Rehabilitation Counselor Requirements and Options in Rhode Island

Rhode Island rehabilitation counselors have multiple credentialing options. A rehabilitation counselor with a foundation in clinical rehabilitation counseling can be licensed as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC).

Among the other opportunities are state employment and state certification as a Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor. Some opportunities exist at the bachelor's level; there are additional opportunities at the master's level.

Select a Rhode Island Rehabilitation Counselor Topic:

Rehabilitation Counselor/LCMHC Education Requirements

Graduate education is the foundation for licensure as an LCMHC. The Rhode Island Department of Health will accept either a mental health counseling degree or a master's degree in a closely related field (if additional coursework is taken).

The following coursework is mandated:

  • Counseling theory and helping relationships: 9 credits
  • Social and cultural foundations: 3 credits
  • Human growth and development: 3 credits
  • Lifestyle and career development: 3 credits
  • Groups: 3 credits
  • Appraisal: 3 credits
  • Professional orientation: 3 credits
  • Research and program development: 3 credits

The Department also requires 12 semester hours of practicum and a year of internship.

The Department notes that the remaining credits may include courses in a specialization; interdisciplinary coursework may also be credited.

The Rhode Island Board does not mandate a particular programmatic accreditation, though different accreditations may further different career goals. The main accrediting institution for rehabilitation counseling is the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). CORE expects accredited programs that do not include all required coursework for licensing in their home state to, at minimum, provide information about the additional coursework and where it can be obtained. Currently, there are in-state opportunities to take either a 48 semester hour rehabilitation counseling program or a 60 semester hour license-qualifying mental health and rehabilitation counseling program.

Additional LCMHC Requirements

In order to be licensed, a counselor must complete two years of experience. Experience must be subsequent to the granting of a degree at the master's level or higher. The experience is to include at least 2,000 client contact hours. There is to be an emphasis on mental health.

Prospective licensees take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). The NCMHCE is administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. Rhode Island candidates submit their license applications to the Rhode Island Department of Health and wait for eligibility to be determined before registering with the NBCC. The NBCC has provided an information page specific to Rhode Island (

The registration fee is currently $195. The candidate will wait for an ATT before scheduling a computerized testing session through Pearson VUE. There is one Rhode Island assessment center, located in Warwick. However, candidates may opt to test in other states. There are monthly testing windows. An individual who takes the NCMHCE as a Rhode Island candidate can expected results to be sent to the Rhode Island Board.

The License Application Process and Forms

License application packets are available from the Department of Health (

The applicant must provide official transcripts.

The supervisor will complete the verification form and include a resume to verify his or her own credentials.

The Department will also require two statements verifying the applicant’s moral character.

The application must be notarized. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $70.

Out-of-state counselors are directed to have each state of licensure, past or present, verify licensure.

An out-of-state licensee can be licensed by endorsement if the Department determines the other state has requirements that are at least equivalent.

Other Rehabilitation Counseling Credentialing Options

There are multiple paths to state employment as a rehabilitation counselor. The Rhode Island Department of Human Resources uses various classifications, including Rehabilitation Counselor, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor I and II, and Senior Rehabilitation Counselor. At the higher levels, expectations include experience as well as graduate education in rehabilitation counseling. Job classifications are not licenses or certifications; meeting standards does not, in itself, grant a credential.

There are also multiple paths to state certification as a Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor. Qualification can be earned through national certification, education, or, in some cases, experience.

A graduate can be registered as a Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor Intern if educational requirements have been met, but the individual is not yet eligible for the QRC. The intern will need to have a plan in place for meeting certification requirements.

A master's degree is qualifying, provided the professional also accrues a year of rehabilitation counseling experience. The master's does not necessarily have to be in rehabilitation counseling per se but may be in an allied field such as guidance and counseling, psychology, social work, or occupational therapy.

The Department of Labor and Training will also accept various third party certifications as evidence that requirements have been met. Not all require a master’s. However, not all are currently available to new applicants. The most recent applications lists the following:

  • Certified Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Certified Insurance Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Certified Vocational Evaluator
  • Certified Case Manager
  • Certified Disability Management Specialist

The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential, offered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), is master’s level. The master's does not have to be in rehabilitation counseling; however, those who hold master’s degrees in other qualifying fields will face longer work experience requirements. Students who attend CORE-accredited programs may be found examination-eligible before graduation. Those who hold master's in counseling or related fields must pursue coursework related to disability and occupational assessment and placement (

A nurse can be found eligible on the basis of the Certified Rehabilitation Nurse (CRRN) credential, provided he or she also has a year of relevant experience.

The Department will also accept qualifying employment with either of the following: the State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation or the Dr. John E. Donley Rehabilitation Center.

Applications are available from the Department of Labor and Training ( There is a $50 fee application fee.

Additional Information

Information on licensure is available from the Rhode Island Department of Health ( The licensing agency can be reached at (401) 222-2828.

Information on state certification is available from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training ( Individuals who need further information may call (401) 243-1237 or (401) 243-1222. Additional contact information is available online.

Information about state job classifications is available from the Division of Human Resources (

Professional organizations include the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals-New England ( and the Rhode Island Rehabilitation Association (

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