Many rehabilitation counselors enjoy great professional satisfaction from helping disadvantaged populations. Rehabilitation counselors, who usually hold national certification along with standard state counseling licensure, help disabled populations, such as veterans and those with substance abuse issues, find employment and personal fulfillment.
In many states, increased demand exists for the special skills, education, and training of rehabilitation counselors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in Oklahoma, 27.3% of adults live with some kind of disability. This figure exceeds the national average of 22.5%. Oklahoma currently needs more rehabilitation counselors to aid the social welfare issues facing its population.
Read on to learn how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Oklahoma. You can explore detailed information on what to expect from a rehabilitation counselor career in Oklahoma with respect to education, licensing, and licensing renewal requirements, along with a list of helpful resources for pursuing an Oklahoma counseling career.
Counseling License and Career Requirements in OklahomaExplore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Oklahoma here
Education and Experience Requirements
Oklahoma maintains high standards for behavioral healthcare through its rigorous requirements for counselor education and experience. Oklahoma rehabilitation counselors complete a higher-than-average amount of counseling-related graduate coursework and undergo several years' experience to earn licensure. Continue reading for detailed information on how Oklahoma's counselor requirements advance the profession.
Education and Coursework
Candidates for counseling licensure must present a master's degree or higher in counseling or an equivalent mental health-related major. Licensure requires a total of 60 semester credits of coursework. Out of these 60 credits, there are some content area specifications. Program curriculum must include two courses in counseling theory/technique and two in assessment/appraisal. The state requires one completed course for each of the following content areas: human growth and development, abnormal behavior, professional orientation, and research.
Candidates for counseling licensure must present a master's degree or higher in counseling or an equivalent mental health-related major
Fulfilling the research requirement can entail a thesis project or coursework in statistics. Candidates must also complete a practicum involving both classroom and field experiences. They should also take at least five three-semester credit courses from the 15 approved content areas. Rehabilitation counseling falls under the umbrella of approved content areas, along with topics like group work, human sexuality, and addictions counseling.
The state allows candidates to earn their remaining credits in increments of 1-3-credit courses. The Oklahoma State Department of Health website features a checklist for candidates to determine if they have fulfilled all requirements. A variety of in-state programs hold pre-approved status and offer curricula that meets state requirements, including those at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and The University of Oklahoma.
Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:
Practicum and Internship
The practicum that candidates complete as part of their master's must entail 300 clock hours of counseling experience. Post-graduation, licensure candidates earn 3,000 hours of supervised experience over three years. For every 1,000 hours of experience, 350 must occur in a face-to-face context. Candidates undergo regular evaluations and must submit documentation over the process.
Application and Exam Requirements for Oklahoma Rehabilitation Counselors
Oklahoman counselors become licensed through the State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure. Only one form of licensure exists for rehabilitation counselors in Oklahoma: the licensed professional counselor (LPC) credential. Candidates complete all graduate-level educational requirements and receive state approval. They then submit an eligibility letter and registration form to the National Board for Certified Counselors, along with a $195 fee to take the National Counselor Exam (NCE).
Only one form of licensure exists for rehabilitation counselors in Oklahoma: the licensed professional counselor (LPC) credential
You can take the 200-question, multiple-choice formatted exam at any Pearson VUE testing center and generally receive three hours and 45 minutes to finish it. Many testing centers are near major cities, such as Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Norman.
After passing the NCE exam, you must take a state jurisprudence examination at a Health Certification Project site. The Oklahoma Legal and Ethical Responsibilities Examination covers LPC state regulations and costs $45. You get one hour to complete the test, and an 80% score counts as a passing grade. The license application requires a $145 fee and the inclusion of a criminal background check, transcripts, and verification for the practicum/internship and LPC supervision. Candidates can voluntarily pursue national certified rehabilitation counselor certification from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.
Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates
Rehabilitation counselors with active licenses from another jurisdiction can receive Oklahoma LPC licensure by endorsement. For full endorsement, candidates need a master's degree from a regionally accredited school that fulfills LPC requirements, a passing grade on the NCE or equivalent test, and a passing grade on the Oklahoma ethics exam. The state may issue a two-year temporary license to applicants who need time to fulfill any one of these requirements for full endorsement. For a temporary license, you need to have worked as a counselor for the past five years, passed the NCE exam, and maintained good standing on your counseling license.
Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements
Counselors in Oklahoma renew their LPC license annually on June 30. Renewal costs $80. The state expects licensees to accrue at least 20 hours of continuing education by the time of renewal, which includes three hours of face-to-face, pre-approved counseling ethics education. Licensees may take up to 10 hours of continuing education in pre-approved home study or technology-assisted education, such as online learning per renewal cycle. The state maintains lists of pre-approved continuing education providers online. If you miss the renewal deadline, you must submit proof of fulfilling continuing education requirements and pay a $25 late fee along with the standard renewal fee.
Counselors in Oklahoma renew their LPC license annually on June 30
Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Oklahoma
When you begin working as a licensed counselor, it's helpful to learn from experienced colleagues in your field. Professionals need to know where to access continuing education to keep up with license renewal requirements, including those below.
- A Chance to Change Foundation This foundation specializes in mental health and addiction-related counseling services. The organization's continuing education series covers topics in family dynamics, integrative treatment, and trauma awareness.
- Access to Counseling This outpatient clinic offers mental health services like family, mental health, and addiction counseling. The agency, a division of Generations Community Services, also offers state-approved continuing education courses for professionals.
- Counseling & Recovery Services of Oklahoma This group provides behavioral health and substance abuse rehabilitation services that focus on understanding the cause and impact of trauma. The sanctuary community features plentiful community involvement and employment opportunities.
- Covenant Youth & Family Services This group uses a holistic approach in treating clients. Professionals enjoy the benefits of the agency's numerous continuing education courses on topics like post-traumatic stress disorder.
- NorthCare This agency offers behavioral health services for Oklahomans dealing with substance abuse, trauma, and mental health issues. The organization offers courses on topics in substance abuse rehabilitation and family counseling theory for continuing education credit.
- Oklahoma Counseling Association One of the state's largest organizations for counseling professionals, this association advocates for mental health workers through continuing education units, professional legislative liaisons, and an annual conference.
- Oklahoma Mental Health Counseling Association This association promotes the counseling profession in Oklahoma through events, such as a summer conference which allows professionals to network and seek continuing education. Membership candidates must first present OCA membership for consideration.
- Oklahoma Rehabilitation Association This association advocates for rehabilitation counselors with work in vocational rehabilitation programs in the public and private sectors. Members can take advantage of an annual conference and the national rehabilitation training conference.
- OUHSC - OU Health Sciences Center The University of Oklahoma's Health Sciences Center offers professionals opportunities for employment, continuing education credit, and research participation. Courses cover topics like adolescent substance abuse disorders and family recovery.
- Quantum Units Education One of the leading providers of continuing education units, Quantum Units Education's counseling-related courses provide continuing education credit in the state.