How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in North Dakota

North Dakota features a robust counseling industry; in fact, the North Dakota Workforce Intelligence Network projects a 20% growth in counseling jobs through 2020. If you are eager to help those with disabilities, earning your rehabilitation counseling licensure could lead to a rewarding career and a competitive salary.

Although some exemptions apply, most North Dakota rehabilitation counselors must earn Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensure from the North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners (NDBCE). The LPC, a professional license, differs from the mental health specialization license, which is the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC).

While earning the LPC, qualified candidates earn the status of Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC). Some LPC's may pursue additional clinical licensure, or certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), a credential granted by the Commission of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), a nongovernmental entity.

This guide details the education and experience North Dakota rehabilitation counselors need in order to obtain licensure in this growing field.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in North Dakota

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in North Dakota here

Education and Experience Requirements

North Dakota's education and experience requirements for rehabilitation counseling professionals vary by licensure. However, all candidates are required to complete an accredited, relevant master's degree, which includes 60 or more semester hours of relevant coursework in topics such as clinical counseling, assessment, and abnormal psychology. Licensure candidates also need at least 700 supervised practice hours from a clinical practicum or internship.

Education and Coursework

Those seeking a rehabilitation counseling education and career as an LAPC, LPC, or LPCC must complete an accredited master's degree in counseling, counseling education, counseling and development, or counseling and guidance.

rehabilitation counseler candidates must complete an accredited master's degree in counseling, counseling education, counseling and development, or counseling and guidance

The master's degree must include at least 60 semester credits in the following core counseling topics: group counseling, cultural and social foundations, human growth and development, counseling theories, research methods or statistics, counseling methods, testing or individual appraisal, career and lifestyle development, professional orientation and ethics, and practicum or internship. A minimum of three credits must relate to professional orientation and ethics, including the ACA Code of Ethics.

Those holding master's or doctorate degree not accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education must accumulate additional supervised work experience before completing the licensure examination and application. Consult the CRCC's helpful candidate handbook for further details.

Rehabilitation counseling students seeking clinical licensure in addition to rehabilitation counseling licensure may choose a degree program that places dual emphasis on mental health counseling and rehabilitation counseling.

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

Practicum and Internship

The NDBCE specifies practice requirements based on the stage of licensure. Those initially pursuing an LPC receive two years of supervision as an LAPC, during which professionals must accumulate at least 200 client contact hours per year and at least 100 hours of supervision. Supervision must come from a board-certified professional supervisor with whom the LAPC creates and completes a board-approved supervision plan. The plan must include a taping of a clinical session.

The LPC practicum and internship need to add up to at least 700 hours of supervised experience, while those seeking the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) designation need two years (3,000 hours) of post-master's clinical experience.

Application and Exam Requirements for North Dakota Rehabilitation Counselors

North Dakota's state licensing board establishes counseling laws and administrative codes for North Dakota counseling professionals.

North Dakota applicants begin by applying for LAPC licensure, whereas those who already hold its equivalent from another state can apply directly for an LPC license

The board expects LPC's to pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) provided by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). To register for the exam, candidates first submit a fee and an eligibility letter. When the candidate receives approval — usually within four weeks — they take a computer-based exam in Bismarck, Fargo, or at an assessment center in another state within six months.

Those who have previously taken the examination can pay the board an additional $40 to consider their qualifications, along with the LAPC application.

North Dakota applicants begin by applying for LAPC licensure, whereas those who already hold its equivalent from another state can apply directly for an LPC license. Both applications include official transcripts, a letter from a supervisor or director verifying the candidate's practicum or internship hours, an application fee, a notarized affidavit with permission to do a criminal record check, and recommendation letters from the candidate's supervisor, program director, and instructor.

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

Although the NDBCE does not offer rehabilitation counseling licensure by endorsement, out-of-state counselors can apply for reciprocity by providing official transcripts, proof of current licensure from the relevant state, documentation of supervised work experience with evidence of supervisor credentials, and proof of a passing score on the NCE.

Through assessment of these reciprocity application materials, the NDBCE assures that out-of-state rehabilitation counselors meet North Dakota's LPC licensing standards.

Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

North Dakota rehabilitation counseling licenses expire every two years. To renew, counselors must demonstrate 30 continuing education (CE) hours, 10 hours of which pertain to clinical work. Counselors can earn additional CE credits from workshops, leadership, conferences, presentations, seminars, and online courses, subject to approval from the board. All continuing education must be related to the same degree coursework requirements detailed above.

North Dakota rehabilitation counseling licenses expire every two years

The licensure renewal application requires documentation of these CE hours, as well as the counselor's testimony of their ongoing ability to perform counseling duties professionally.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in North Dakota

Professional rehabilitation counselors and students often avail themselves of state and national associations, councils, boards, commissions, and governmental offices designed to assist rehabilitation counselors or their clients. Students can find relevant degree programs, scholarships, internships, and licensure information through these resources.

Consulting or joining these organizations also familiarizes students with rehabilitation counseling best practices, trends, research, events, communities, and employment in the field.

  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association ARCA fosters an online peer network for counseling professionals and students. The association also offers research-based resources, continuing education opportunities, and newsletters. ARCA's student chapters are a useful resource for students and professionals seeking updates on rehabilitation counseling policy, practice, and conferences.
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification Through its Certified Rehabilitation Counselor certification program, the CRCC establishes rehabilitation counseling standards. The largest organization of its kind, the CRCC provides students and new counselors with job opportunities and a wide network of practicing rehabilitation counselors.
  • National Council on Rehabilitation Education The NCRE, a leading organization for rehabilitation counselors, connects professionals and students with relevant academic programs, continuing education, and scholarships. The NCRE also distributes a notable journal in the field, as well as newsletters, a job board, awards, and two annual conferences.
  • National Rehabilitation Association The NRA advocates for people with disabilities by educating the public, supporting research, and promoting leadership in the field. Rehabilitation counseling students and professionals choose from eight membership options based on the division that most applies to their careers. The NRA also publishes the Journal of Rehabilitation.
  • North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners As the state's licensing board, NDBCE determines licensure and renewal requirements, administers licensure examinations, and provides continuing education for counselors. The board also uses various other means to ensure that counselors practice effectively, ethically, and professionally.
  • North Dakota Counseling Association The NDCA performs advocacy and cultivates leadership for rehabilitation counselors in North Dakota. This association also offers professionals in the field an annual conference, a newsletter, awards, grants, and professional development. Students who join the NDCA can apply for its graduate scholarship.
  • North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation First authorized in the Rehabilitation Act of 1978, this division of the North Dakota Department of Human Services helps both employees and employers to solve vocational issues related to disability. The DVR also offers employment opportunities to professionals working in the field of disabilities.
  • North Dakota Mental Health Counselors Association This association was created and maintained by North Dakota mental health professionals, and keeps members abreast of educational and networking opportunities. NDMHCA also does advocacy work, posts relevant research articles, runs a conference, offers, and offers a client referral resource to its members.
  • Psychology Degree Guide This degree guide is particularly useful to prospective rehabilitation counseling students looking for the right academic program. The page provides an overview of rehabilitation counseling programs and a list of featured rehabilitation counseling programs.
  • University of North Dakota: UND's Combined Program in Rehabilitation and Human Services and Counseling offers students the chance to earn both a bachelor's and a master's degree in only five years. This combined program is a good starting place for those without a relevant bachelor's degree, and usually saves aspiring rehabilitation counselors about a year of coursework and tuition.

Explore More Pathways to Becoming a Counselor in North Dakota

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