A Colorado rehabilitation counselor may work under one or more credentials. Requirements are not the same to work in governmental agencies as they are to call oneself a "professional counselor". Some agencies will employ based on credentials such as a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling and/ or third party certification. State licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) can bring additional opportunities.
Educational standards for the LPC are based on a slightly different set of educational standards than those typically required of rehabilitation counselors. However, it is possible to achieve both credentials. LPC license mandates and exemptions are described in the state’s professional counselor rules (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251632086729).
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Licensure: Rehabilitation counseling education is pursued at the graduate level. Colorado requires prospective counseling licensees to complete programs that are either accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or are judged equivalent. Programs must develop core counseling competencies. The evaluator also looks at other factors, for example, whether the institution was regionally accredited and whether the counseling program stood as a coherent and recognizable entity. Educational requirements are described in Rule 14 of the Rules of the Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners.
In the case of candidates who began studies after August 31, 2014, the Colorado licensing agency expects 60 semester hours of coursework. It expects, moreover, that no more than six semester hours (or the equivalent) will need to be made up post-degree. The student will need 700 hours of supervised experience.
In the case of counseling students who enrolled prior to August 31, 2014, programs that include 48 total semester hours may be found adequate.
Rehabilitation Counseling Certification: The most direct route to certification is a master's from a program accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). Though some CORE programs are shorter than 60 semester hours, Colorado's one accredited program is 60 semester hours and license-qualifying in Colorado. (CORE requires that accredited programs that do not include all coursework required for licensure in the state where they are located at least identify for their students the additional coursework they will need for licensure).
Under a new partnership between CACREP and CORE, designed to increase opportunity for rehabilitation counselors, students have the option of enrolling in CORE/CACREP clinical rehabilitation counseling programs. As of the 2014-2015 school year, a limited number of programs nationwide have achieved this accreditation (http://www.core-rehab.org/AccreditedPrograms). There are additional combined programs that hold CACREP and CORE accreditation.
Prospective licensees must pass a national counseling examination and a state jurisprudence examination or test of laws and rules. The latter is available online.
The national examination is the National Counselor Examination (NCE), which is under the banner of the National Board for Certified Counselors. Colorado candidates submit their transcripts to the NBCC; they must also remit $195. Authorized candidates may test at any of more than 400 international Pearson VUE locations. There are three sites in Colorado: in Greenwood, Village Pueblo, and Westminster (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//CO).
Counselors who want the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) must take the CRC Examination through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (http://www.crccertification.com/). The certification fee is $385. The examination is administered in three annual testing windows. Students in CORE programs may submit materials before graduation.
Graduates can complete supervised practice requirement if they are in a position where they will practice psychotherapy. Before beginning, they will register as license candidates; they are responsible for adhering to legal mandates.
The licensing agency requires at least 2,000 hours of supervised practice for the LPC. The supervise practice requirement can be met in no fewer than two years. Supervision is to be provided by an LPC or other licensed professional who meets Board requirements.
With a doctoral degree, the supervised practice requirement is reduced to 1,000 hours accrued over a period of no less than one year.
Rehabilitation counseling certification does not necessarily depend on post-graduate practice. Graduates of CORE programs are not required to provide the CRCC with documentation of any supervised practice beyond internship. This is also the case with counseling professionals who completed a qualifying rehabilitation counseling practicum as part of a non-CORE doctoral level counseling program.
Licensees are regulated by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). License application forms are available on the DORA website (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite).
Applicants may submit official transcripts from a CACREP-accredited institution or (if their program did not have the approved accreditation) have their transcripts evaluated by the Center for Credentialing Education (CCE) prior to application (http://cce-global.org/Prof/Apps). The CCE application fee is $150.
The license application fee is $70.
License applicants must complete a Healthcare Professions Profile before their application file can be considered complete. This step is carried out online and is not completed until after the initial information has been entered into the system.
There is a separate application package for endorsement candidates. Out-of-state licensee s may demonstrate active practice in lieu of supervised practice.
Licensing information can be obtained from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=DORA-Reg%2FDORALayout&cid=1251632266340&pagename=CBONWrapper). The Office of Licensing can be reached at (303) 894-7800.
The Colorado Counseling Association is an additional professional resource (http://www.coloradocounselingassociation.org).