How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Rhode Island

Rehabilitation counselors have excellent prospects for employment in Rhode Island. One of the top-paying states for the occupation in the United States, Rhode Island employers pay rehabilitation counselors an annual mean salary of $57,430 — more than $20,000 higher than the national average for the profession.

Rehabilitation counselors in Rhode Island can earn credentials through multiple pathways, including state certification as qualified rehabilitation counselors (QRC) or state licensure as licensed mental health counselors (LMHC). State employees who meet specific education and experience requirements can work as non-credentialed rehabilitation counselors.

This guide explains what it takes to become a rehabilitation counselor in Rhode Island. It covers education, experience, and exam requirements; licensure application and renewal processes; and how to transfer an out-of-state counseling license to Rhode Island. Read on to learn more about how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Rhode Island.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Rhode Island

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Rhode Island here

Education and Experience Requirements

All rehabilitation counselors in Rhode Island must meet the Rhode Island counselor board's requirements for education and experience. These requirements vary depending on what type of credential the counselor earns. In the next section, we discuss the available degree types, coursework, and internships for individuals aspiring to become counselors in Rhode Island.

Education and Coursework

Counseling education requirements for rehabilitation counselors in Rhode Island vary. The state does not offer a professional license specific to rehabilitation counselors. Instead, rehabilitation counselors can choose from several credentialing options. Rehabilitation counselors in Rhode Island need at least a bachelor's degree, and many opportunities require a master's degree.

Rehabilitation counselors in Rhode Island need at least a bachelor's degree, and many opportunities require a master's degree

Employment as a rehabilitation counselor in Rhode Island does not require a credential. State employees working in rehabilitation counseling must meet education requirements instead, which vary by job classification. A bachelor's degree may suffice for entry-level positions, but jobs with the state may require a master's.

Counselors seeking the certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) credential from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification need a master's degree. Eligible CRC candidates must hold a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or clinical rehabilitation counseling from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Applicants holding non-accredited master's degrees or master's degrees in related fields also qualify for the CRC, but they must complete additional requirements.

Rehabilitation counselors can also seek the state's LMHC license. Requirements for this license go beyond those required for most rehabilitation counselor jobs. LMHCs must hold a 60-credit master's degree from a CACREP-accredited program or its equivalent.

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

Practicum and Internship

LMHCs must complete an internship and practicum in their CACREP-accredited program. Alternatively, LMHCs can complete 12 credits of a supervised practicum and a one-year supervised internship that meets at least 20 hours per week. CRCs also need to complete experiential work requirements. Specific requirements vary depending on applicants' educational backgrounds.

Application and Exam Requirements for Rhode Island Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation counselors in Rhode Island seeking licensure or certification must pass an exam and submit completed applications and supplementary materials demonstrating they meet eligibility requirements. The licensure and certification process for counselors differs between specializations. As mentioned earlier, Rhode Island does not offer a state license or certification specifically for rehabilitation counselors. Instead, they can apply for state LMHC licensure or pursue CRC certification.

The Rhode Island Board of Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapistslicenses counselors in the state. In addition to education and experience requirements, LMHCs must pass the national clinical mental health counseling examination (NCMHCE) from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). LMHC applicants must submit the following items:

  • Completed application with cover page
  • Application fee (check or money order)
  • Official transcripts (with CACREP accreditation, if applicable)
  • NCMHCE score sent directly from the NBCC
  • Statement of supervised practice
  • License verifications from other states, if applicable
  • Proof of military service, if applicable

CRC applicants must pass the CRC exam. Additional requirements vary depending on the applicant's educational background. CRC applicants must submit:

  • Proof of completion of an internship
  • Official transcripts
  • Documentation of specific coursework

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

Counselors who hold licensure in another state can apply for a Rhode Island license. The Rhode Island counselor board accepts endorsements for the LMHC license. Applicants must complete the application for a license as a mental health counselor by endorsement.

Rhode Island requires applicants to send license verifications from other states directly from those states using the interstate verification form. Applicants must also demonstrate completion of graduate coursework in Rhode Island's required content areas.

Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

LMHCs in Rhode Island must renew their licenses every two years. All licenses expire on July 1 of the next even-numbered year following initial licensure. The state offers online renewal and sends out renewal notices 60 days before licenses expire.

LMHCs in Rhode Island must renew their licenses every two years

To qualify for renewal, the Rhode Island counselor board requires LMHCs to complete 40 hours of continuing education — 20 each year. This must include at least 20 hours of formal continuing education classes.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Rhode Island

The following section contains resources and organizations useful for Rhode Island counseling students and professionals. It includes a selection of state and national organizations that deal with rehabilitation counseling. Use this list to find job openings, licensure and certification requirements, networking opportunities, and toolkits for practice.

  • A Consumer's Guide to Rhode Island State Vocational Rehabilitation Services This guide from the Rhode Island Disability Law Center includes information about accessing state vocational rehabilitation services. It explains rehabilitation services from a client's perspective.
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association ARCA provides leadership in the rehabilitation counseling profession. Its mission includes promotion of best practices that help people with disabilities navigate their lives successfully.
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification CRCC runs the CRC certification program for professional rehabilitation counselors. The voluntary credentialing program requires applicants to pass an exam and meet other education and experience requirements.
  • National Rehabilitation Association NRA advocates for individuals with disabilities and the people who work with them. The association publishes the Journal of Rehabilitation, boasts regional chapters, and maintains a job postings center.
  • Rehabilitation Counselors Occupational Outlook The BLS provides occupational outlook information for the rehabilitation counselor profession. This includes median pay, state and area information, and descriptions of a typical day on the job.
  • Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council RIDCC advocates for people with disabilities in Rhode Island. The governor appoints councilmembers, most of whom are people with disabilities or family members of people with disabilities.
  • Rhode Island Mental Health Counselors Association RIMHCA represents licensed mental health counselors in Rhode Island. The association offers continuing education opportunities, a job board, and information about licensure in the state.
  • Rhode Island Office of Rehabilitation Services ORS runs a vocational rehabilitation program that employs rehabilitation counselors to help people with disabilities find jobs in Rhode Island. This website explains how the program works and includes many other related resources.
  • Rhode Island Rehabilitation Association RIRA brings together rehabilitation professionals, including rehabilitation counselors and educators, job placement specialists, and independent living instructors. Members enjoy access to networking opportunities and professional resources.
  • Rhode Island Vocational Rehabilitation Program Students can find Rhode Island's rules and regulations governing its vocational rehabilitation program here. This includes an explanation of rehabilitation counselors' role in the program.

Explore More Pathways to Becoming a Counselor in Rhode Island

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