How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Nebraska

Rehabilitation counselors help individuals coping with disabilities to live more independent lives. These counselors help with people adjusting to their disabilities to deal with the personal, social, or psychosocial effects related to their specific impairments.

A rehabilitation counselor works with clients at various stages of life, including students getting ready to transition into adulthood and wounded military veterans re-entering civilian life. Also, as the elderly population in the U.S. grows, so too will the need for rehabilitation counselors who can help individuals adjust to new limitations and the barriers related to age.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the rehabilitation counselor profession to grow by 13% between 2016 and 2026. An aging population will significantly contribute to this faster-than-average rate, with vocational rehabilitation services, along with individual and family care, likely continuing as industries with high levels of employment.

Read on for an overview of how to become a professional counselor — specifically how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Nebraska — including the education and experience requirements needed to obtain licensure.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Nebraksa

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Nebraksa here

Education and Experience Requirements

This section details the education requirements and specific coursework needed to become a certified rehabilitation counselor in Nebraska, including the minimum level of degree attainment and what the state requires for proof of competency. Prospective counseling students can also read up on practicum requirements in a typical counseling degree curriculum.

Education and Coursework

Each Nebraska certified counselor must obtain a mental health practitioner license, then apply for counseling certification. To become a licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP) or a licensed independent mental health practitioner (LIMHP), an individual must hold a graduate degree.

The Department of Health and Human Services/Division of Public Health approves of counseling programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

To become a licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP) or a licensed independent mental health practitioner (LIMHP), an individual must hold a graduate degree

CACREP standards require that graduate programs include core counseling coursework in eight curricular areas, including ethical practice, social/cultural diversity, human growth and development, assessment and testing, research and program evaluation, group work, and career development. Accredited programs must also include a practicum or internship component of 300 hours.

Meanwhile, a counseling program without CACREP accreditation but from a regionally accredited school must include at least three semester hours in counseling theory and three semester hours in at least five of the eight CACREP areas noted above. Once they gain their full license, a LMHPs or LIMHPs can apply for a counseling certificate. In Nebraska, an associated counseling certificate means that a mental health practitioner can also use the title licensed professional counselor (LPC) and provide such services.

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

Practicum and Internship

Each Nebraska counseling program must also include a practicum or internship, and the state outlines different criteria for students who graduated before or after September 1, 1995.

Individuals who graduated before September 1, 1995, must verify that the practicum or internship was from an approved educational program. For individuals who completed the experience after September 1, 1995, they must provide proof that the program included 300 hours of direct client contact, of which 150 was face-to-face in a work setting.

Application and Exam Requirements for Nebraska Rehabilitation Counselors

The process of becoming a rehabilitation counselor in Nebraska begins with obtaining licensure as a mental health practitioner. The LMHP and LIMHP licenses require 3,000 hours of post-master's supervised work experience in professional counseling, of which 1,500 must be in direct contact hours. To accrue these hours, each aspiring certified professional counselor (CPCs) must obtain a provisional license (PLMHP).

Future counselors must also pass one of two National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) exams: the national counselor exam (NCE) or the national clinical mental health counselor exam (NCMHCE)

Every candidate must work toward the 3,000 experience hours as defined in 172 NAC 94-002 and only after graduating from an accredited master's program. Also, license seekers must earn the hours during the five years preceding their applications for LMPH or LIMPH certification.

Future counselors must also pass one of two National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) exams: the national counselor exam (NCE) or the national clinical mental health counselor exam (NCMHCE).

To sit for an NBCC exam, a candidate must submit a request to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Applicants should hear back from the DHHS within 30 days.

Fees for LMHP/LIMHP licensure and CPC certification are as follows, with a lower fee available if applying in March through August during an even-numbered year:

Licensure & Certification Fees
$205 or $63.75 (e.g., March-August 2020)
$155 or $38.75 (e.g., March-August 2022)
$50 or $25 (e.g., March-August 2024)

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

A licensed out-of-state professional wondering how to become a counselor in Nebraska will need to meet reciprocity requirements. Nebraska recognizes two paths: one year of practice or five years of practice. Both paths require that applicants verify their credentials. They also must meet Nebraska's requirements for LMPH or LIMPH licensure and CPC certification.

Applicants with an active license and proof of continuous practice for at least one year in their jurisdiction can apply through reciprocity. Similarly, a counseling professional who does not meet the one-year requirement, but who practiced for at least five years following initial licensure in their state, can apply. A five-year applicant must also pass the Nebraska jurisprudence exam.

Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

License renewal for Nebraska mental health professionals follows a biennial schedule, expiring on September 1 of even-numbered years. During the intervening years between renewal, LMPH and LIMPH licensees must earn 32 continuing education credits, with two of them related to mental health ethics.

License renewal for Nebraska mental health professionals follows a biennial schedule, expiring on September 1 of even-numbered years

Certified professional counselors do not need to earn additional credits to renew. The cost for renewal varies depending on the license. However, late fees are the same: $25 if filed within 30 days of the expiration date, $35 if not more than a year after the deadline, and $75 if more than one year after the date of license revocation.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Nebraska

The resources below, including local and national associations, organizations, and advocacy groups, can help students learn more about how to become a rehabilitation counselor and what it takes to grow professionally. For example, professional organizations offer members various benefits, including exclusive scholarships, mentoring, career services, continuing education workshops, and networking opportunities.

  • American Counseling Association ACA works to grow and enhance the counseling profession. The nonprofit organization supports 19 divisions and 56 chartered branches in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. Student benefits include internships, career guidance, and next-level learning.
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association Rehabilitation counselors, students, and educators comprise the membership of ARCA, which aims to enhance the development of individuals with disabilities further advance the rehabilitation counseling profession.
  • Arc of Nebraska This nonprofit provides advocacy for people and families living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Membership in Nebraska exceeds 1,500, with levels including self-advocate, supporter ally, and family members.
  • Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska By developing a skilled workforce, BHECN aims to improve access to behavioral healthcare in Nebraska. The organization recruits and educates students interested in the behavioral health disciplines and trains professionals already working in the field.
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification Through its internationally recognized certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) certification program, CRCC helps to set the standard for competent delivery of rehabilitation counseling in the U.S.
  • National Council on Rehabilitation Education Formed in 1955, NCRE represents over 100 institutions of higher education and 450 members. The organization aims to establish a standard of quality service for the rehabilitation counseling profession and in supporting those with disabilities.
  • National Rehabilitation Association Counselors, educators, researchers, and diverse agents of community integration are among the members of this association. The NRA works on behalf of individuals with disabilities to impact and improve conditions across society. It also advocates for up-to-date education and training in the field.
  • Nebraska Counseling Association NCA welcomes counseling and human development professionals, students, and retirees in Nebraska. Members gain access to exclusive areas of the site, leadership and advocacy opportunities, and discounts to the fall conference.
  • Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services This page gathers all of the state licensing information that a Nebraska counselor, social worker, or mental health practitioner needs to apply for an initial license, renew an active one, or request reinstatement.
  • Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities The Council reviews and awards funding for state projects that help reverse historical bias against people who live with disabilities in Nebraska. It focuses on five goals: independence, productivity, inclusion, integration, and self-determination.

Explore More Pathways to Becoming a Counselor in Nebraksa

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