How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor in Wisconsin

Professional counselors work with patients and clients in a variety of contexts. Rehabilitation counselors help support individuals with mental, physical, and developmental disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors evaluate limitations and strengths to facilitate employment and autonomous living capabilities while documenting progress, locating resources, and advocating for their clients. Rehabilitation counselors in Wisconsin interact with patients and clients of all ages, offering assistance to groups and individuals alike.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for rehabilitation counselors are projected to grow 13% from 2016-2026. With a need for counselors, now is an ideal time to pursue a Wisconsin counseling career.

In Wisconsin, professional counselors need a master's degree from an approved institution. Counselors also complete the licensure exam process. Read on to learn how to become a rehabilitation counselor in Wisconsin and browse useful resources for becoming a rehabilitation counselor.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Wisconsin

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Wisconsin here

Education and Experience Requirements

In Wisconsin, rehabilitation counselors complete education and experience requirements in anticipation of professional licensure. To become a licensed counselor, learners must meet course hour minimums while simultaneously completing a requisite number of supervised practicum hours.

Education and Coursework

To become a rehabilitation counselor in Wisconsin, learners need a graduate degree from an approved program. According to Wisconsin law, approved master's degrees include at least 60 credits with a minimum 100 hours of supervised practical experience. Forty of the 100 practicum hours must include face-to-face client contact. Learners also participate in at least six credits in counseling internship requirements. Internships must include a minimum of 600 supervised hours with 240 hours of face-to-face contact.

To become a rehabilitation counselor in Wisconsin, learners need a graduate degree from an approved program

Counseling programs must also include coursework in counseling theory or counseling approaches to build theoretical knowledge. Additional required classes in human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, helping relationships, and group dynamics processing and counseling accompany courses in lifestyle and career development, assessment and testing, research and evaluation, and professional counseling orientation. Approved programs must also incorporate classes in clinical rehabilitation; counseling diagnostics and treatment planning; and addictions, trauma, or family counseling.

Doctoral programs must meet comparable requirements, with at least 96 credits completed over eight semesters. Practicum and internship requirements are the same as a master's degree.

Programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) meet education and experience requirements for Wisconsin counselors.

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

Practicum and Internship

Practicum and internship requirements for rehabilitation counselors in Wisconsin blend supervised instruction and face-to-face work with patients and clients. Learners complete practical placements across two semesters with 12-16 contact hours per week. In total, students participate in 360 supervised practical hours with 80 hours of direct service to patients.

Internships include 600 contact hours completed through 40 hours per week for 15 weeks. During the internship, students participate in 240 direct service hours. Learners may complete the internship part time over two semesters.

Application and Exam Requirements for Wisconsin Rehabilitation Counselors

Students completing a CACREP degree can take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). The CRC exam includes questions from 12 competencies which are further divided into subdomains.

Students completing a CACREP degree can take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)

Learners have 3.5 hours to complete the CRC exam. Through 175 questions, students demonstrate expertise in areas such as professional orientation and ethical practice; counseling theories, techniques, and evidence-based practice; group and family counseling; and crisis and trauma counseling and interventions. The exam also covers assessment, occupational analysis, and service implementation; case management; and research, methodology, and performance management.

Counselors in Wisconsin can also take exams from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The National Counselor Examination (NCE) and National Clinical Mental Health Examination demonstrate competencies in professional counseling in accordance with Wisconsin requirements. The NBCC offers each exam monthly.

To apply for licensure in Wisconsin, candidates submit appropriate education paperwork signed by school officials. In-state applicants apply at the trainee level, paying a $75 fee. Applicants must be in a position or have an offer for a professional counselor position to receive a training license. Training licensure expires after four years.

Out-of-State Rehabilitation Counselor Candidates

Out-of-state applicants for counseling licensure in Wisconsin must submit documentation demonstrating equivalent licensure. Candidates must provide verification for each state in which they hold licensure. Out-of-state practical and internship hours are accepted as long as they meet Wisconsin standards.

Applicants who meet the education and experience requirements without having passed a qualifying exam may receive a temporary license that expires after nine months.

Rehabilitation Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

Professional counselors must complete 30 credits of continuing education every two years. During the two-year credential period, students participate in a minimum of four hours in professional ethics and practice-related boundaries.

Students must earn continuing education hours through an approved provider or through professional activities. Professional activities include publications, seminars, workshops, and instruction.

Professional counselors in Wisconsin must complete 30 credits of continuing education every two years

Applicants submit a formal application, narrative explanation of license renewal, and a $62 renewal fee to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. Professional counselors should maintain all records of their credentials for four years in the event of an audit.

Resources and Organizations for Rehabilitation Counselors in Wisconsin

Professional organizations and associations for professional counselors in Wisconsin offer practical resources, networking opportunities, and continuing education access. Many government and local agencies provide information applicable to the needs of Wisconsin residents and groups specifically. Rehabilitation counselors benefit from online and in-person programs, events, and groups that contribute to field understanding.

  • American Counseling Association As the world's largest organization for counseling professionals, ACA offers access to publications, government affairs information, and continuing education opportunities to counselors across the discipline. ACA also houses extensive code of conduct and leadership content while providing fellowship and funding access to counseling professionals and students.
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association ARCA serves as a leader in rehabilitation counseling, building partnerships among counseling practitioners, researchers, and educators. ARCA promotes rehabilitation counseling through newsletters, conference information, and information on public policy and legislation.
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification CRCC offers extensive information on certification processes and requirements for rehabilitation counselors alongside job postings, continuing education access, and ethics resources. CRCC also provides students, educators, and employers news and research updates in the field.
  • National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns Formed in 1969, NAMRC advocates for rehabilitation issues and programs related to minority groups and diverse communities. To join NAMRC, applicants must be members of the National Rehabilitation Association. Members receive access to trainings, conferences, scholarship opportunities, and association newsletters.
  • National Board for Certified Counselors NBCC supports counselors across specialty areas through local, state, and federal initiatives. Resources include counselor directories, information on state licensure, exam information, and insurance partnerships.
  • The National Council on Rehabilitation Education As the leading organization for educators working with persons with disabilities, the NCRE promotes education, training, and professional standards in the field. The group holds two conferences each year and offers extensive research, career, and partnership resources alongside awards and networking opportunities.
  • The National Rehabilitation Association As the oldest organization of rehabilitation professionals in the country, the NRA promotes collaboration and cooperation among rehabilitation counselors, educators, and community members. The group offers publications and news updates alongside career information, member spotlights, and division and chapter resources.
  • Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services DSPS provides comprehensive information for professional counselors in Wisconsin. The website includes continuing education resources, statutes and administrative processes, and access to a Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry.
  • Wisconsin Counseling Association As a branch of the ACA, WCA promotes counseling services, interests, and activities in Wisconsin. Members receive access to the WCA journal, continuing education opportunities, and updates on state trends and counseling-related issues.
  • Wisconsin Rehabilitation Association Committed to promoting ethics and practical excellence in rehabilitation services, WRA offers webinars and webcasts, newsletters, and conference opportunities to unite rehabilitation professionals. As an affiliate of the NRA, membership to the WRA includes access to NRA resources.

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