How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in North Carolina

According to a May 2018 data set from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), North Carolina currently employs around 2,400 rehabilitation counselors who earn a mean annual wage of approximately $40,000. This eclipses the national average for the profession by about $4,000.

The BLS also projects the rehabilitation counselor field to grow by 13% from 2016-2026, outpacing the national average growth rate for all occupations.

This guide covers how to become a rehabilitation counselor in North Carolina, with information on education experience, application requirements for licensing, and professional organizations that can help boost your career.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in North Carolina

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in North Carolina here

Education and Experience Requirements

The following section includes more information about how to become a rehabilitation counselor in North Carolina in terms of education and field experience requirements. Read on to learn more about typical coursework in rehabilitation counselor programs.

Education and Coursework

Prospective rehabilitation counselor professionals do not need an undergraduate degree in any particular field to earn licensure in North Carolina. However, all licensure applicants must earn a master's degree in counseling from a regionally accredited university that meets these specific requirements:

  • Candidates who enrolled in their master's program before July 1, 2009 must complete a program with a minimum curriculum of 48 semester-hours or 72 quarter-hours.
  • Candidates who enrolled in their master's program after June 30, 2009 but before July 1, 2013 must complete a program with a minimum curriculum of 54 semester-hours or 81 quarter-hours.
  • Candidates who enrolled in their master's program after July 1, 2013 must complete a program with a minimum curriculum of 60 semester-hours or 90 quarter-hours.

All applicants for licensure in North Carolina must also complete at least three credits of graduate coursework in these nine areas:

  • Helping Relationships in Counseling
  • Counseling Practicum and Internship
  • Professional Orientation to Counseling
  • Human Growth and Development Theories in Counseling
  • Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling
  • Group Counseling Theories and Processes
  • Career Counseling and Lifestyle Development
  • Assessment in Counseling
  • Research and Program Evaluation

For more information, please consult the hub page for counseling education and careers.


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


Practicum and Internship

All prospective North Carolina rehabilitation counselors must complete a supervised graduate counseling experience in a regionally accredited program of study. Students must complete their supervised practicum experience over the course of an academic term of at least 10 weeks.

Application and Exam Requirements for North Carolina Rehabilitation Counselors

The North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (NCBLPC) oversees all matters related to licensure for rehabilitation counselors throughout North Carolina, including exam and application requirements. The licensure and certification process for rehabilitation counselors differs from that of other counseling professions, such as school counselors.

All applicants must submit transcripts from their master's program to verify the completion of the supervised practicum or internship requirements

In North Carolina, all prospective rehabilitation counselors must fill out an application for licensed professional counselor status through the NCBLPC website before they can practice in the field. Furthermore, all prospective North Carolina rehabilitation counselors must pass the certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) exam with a satisfactory score. The CRC exam costs $385 to take, and students can schedule their exams through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification website.

All applicants must also submit transcripts from their master's program to verify the completion of the supervised practicum or internship requirements and to demonstrate that they hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited university. They must also pass a background check and a licensed professional counselor (LPC) jurisprudence exam before earning licensure.

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

The North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors offers endorsements and licensure reciprocity to practicing out-of-state counselors who meet the following requirements:

  • Either eight years of part-time counseling experience or five years of full-time counseling experience in a professional setting.
  • 2,500 hours of direct contact with clients.
  • An active unsupervised license with good standing as a licensed professional counselor for at least two years in a different state.

Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

In North Carolina, practicing rehabilitation counselors can renew their licensure through the NCBLPC website. All LPC licenses expire on December 31 the year after individual rehabilitation counselors earn them. To renew their licenses, rehabilitation counselors must meet the following continuing education requirements:

  • 40 contact hours of relevant continuing education, except in the case of newly issued licenses, which last less than two years. In these cases, applicants must complete 30 hours of continuing education.
  • At least three contact hours of ethics.
  • The jurisprudence exam counts for five contact hours.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in North Carolina

Professional organizations can help rehabilitation counselors in North Carolina hone their skills and advance in their profession. These resources can provide students, recent graduates, and practicing professionals with services like professional development, continuing education, and networking opportunities.

  • American Counseling Association The main professional organization for all types of counseling nationwide, the American Counseling Association provides advocacy, professional development, access to publications, and a jobs board for its members.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association The American Mental Health Counselors Association provides advocacy and annual events to connect members with other professionals in the field, sparking networking and an exchange of information.
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association The American Rehabilitation Counseling Association serves as the main nationwide organization for the profession. The ARCA provides a newsletter, educational resources, and an annual conference to its members.
  • DrugRehab.com DrugRehab.com publishes articles covering topics like rehabilitation, prevention, and treatment. Rehabilitation counselors can find plenty of useful information on this website to grow their personal knowledge.
  • The National Council on Rehabilitation Education The National Council on Rehabilitation Education advocates for best practices and top standards in rehabilitation education, primarily counting educators among its members.
  • National Rehabilitation Association The National Rehabilitation Association operates local chapters and publishes a peer-reviewed journal with studies that keep readers up-to-date on the best practices in the field.
  • North Carolina Counseling Association A state branch of the American Counseling Association, the North Carolina Counseling Association provides an annual conference with plenty of networking opportunities and a peer-reviewed journal to its members.
  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services: Vocational Rehabilitation Services This official government agency helps North Carolina citizens who live with disabilities to thrive in their professional and daily lives. It offers publications, policies, and answers about various state laws.
  • North Carolina Mental Health Counselors Association A division of the NCCA, the North Carolina Mental Health Counselors Association focuses on community mental health counselors, bringing together professionals and advocates in the field.
  • North Carolina Rehabilitation Association The North Carolina Rehabilitation Association offers advocacy, service, and professional development to its members. Its membership gathers each year at a different location in the Tar Heel State for an annual conference.

Explore More Pathways to Becoming a Counselor in North Carolina

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