How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Missouri

Rehabilitation counselors help people with disabilities find employment and live independent lives. The number of rehabilitation counselors in the U.S. continues to increase, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting rehabilitation counseling jobs to grow 13% between 2016 and 2026. Additionally, the St. Joseph area in northwestern Missouri has the highest concentration of rehabilitation counselors in the country, according to BLS data.

To become a rehabilitation counselor in Missouri, candidates need to earn a licensed professional counselor (LPC) certification. Rehabilitation counselors can also obtain specialization with a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) credential from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counseling Certification (CRCC).

This guide outlines how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Missouri, including education and experience requirements. It also includes a list of helpful resources and organizations for rehabilitation counseling students and professionals.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Missouri

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Missouri here

Education and Experience Requirements

LPC candidates need to earn a bachelor's and graduate degree to qualify for licensure. Missouri also dictates several requirements regarding coursework, university accreditation, and experience. This section covers LPC education and experience requirements.

Education and Coursework

Missouri does not require a specific type of undergraduate degree for licensure, but candidates need a master's degree in counseling, counseling psychology, clinical psychology, or school psychology. The graduate program should comprise at least 48 credits. Students enrolled in programs with fewer than 48 credits can still apply, but they must submit a plan detailing how they will complete extra courses.

Missouri requires graduate curricula to cover several specific topics: counseling theory, human growth and development, career development, appraising patients, helping relationships, social and cultural foundations, group dynamics, and diagnosis. Students must also complete a research methods course, career development course, professional orientation, and six practicum hours.

If you want to learn more about counseling degrees, visit this page for additional advice on counseling education and careers in Missouri.

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

Practicum and Internship

During their master's degrees, students need to complete six practicum credits. They also need to fulfill 3,000 hours and two years of supervised counseling experience, including 1,200 hours of direct client contact. Candidates can complete their supervision hours online or through virtual communication, as long as each session lasts at least one continuous hour. Prospective counselors must complete the supervision requirements within five years.

Application and Exam Requirements for Missouri Rehabilitation Counselors

The Committee for Professional Counselors oversees licensure in Missouri. Prospective counselors can visit the committee's website to access the licensure application and child abuse reporting network.

PC candidates must pass the national counselor examination (NCE) and the Jurisprudence Exam

LPC candidates must pass two exams. First, they need to take the national counselor examination (NCE) from the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). The 200-question multiple-choice exam evaluates knowledge of human growth and development, social and cultural diversity, counseling and helping relationships, and career counseling, among other topics.

After passing the NCE, candidates must pass the Jurisprudence Exam. This test covers counselors' legal and ethical responsibilities. Prospective counselors take this exam online through an open-book format.

Applicants must submit a verification form documenting their post-degree supervised experience. Supervisors must complete an evaluation of the prospective counselor on this form. Candidates must also submit official transcripts and undergo a background check. They may get a background check through Missouri's automated criminal history site.

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

Rehabilitation counselors moving to Missouri from another state may apply for licensure in Missouri. They fill out the same application form as in-state candidates, checking the reciprocity box on the first page.

Out-of-state licensees must pass the NCE and complete the required supervision hours. They can confirm their past experiences through the verification of post-degree experience form, or their previous state board can send their license information.

Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

Vocational and guidance counselors need to renew their LPC licenses every two years. During this time, they must complete 40 hours of continuing education. This requirement can include 20 hours of formal instruction and 20 hours of self study.

Missouri vocational and guidance counselors need to renew their LPC licenses every two years

Missouri allows vocational counselors to participate in continuing education from many sources, including taking courses from accredited universities and attending workshops, conferences, and training sessions from professional organizations. They may also receive continuing education credit by teaching and contributing to academic journals, books, and other publications. Counselors can earn self-study credits by reading journals and other publications.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Missouri

Rehabilitation counseling students and professionals benefit from joining professional organizations. Many professional organizations offer continuing education, professional development, and networking opportunities. Members also benefit from up-to-date news in the field and access to professional discounts and trainings.

  • American Counseling Association of Missouri This organization connects counselors in Missouri through conferences and legislative action. The group sends out a newsletter and keeps a membership directory.
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association ARCA is an organization for counseling practitioners and rehabilitation educators. Members can access research, student chapters, and conferences.
  • Careers in Vocational Rehabilitation Students and recent graduates benefit from this website, which offers an online publication detailing how to find a job in the rehabilitation field. Students can also find scholarship information on this site.
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification Missouri counselors can certify their expertise in rehabilitation by earning a credential from this organization. The commission also publishes research and provides ethics resources to members.
  • Journal of Rehabilitation Published by the National Rehabilitation Association, this academic journal keeps rehabilitation counselors up to date on the latest research in the field, which can count as continuing education hours in Missouri.
  • Missouri Rehabilitation Association With four chapters across the state, MRA hosts an annual conference for Missouri counseling professionals who focus on rehabilitation. Members can network and access resources through the MRA website.
  • National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials This organization publishes instructional and training resources for individuals preparing to become vocational counselors. Visitors can access research, webinars, and grants through the website.
  • The National Council on Independent Living NCIL advocates for people with disabilities to lead self-reliant lives. Vocational counselors can join to connect with other people invested in bettering the lives of disabled people.
  • National Rehabilitation Association This association hosts conferences, publishes a journal, and grants awards to members. It also runs a national job board.
  • Rehabilitation Services for the Blind A division of Missouri's Department of Social Services, this department offers resources for blind people and vocational counselors who help the blind. Professionals can learn how to help their blind clients find jobs and participate in the Business Enterprise Program.
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