Rehabilitation counselors help people facing physical, mental, and developmental disabilities to re-integrate with society. These counselors often hold standard counselor licensure in the state they reside and often take special college coursework that prepares them for national certification as a rehabilitation counselor. Their expertise equips them to assist veterans, those with substance abuse issues, and victims of trauma.
In many states reporting large numbers of out-of-work or disabled individuals, these specialized counselors find themselves in high demand. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25.3% of adults in South Carolina experience some form of disability, exceeding the national average of 22.5%. The state's struggles warrant the special skills of rehabilitation counselors.
Read on for in-depth information about what a rehabilitation counselor career in South Carolina entails in terms of education, licensure, and renewal requirements, along with a list of helpful resources for professionals.
Counseling License and Career Requirements in South CarolinaExplore more pathways to becoming a counselor in South Carolina here
Education and Experience Requirements
Education and experience requirements for counselors in South Carolina remain fairly typical. South Carolina counselors must meet high content knowledge standards and can also take on a second practicum before their internship. Read on for details on requirements you need to satisfy to begin your rehabilitation counseling career in South Carolina.
Education and Coursework
Counselors in South Carolina need a master's degree or higher in counseling or a related field to earn licensure. The state recognizes degrees from institutions with accreditation from either a regional accrediting body or the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). The coursework completed for the degree must comprise at least 48 semester credits. The curriculum should cover topics like lifestyle and career development, human growth and development, and psychopathology diagnostics.
Counselors in South Carolina need a master's degree or higher in counseling or a related field to earn licensure
In total, candidates must complete at least three credits of coursework for 10 main content areas, along with at least one practicum, depending on their career plans. The practicum should cover the treatment of serious mental illnesses. One three-credit course cannot satisfy multiple content areas of the required coursework.
The licensure application contains a handy educational checklist for candidates. Candidates with insufficient coursework may complete coursework in required content areas post-degree, a process made easier for distance learners through online courses. Those interested in earning a graduate degree in counseling or completing licensing requirements post-degree online should look to surrounding states, including North Carolina. Currently, no South Carolina schools offer accredited online master's degrees in counseling, though North Carolina's Winston-Salem State University offers an online counseling master's degree.
Interested in pursuing an education in school counseling? Check out the following pages to explore available academic programs by level:
Practicum and Internship
South Carolina counselors complete a 150-hour practicum to prepare for a period of intern licensure. Counselors who want to treat and diagnose mental disorders must complete an additional 600 credit practicum. During their internship, counselors accumulate 1,500 hours of experience, 150 of which must take place under direct supervision.
Application and Exam Requirements for South Carolina Rehabilitation Counselors
South Carolina counselors become licensed through the Board of Examiners at the Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation. Only one form of permanent licensure exists for rehabilitation counselors in the state: the licensed professional counselor (LPC) credential. An LPC first applies for the Board's permission to earn licensure through examination by showing educational and intern experience documentation. If they receive board approval, professionals can earn LPC licensure through either the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), both offered through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). Each exam requires a $195 fee sent directly to the NBCC along with eligibility confirmation and registration forms. You can take the NCE or NCMHCE at one of three Pearson VUE centers in North Charleston, Columbia, or Greenville.
Only one form of permanent licensure exists for rehabilitation counselors in the state: the licensed professional counselor (LPC) credential
The Board outsources some of the application process to the Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE). Candidates must send official transcripts and a $170 check made out to the CCE for the licensure application. Course syllabi and descriptions must accompany transcripts.
After you pass the CCE's initial review, you must then pay a $150 licensing fee to gain approval for licensure. Licensed counselors can also voluntarily pursue national certification as a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) after securing licensure.
Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates
Out-of-state counselors with active licenses can apply for licensure through endorsement in South Carolina. The state requires candidates to submit a detailed log of their supervised experience hours, documentation of your supervisor's license information, and verification of the license along with their application for endorsement.
If your experience hours did not reach South Carolina's requirements, you may hold intern licensure while you accrue the rest of your experience hours. As an intern, you must maintain contact with an experienced clinical supervisor for guidance. If you earned your counseling license in another country, you must apply for endorsement through a third-party organization, such as World Education Sources.
Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements
Counselors in South Carolina renew their licenses every two years after receiving a reminder in the mail. The state requires professional counselors to complete 40 hours of continuing education during the interim, 25 of which must take place in a formal environment. Formal continuing education typically requires face-to-face instruction, but it can also include webinars and online courses as long as they contain a synchronous interactive element. Informal continuing education includes self-study or first-time presentation of a paper or seminar for a professional meeting. Licensees can gain up to five hours of informal credit for a published piece in a referred journal only once.
Counselors in South Carolina renew their licenses every two years
Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in South Carolina
Once you begin working as a rehabilitation counselor, you may benefit from networking with other professionals to expand your knowledge and form purposeful connections. The following list of resources and organizations can come in handy for both recent graduates and seasoned professionals looking to network or access continuing education services.
- American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA) The largest organization for rehabilitation counselors nationwide, ARCA's online amenities for counseling professionals include continuing education courses and an online peer network that can assist with original research.
- At Health At Health stands out as a leading online provider of healthcare-related continuing education. The board accepts continuing education credit from At Health counseling courses, which cover topics in ethics in counseling and trauma informed care.
- Citadel Military College of South Carolina - Continuing Education Department Founded in 1842, Charleston-based Citadel Military College's School of Education holds Board approval as a continuing education provider. Course topics include developmental psychology and career counseling and development.
- Elite Learning Elite Learning provides a range of online continuing education courses for licensed professional counselors on topics like strength-based supervision.
- Prisma Health Prisma Health Counseling offers a variety of health and medical care outpatient services, including behavioral and mental health counseling. Counseling professionals can take advantage of continuing education, fellowship, and volunteer opportunities.
- South Carolina Society of Adlerian Psychology (SCSAP) Founded in 1974, the SCSAP promotes the practice of Adlerian Psychology statewide through events like its annual conference. Counseling professionals should note that courses taken through the SCSAP count for continuing education credit.
- South Carolina Counseling Association (SCCA) Advancing professional development of counselors since 1964, the SCCA provides community outreach, research, and events like an annual conference. The organization also offers online continuing education courses.
- South Carolina State University - Counselor Education Program, Department of Human Services SCSU's counselor education program features a rehabilitation counseling master's program, along with plentiful opportunities for continuing education credit. The Department of Human Services also offers a graduate certificate in orientation and mobility.
- Upstate AHEC Serving healthcare professionals since 2001, the Upstate AHEC nonprofit health center in northwest South Carolina offers continuing education courses and workshops available online and in-person.
- Zur Institute The Zur Institute occupies the forefront of online continuing education courses for mental health professionals. Professionals can browse through an array of courses on unique topics that range from post-traumatic growth to animal-assisted counseling.