Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements in Ohio: How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Ohio

Ohio rehabilitation counselors may draw their authority to practice from organizations at the state or national level. Ohio's professional counseling licensing act states that rehabilitation professionals may be exempted from licensure as professional counselors if they are working under certification by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) or are providing rehabilitation services as described in Chapter 3304 of Ohio Revised Code (; this chapter references Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.

A rehabilitation counselor could, however, be approved to take the professional counseling licensing examination on the basis of having completed a clinical rehabilitation counseling program.

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Rehabilitation Counseling Certification Requirements

Certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) is based on 1) graduate education 2) examination and 3) internship and/ or supervised experience. Professionals may attain CRC certification on the basis of degrees in rehabilitation counseling, counseling, or other related fields. However, experience requirements will vary according to eligibility pathway.

There are two ways one can achieve CRC certification without having any experience beyond internship. The first is to complete a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling through a program accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). Enrollment in a CORE-accredited program can mean having an opportunity to test when in the final stages of the program. The second is to complete a doctoral degree in counseling or rehabilitation counseling that includes a qualifying internship.

With a rehabilitation counseling master's from a program not accredited by CORE, the experience requirement may still be relatively short. With a qualifying internship, the minimum timeframe is 12 months. Without a qualifying internship, it is 24 months.

Experience requirements are higher for individuals with degrees in other counseling disciplines. The length of required experience period depends partly on coursework completed.

Some degrees that do not have “counseling” in the title may be considered counseling degrees. An example would be clinical social work. Graduates with master’s degrees in qualifying non-counseling fields (e.g. social work or special education) will need to complete post-master programs to make themselves certification-eligible; minimum program length is 21 semester hours. The certification guide describes eligibility pathways in detail (

The CRC examination is available three times per year, during eight-day testing windows. Application materials are due several months in advance. The application may be submitted online ( In many cases, the third party documents that are necessary to establish eligibility can also be uploaded to the online system.

The CRC certification process costs $385; $200 can be returned if an individual is found ineligible to test.

CRCs must meet professional standards. However, a past criminal conviction will not necessarily be disqualifying.

State Employment

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VCRs) may be hired directly by the government. CRC certification is one way to demonstrate that one is qualified to work as a VCR. However, it is not mandatory -- a graduate may demonstrate eligibility through education. The degree must be at the master's level; it may be in rehabilitation counseling, counseling, or another human services field such as psychology, sociology, social work, special education, or communication disorders. The vocational rehabilitation counselor will need to take a course in the theories and techniques of counseling. However, he or she may be hired on a probationary basis prior to completing the course.

Additional coursework may be required for higher job classifications. Under current standards, a VCR III will need to have completed at least four classes in approved areas. Approved areas include the following:

  • Counseling services
  • Rehabilitation counseling foundations
  • Case management
  • Career and vocational development
  • Assessment
  • Job development and placement

Rehabilitation counselors can also expect experience requirements at higher job classifications. Ohio job classifications are described on the website of the Ohio Hiring Management System (

Licensing Options for Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation counselors with clinical training may seek state licensure.

The licensing authority has approved counseling programs that are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) under any of four accreditation categories. Among them is clinical rehabilitation counseling. This is a new accreditation offered in partnership between CACREP and CORE. As of 2015, few programs have received the designation (

The Board also has the authority to accept other programs that are found to meet all requirements. The Board website includes instructions for graduates of non-CACREP programs ( The degree must meet the Board’s definition of counseling. In order to meet the requirement, the program must be a “recognizable” entity and must meet core coursework requirements. However, some coursework requirements may be completed post-degree; this would include courses such as clinical psychopathology.

A candidate whose education is found to meet standards will be approved to sit for the National Counselor Examination (NCE), administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (

In order to progress to Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), the counselor must meet additional requirements. He or she will complete a work experience requirement under an approved clinical supervisor. The minimum timeframe for a professional at the master’s level is two years. 1,500 of the required 3,000 hours are to be spent in clinical services. The experience is to include diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. ‘Clinical Resident’ is a designation for LPCs who are completing supervision requirements for clinical licensure. Supervisor evaluation is a part of the licensure process (

Professionals seeking LPCC licensure must also pass an additional NBCC examination, the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).

Applicants typically initiate the process by requesting examination approval. Examination approval forms are available on the Board website (

An applicant must complete an online test of laws and rules ( and have a criminal background check (

The LPC application fee is currently $60.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & Marriage and Family Therapist Board. The Board can be reached by email contact form ( or by telephone at (614) 466-0912.

The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification has provided a summary of Ohio’s new licensing standards and how they impact rehabilitation counselors (

The CRCC can also be reached by email contact form (

Individuals interested in state employment will find information on the website of the Ohio Hiring Management System (

Professional organizations include the Ohio Rehabilitation Association (, the Ohio Counseling Association (, and the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals-Ohio (

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