How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Ohio

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for rehabilitation counselors continues to grow across the nation. The demand for professionals who can help individuals with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities currently outpaces many other occupations.BLS data projects that the field will add 15,000 new jobs between 2016 and 2026 — faster than average.

This data extends to guidance counselors in Ohio. Rehabilitation counselor jobs in the Buckeye State enjoy wages higher than the national average. Many people find Ohio counseling gratifying because it presents opportunities to spend workdays helping others and making a real difference in people's lives.

In the pages that follow, you will learn how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Ohio. This guide explores educational requirements, testing needed for certification or licensure, and places to turn for help and professional guidance in this rewarding career.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Ohio

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Ohio here

Education and Experience Requirements

Licensing standards for rehabilitation counselors vary from state to state. The following section covers academic and work experience requirements for Ohio, which mirror those of many other states. You'll learn the degrees necessary and the types of coursework, internships, and experience hours you'll need to get started in Ohio counseling.

Education and Coursework

Learning how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Ohio starts with earning a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or clinical rehabilitation counseling. There are two paths to a position as a rehabilitation counselor in Ohio. One includes licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and the other requires certification through the Commission on Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRC).

The simplest path to licensure starts with graduating from a school accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). From there, you can step into the licensed professional counselor testing phase without any hitches. Ohio does recognize programs not accredited by CACREP, but graduates of these programs must provide additional documentation.

Graduates of CACREP-accredited master's programs also find it easier to gain certification through the CRC process. They must show that they completed 600 supervised internship hours to gain eligibility to sit for the CRC exam. Graduates of other programs must show that their school held accreditation from an agency approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The program must span at least 48 credits and include the following courses:

  • Assessment
  • Professional orientation and ethics in rehabilitation counseling
  • Career development theories and job development and placement techniques
  • Case management and community partnerships
  • Theories and techniques of counseling
  • Research, methodology, and performance management
  • Medical and psychosocial aspects of disabilities

Graduates of non-CACREP programs must also complete an internship of 600 hours under a CRC-certified supervisor and a practicum of at least another 100 hours. The practicum must include 40 hours of direct counseling work with people with disabilities.

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

Practicum and Internship

Whether you become a licensed professional counselor or a certified rehabilitation counselor in Ohio, you need to do an internship. CACREP programs require students to complete both an internship and a practicum. Ohio imposes the same internship and practicum requirements on graduates of non-CACREP programs. No matter where you attend school, you must meet the following requirements:

  • An internship of 600 clock hours, with 240 hours of direct service with clients with disabilities
  • A practicum of 100+ hours across a semester (minimum 10 weeks), including at least 40 hours of direct service with clients

Application and Exam Requirements for Ohio Rehabilitation Counselors

Once you meet all educational requirements for certification or licensure, you can apply to sit for the appropriate exam. CRC administers the certified rehabilitation counselor exam three times a year at more than 300 sites across the country. The computer-based test consists of 175 questions and takes 3.5 hours. You can register online at the CRC website. You must submit educational transcripts, proof of work experience, and a $410 registration fee to register.

Candidates with a passing test score must email their results to the Ohio's Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board

For the LPC exam, the first step includes submission of an online request to take the national counselor examination. Once you receive approval from the board, you have six months to take the exam.

Applicants register for the exam at CCE Global. You must pay $275 upon registration and select the time and date that works for you. Pearson administers the test; you can find out more about what it entails by visiting the Pearson website. The four-hour tests typically take place Monday through Saturday, during the first two full weeks of the month.

Candidates with a passing test score must email their results to the Ohio's Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. The Ohio counselor board's website contains all the details.

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

If you worked in another state as a rehabilitation counselor, Ohio makes it relatively straightforward to relicense in the Buckeye State. Ohio uses the national counselor exam in its licensing process; because the exam is nationally recognized, you will not need to retest to apply for an Ohio license. The same holds true for the certified rehabilitation counselor credential.

Counselors with more than five years of work experience in other states can often move their licenses to Ohio with very little difficulty. The process requires submission of relevant documents. Ohio also holds a reciprocity agreement with Kentucky, making it especially easy for residents of that state to transfer their licenses to Ohio.

Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

Counseling licenses in Ohio remain active for two years. After that, counselors must renew, and Ohio makes it easy to do so online.

Counseling licenses in Ohio remain active for two years

Renewal involves updating personal and professional information and paying the licensing fee, after which licensees receive a new certificate. Counselors in Ohio must complete thirty hours or more of approved continuing education to keep their licenses current. Those who allow their licenses to lapse can restore them within two years without having to retest. They will also need to show proof of continued education and pay the same renewal fee.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Ohio

Becoming a counselor in Ohio takes substantial time and effort. Many organizations offer help and resources that can make it easier. These include professional associations, government agencies, and educational outlets. The benefits of joining one of the organizations listed below include opportunities for mentoring, advocacy, and networking, and access to job development and continuing education services.

  • Brain Injury Association of Ohio A statewide education and advocacy organization, BIAO works to prevent future brain injuries and help those who suffer from this increasingly common ailment. The association's site provides a wealth of information and links for patients and rehabilitation counselors.
  • Central Ohio Counseling Association A chapter of the Ohio Counseling Association, COCA serves rehabilitation counselors in the Columbus area. The organization connects Central Ohio professionals, offering advocacy, networking, and educational opportunities.
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification A national organization based in Illinois, CRC oversees professional standards in counseling. It also runs the nationally accredited certified rehabilitation counselor program — one of the largest credentialing programs in the field.
  • Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board The official state of Ohio counseling board's page brims with information on counseling requirements, licensing, and renewals. It even includes exam guides to help with passing the necessary tests.
  • Eastern Ohio Counseling Association An excellent resource for rehabilitation counselors in the right half of Ohio, EOCA offers professional development opportunities, self-care for counselors, and networking and service opportunities.
  • E-License Ohio Professional Licensure Counseling candidates can register to take licensing exams here. The site also features a registration guide and a verification option that allows the public to look up the licenses of service providers.
  • Institute for Training and Development A program of the Talbert House, a private social services organization in southern Ohio, the ITD offers accredited continuing education opportunities. Both the state of Ohio's counselor board and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) approve the institute's programming.
  • National Association of Social Workers Ohio Chapter The Buckeye chapter of the largest professional organization devoted to social work offers a great resource for information and camaraderie. The association sponsors advocacy work, insurance, legal help, continuing education, and professional development.
  • Ohio Counseling Association Representing counselors in the Buckeye State, OCA offers a host of services, including continuing education courses, events, online discussions, and help with insurance and grants.
  • Ohio Health Care Association As a nonprofit dedicated to providing care to Ohioans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, OHCA serves information and education to counselors and caregivers. It also serves as a local affiliate for the American Health Care Association.

Explore More Pathways to Becoming a Counselor in Ohio

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