualify for this license, applicants must graduate from an approved master's counseling program. The state grants a professional counselor associate license, which allows counselors to work under the supervision of qualified clinical counselors. The professional counseling license requires 4,000 hours of supervised clinical service, including at least 1,600 hours in direct service to clients.

Kentucky also requires a passing score on the National Counselor Exam (NCE). The state charges an application fee of $50-$150, depending on the type of license.

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

The professional rehabilitation counseling credential from CCRC offers national recognition. Many states with rehabilitation counseling licensure recognize the CCRC exam for licensing purposes, making it easier for rehabilitation counselors to relocate from Kentucky and meet their new state's requirements.

Individuals with valid clinical counseling licensure in other states can seek Kentucky licensure through reciprocity. Under this rule, applicants must complete an educational program equivalent to the Kentucky standards. They must document five years of professional counseling experience and remain in good standing with the state board that issued their current license. Kentucky also requires background checks and an application fee.

Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

The CRCC credential remains valid for five years. In addition to following the professional code of ethics, counselors must also commit to lifelong learning. The organization requires 100 hours of continuing education over five years to ensure counselors stay current on changes in employment law, new assistive technology, and medical advancements.

The CRCC credential remains valid for five years, while clinical licenses remain valid for one year

Clinical licenses remain valid for one year. Annual continuing education requirements include three hours in domestic violence, six hours in suicide assessment, and three hours in law. Counselors can complete continuing education through in-person seminars and workshops or distance education programs. State and national counseling organizations often provide learning opportunities during conferences.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Kentucky

A rehabilitation counselor must know where to look for appropriate resources to best serve their clients. Resources may include nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or educational institutions. The list below offers a sample of resources available to rehabilitation counselors in the state, with additional information on how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Kentucky.

  • Clay Community Foundations This agency serves individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities as a certified provider for Supports for Community Living and Michelle P. Waiver programs. It operates day training facilities that build communication skills, develop hobbies and interests, and bolster necessary work skills, with individual training plans for each client.
  • Goodwill Industries of Kentucky Headquartered in Louisville, Goodwill serves 103 counties in the state and employs about 1,300 people. The organization seeks to improve individuals' quality of life by assisting those with disabilities or disadvantages in finding and maintaining employment.
  • Human Development Institute The University Center for Excellence in Disabilities provides research, training, and service opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Housed at the University of Kentucky, the institute partners with the Kentucky Division of Protection and Advocacy and the state Council on Developmental Disabilities. The institute promotes independent living, productivity, and inclusion.
  • Kentucky Career Center The office of vocational rehabilitation within the Kentucky Career Center seeks to help residents find suitable employment. The office provides vocational assessments, information, guidance, and counseling. While the office may not serve all eligible individuals due to funding constraints, the staff provides referrals to other agencies.
  • Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing This state commission advocates for individuals with hearing disabilities by advancing legislation, policies, and programs for people with hearing loss. The commission offers a directory of services, brochures on topics of interest, and a library of resources for individuals with hearing loss and their families.
  • Kentucky Council of the Blind The volunteer, nonprofit organization serves as an affiliate to the American Council for the Blind. The council organizes a statewide support group by telephone and local support groups in various cities around Kentucky. It also produces a weekly audio magazine and bi-monthly newsletter. Members also advocate for accessible technology to serve individuals with low vision, along with Medicare coverage of low vision devices, audible traffic signals, and educational resources.
  • Kentucky Protection and Advocacy KYPA serves individuals with disabilities through individual and systemic education and advocacy efforts. It also offers resources to individuals with disability-related questions or issues. Its current priority issues include cross-disability concerns, such as healthcare, education, and the right to receive services.
  • New Vista New Vista provides outpatient mental and behavioral health services to 30,000 people across 17 Kentucky counties. It offers several programs to serve individuals with developmental disabilities, including the early childhood intervention First Steps program and the Access program. The agency also operates two residential facilities to serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Wellspring Inc. This nonprofit organization provides housing and psychiatric rehabilitation services to more than 800 adults each year, helping clients move from crisis to stable living. In addition to its supportive and affordable housing programs, Wellspring also offers individual placement and support services to help people living with mental illness find employment.
  • U.S. Ability One Commission This independent government agency works with a network of nonprofit organizations to employ individuals with disabilities. It employs more than 45,000 individuals, procuring products and services for the federal government. Central nonprofit agencies assist community-based nonprofit organizations to participate in the purchasing of service contracts.

Explore More Pathways to Becoming a Counselor in Kentucky

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