How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Vermont

People with disabilities rely on the specialized training and expertise of rehabilitation counselors to help them lead normal lives. Rehabilitation counselors are licensed by each state to provide services to people with mental, physical, developmental, and/or emotional disabilities. These counselors develop treatment plans and help clients build employability skills, find employment, and identify helpful programs and services.

A great need exists for rehabilitation counselors given that approximately one in five people live with a disability in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of rehabilitation counselors to increase by 13% between 2016 and 2026 — much higher than the 7% growth for all jobs in the nation.

In Vermont, there were 440 rehabilitation counselors as of May 2018. These workers earned an annual mean wage of $50,860 — significantly higher than the $39,930 average for this occupation across the nation. Furthermore, Vermont ranks among the top three states in terms of the highest concentration of jobs in this occupation. Individuals interested in pursuing this career in Vermont will need to obtain a master's degree and licensure to practice. This article provides in-depth information about how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Vermont.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Vermont

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Vermont here

Education and Experience Requirements

Each state establishes the education and experience requirements for licensure of rehabilitation counselors. The Vermont Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals grants licensure to rehabilitation counselors in the state. This section outlines the education and practicum requirements candidates need to become rehabilitation counselors in Vermont.

Education and Coursework

Vermont requires individuals to hold a master's degree before they can earn certification in rehabilitation counseling. Candidates seeking licensure apply to the Vermont Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals. Candidates generally begin their education with baccalaureate degrees in fields such as psychology, counseling, or social work, depending on the admission requirements of their target master's program. The board requires 60 semester hours of coursework at the master's level, covering five of seven board-identified areas, such as counseling skills, human growth and development, and treatment modalities.

Vermont requires individuals to hold a master's degree before they can earn certification in rehabilitation counseling

The master's curriculum must delve into counseling theories and techniques, assessment, occupational information, and the medical and psychosocial aspects of disability. Candidates who hold master's degrees in clinical mental health counseling from schools accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) meet the board's standards. Rehabilitation counseling candidates must also hold at least 12 months of experience, with at least six months working with worker's compensation claimants.

Vermont employers may also require the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. To qualify as a CRC, candidates need a 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

Vermont requires clinical licensure candidates to complete a 600-hour internship as part of their master's program, and candidates should hold a combined 700 hours of practicum and internship experiences.

Application and Exam Requirements for Vermont Rehabilitation Counselors

Once licensure candidates obtain their master's from a CACREP-accredited program, they must complete two examinations to qualify for clinical mental health counselor licensure in Vermont: the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). The National Board for Certified Counselors administers both examinations.

Licensure candidates must complete two examinations: the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)

The 200-question, multiple-choice NCE exam covers eight CACREP content areas, although only 160 answers receive a score. Candidates take the exam at a Pearson VUE testing center after submitting a registration form and paying a $275 fee.

The NCMHCE tests a counselor's competencies using 10 clinical mental health counseling cases that cover assessment and diagnosis; counseling and psychotherapy; and administration, consultation, and supervision. The test utilizes a "clinical simulation examination" format in which each simulation outlines a scenario and requires candidates to complete information-gathering and decision-making sections. Candidates can take the test at one of 250 Pearson VUE testing centers around the country.

Once candidates pass the NCMHCE, they must also accrue 3,000 hours of post-master's supervised clinical experience to qualify for licensure; at least 2,000 of these hours must be in direct service work. When a prospective licensee meets all of the licensure criteria stipulated by the Vermont Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals, the candidate submits an application for licensure as a clinical mental health counselor. The application fee is $125.

Out-of-state Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

Applicants may apply for licensure by endorsement if they hold certification or licensure in another state or jurisdiction, their qualifications meet Vermont's requirements, and they remain in good standing in their originating jurisdiction. To qualify, candidates need at least five years of "active practice" as a licensed or certified clinical mental health counselor. Candidates submit an application, information regarding licensure, and scanned copies of the statutes and rules from their state.

Rehabilitation Counselor Licence Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

The renewal process for clinical mental health counselors in Vermont is rather straightforward. Counselors must renew clinical mental health counselor licenses every two years. This requires proof of 40 hours of approved continuing education — including four hours devoted to professional ethics — and payment of a $150 renewal fee.

Counselors in Vermont must renew clinical mental health counselor licenses every two years

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Vermont

This section provides useful resources from state and national organizations for individuals interested in a rehabilitation counseling career. Many of the organizations offer student membership to promote participation at an affordable rate.

  • American Counseling Association The world's largest organization for professional counselors in various specialities, ACA divides membership into four regions, including the North Atlantic region, which represents Vermont. Members receive access to publications, continuing education opportunities, a digital jobs board, and a product and services discount program.
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association ARCA membership encompasses rehabilitation counselors, educators, and students nationwide. Members receive access to newsletters; online peer networking; and professional development, such as conferences, workshops, and trainings.
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs CACREP accredits graduate counseling programs in specialties such as rehabilitation counseling. Its website provides a wealth of information about how to choose an accredited program and obtain licensure after you graduate.
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation This state website serves Vermonters with disabilities, employers, and those who work on behalf of the disabled. The site provides information about programs and services, including employment data, assisted technology, and resources for law and advocacy.
  • International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals - New England This association represents six states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. A primary goal of IARP is to provide education, professional development, and networking opportunities to rehabilitation professionals in these states.
  • National Board for Certified Counselors NBCC administers the two tests — the NCE and NCMHCE — required for clinical mental health counselor licensure in Vermont. NBCC provides a wealth of licensure and continuing education information broken down by state.
  • National Rehabilitation Counseling Association NRCA members engage in research, scholarship, and best practices development. The membership comprises rehabilitation counselors, researchers, educators, and students. Members receive access to the Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling and can participate in professional development through seminars, workshops, and webinars.
  • National Rehabilitation Association NRA is the oldest professional membership organization advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, while also ensuring a high level of professional competence in the rehabilitation profession. Its membership includes counselors, educators, and students. Members can participate in various networking and professional development opportunities.
  • Vermont Department of Labor This department provides rehabilitation counselor candidates with information about certification and various resources, such as labor market information that may be useful for helping clients with disabilities.
  • Vermont Mental Health Counselors Association This association serves as the state chapter of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. VTMHCA provides licensed counselors with professional advocacy, as well as access to continuing education and professional development, such as workshops and publications.

Explore More Pathways to Becoming a Counselor in Vermont

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