How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in West Virginia

Rehabilitation counselors provide assistance, resources, and tools to people with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors work with clients and patients of all ages in both clinical and community settings. By evaluating a client's needs and abilities, rehabilitation counselors can design treatment plans. Rehabilitation counselors may also advocate for access to care and public policy initiatives.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects rehabilitation counselors to see an estimated 13% growth through 2026, indicating a high level of demand in the field. To become a rehabilitation counselor in West Virginia, individuals must hold a specific combination of education and experience to meet the needs and lifestyle goals of patients and clients. For instance, West Virginia requires professional counselors to earn a graduate degree and obtain licensure before being able to practice. The guide below further demonstrates what it takes to work as a rehabilitation counselor in West Virginia.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in West Virginia

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in West Virginia here

Education and Experience Requirements

To become a licensed professional counselor in West Virginia, learners must first earn a graduate degree from an accredited and approved institution. West Virginia guidelines also require specific numbers of practical and internship hours to receive counseling credentials.

Education and Coursework

West Virginia law mandates professional counselors hold a master's or doctoral degree from a counseling program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the Council for the Accreditation for Education Preparation (CAEP), or a comparable organization.

Students must complete at least 60 credit hours of graduate coursework in counseling, with at least three hours from each of 14 content areas. Content areas include counseling theories, counseling techniques, social and cultural foundations, professional responsibilities, and research and evaluation. Learners also study lifestyle and career development, principles of assessment and diagnosis, and individual appraisal.

est Virginia law mandates professional counselors hold a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited counseling program

Additional requirements include a supervised practicum and internship and sufficient coursework in crisis intervention, counseling interventions, and counseling special populations.

Practicum and internship hours vary by degree. However, most master's degree students must complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience, while doctoral students participate in 1,500 hours of supervised counseling experience. At least half of supervised hours must be carried out through direct counseling services to clients, and at least one in every 20 hours must be supervised by a supervisor approved by the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling (WVBE).

Additionally, the curriculum dictated by West Virginia prepares students for certification exams offered by one of two recognized credentialing bodies.


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Practicum and Internship

To become a licensed professional counselor in West Virginia, learners must complete 1,500 or 3,000 hours of supervised counseling hours, depending on the type of degree they earned. Up to 600 hours may be applied from graduate program internship requirements. Applicants must work with an approved professional supervisor who has held licensure for at least two years and has a minimum five years of professional experience.

Application and Exam Requirements for West Virginia Rehabilitation Counselors

Once learners complete education and experience requirements, they take certification exams offered by one of two regulatory bodies. The WVBE accepts two licensure exams from the National Board for Certified Counselors, the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). West Virginia also accepts the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Examination offered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).

The WVBE accepts two licensure exams from the National Board for Certified Counselors, the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE)

The NCE and NCMHCE explore general counseling practice, while the CRC exam focuses specifically on concepts for rehabilitation counselors. The CRC exam includes 175 multiple-choice questions over 12 domain areas identified by the CCRC.

Licensure applicants submit exam scores, graduate transcripts, appropriate WVBE forms, a formal application, and two completed professional recommendation letters from licensed counseling professionals. Candidates can request an application packet from the WVBE with all required forms for $30.

Additional application materials include three letters of personal reference, a signed supervisor contract, and the application fee. The fee for initial licensure is $250. Exam scores are valid for five years after completion of the exam, while all other materials must be dated within the previous six months.

Candidates who have not taken a certification exam can apply for licensure but may not take the exam until the WVBE has determined they are eligible for licensure.

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

Rehabilitation counselors holding licensure from another state can request a review of their credentials. The WVBE requires applicants submit an application, graduate transcripts, and exam scores for consideration. Additional review documents include proof of valid licensure, two professional references, and a review assessment processing fee of $300.

Applicants who have actively practiced mental health counseling as a licensed counselor and maintained an ongoing caseload for at least five of the previous seven years may submit their materials with a fee waiver.

Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

Counseling credentials in West Virginia last for two years. To renew, applicants must submit their materials no later than June 30 in their renewal year. Practicing counselors must complete 35 contact hours of approved continuing education each year. The WVBE provides a list of approved continuing education providers and programs. At least three hours of continuing education coursework must be in ethics and meet the guidelines of the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics. Applicants must also complete three hours of clinical supervision training for renewal.

Counseling credentials in West Virginia last for two years

To apply for renewal, candidates should submit documentation of continuing education hours, a renewal application, and a $145 renewal fee.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in West Virginia

Professional organizations provide their members with networking, professional development, and collaboration opportunities. Local, state, and national agencies also offer valuable resources on practice and policy related to rehabilitation services. Rehabilitation counselors in West Virginia can additionally find career advice, mentorship and funding options, and advocacy opportunities through field-specific associations.

  • American Counseling Association Founded in 1952, the ACA provides members access to continuing education, career, and publication information across the counseling field. The ACA engages in advocacy efforts, holds annual conferences, and brings together counseling professionals through newsletters, listservs, and a growing online community.
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association ARCA provides resources for researchers, practitioners, and students in the rehabilitation counseling field. Self-tasked with promoting cooperation among rehabilitation practitioners, the general public, and legislative groups, ARCA provides members access to workshops and trainings, newsletters and research updates, and insurance opportunities.
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification The CRCC provides rehabilitation professionals, the general public, students, and educators updates on news and research in the field. Additional resources include certification exam information and resources, continuing education opportunities, and access to job listings.
  • National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns Affiliated with the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA), NAMRC focuses on rehabilitation concerns, issues, and initiatives related to minority populations and diverse groups. To join, applicants must be members of the NRA. Members receive access to training, mentorship programs, scholarship opportunities, and newsletters.
  • National Board for Certified Counselors As a leader in counselor support and information, the NBCC offers information on state licensure, exams, insurance, and government initiatives. The NBCC also provides access to career information and a policy and document library.
  • National Council on Rehabilitation Education Formed in 1955, the NCRE brings together rehabilitation educators from around the country to promote education, training, and professional standards in the field. The NCRE provides publications, career information, and award opportunities with two conferences to facilitate collaboration and cooperation each year.
  • National Rehabilitation Association Uniting counselors, educators, researchers, and communities, the NRA promotes cultural awareness, social advocacy, and excellence in practice among rehabilitation professionals. The NRA, established 1923, offers publications, issue statements, and career information to student, retiree, affiliate, and professional members.
  • West Virginia Board of Examiners in Counseling As the licensing and registration authority in West Virginia, the WVBEC provides comprehensive information for future and current counseling professionals. Resources include lists of approved continuing education providers, ethical standard documents, and complaint and grievance procedures.
  • West Virginia Counseling Association As a branch of the ACA, the WVCA promotes the counseling profession in West Virginia. The WVCA offers members continuing education opportunities, networking and collaboration resources, and updates on ethical standards and policy issues.
  • West Virginia Licensed Professional Counselors Association With members from around the state, the WVLPCA brings together counseling professionals from all subsets of the field to promote practical excellence and ethical standards. WVLPCA provides counseling professionals career information, issue updates, and continuing education resources.

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