New Hampshire rehabilitation counselors may work under the authority of multiple organizations. Some are hired directly by the state pursuant to rules set by human resources. Others work under state certification as Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Providers (CVRP). In cases where the CVRP is required, an individual will either earn Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) certification or earn certification in another related discipline such as disability management. He or she may work as an intern (CVRPI) before achieving CVRP status. Prospective counselors should be aware that regulations are subject to change and that meeting minimum requirements of a particular hiring authority is not a guarantee of employment.
State licensing may be an option for some rehabilitation counselors, depending on training. The Vermont Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals licenses a limited group of counselors, those who are mental health practitioners. Some requirements go beyond those traditionally required for rehabilitation counseling. A combined rehabilitation counseling/ mental health counseling program, though, may offer the foundation.
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An individual can break into the rehabilitation field with a bachelor's, though advanced opportunities are often tied to having a master's.
A professional can be eligible for the state job classification ‘Rehabilitation Counselor I’ on the strength of 1) a bachelor's degree that includes 36 hours of coursework in approved areas and 2) two years of qualifying experience. However, the professional is expected to have a plan in place for achieving rehabilitation counselor II.
At the Rehabilitation Counselor II level, it is necessary to have a master's degree in counseling or another qualifying field. New Hampshire has set specific coursework requirements. If the degree is in counseling, human resources will look for the following:
The counselor will not need to document the course on theories and techniques of counseling if the qualifying degree was specifically in rehabilitation counseling.
A number of other degrees may be accepted as qualifying, among them, human services, psychometrics, disability studies, human relations, and occupational therapy. If the degree is not considered counseling, the graduate will need to take a course in the foundation of rehabilitation counseling (in addition to all other courses listed above).
An individual will need two years of related experience before he or she can achieve classification at this level.
A counselor who begins at the Rehabilitation Counselor I level may substitute qualifying education for experience.
In many cases, a vocational rehabilitation counselor who is not hired as a state employee will need state certification (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XXIII/281-A/281-A-68.htm). State certification as a Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Provider depends on first achieving certification through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, the Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission, or the (now defunct) Commission on Certification of Work Adjustment and Vocational Evaluation Specialists*.
It is possible to achieve certification as a Certified Disability Management Specialist with a bachelor’s degree or RN license (http://www.cdms.org/CDMS-Certification/Content/eligibility-criteria.html). However, certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor is dependent on having a master’s. The CRC is recognized not only by the New Hampshire Department of Labor but by many agencies around the nation. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) will accept counseling or rehabilitation counseling degrees. A number of other degrees can be accepted as providing the foundation, but with some, it will be necessary to enroll in a second program of at least 21 semester hours.
The quickest path to certification will entail completion of a program accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and completion of a 600 hour internship supervised by a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. (Practicum and 600 hour internship are typical program requirements).
A student who graduates from a non-CORE rehabilitation counseling master’s program may be eligible for certification with just a year of work experience, provided that the program includes the required internship. With a degree in counseling, the experience requirement will be longer. The CRCC will look for coursework in areas such as medical and/ or psychosocial aspects of disability, multicultural issues, and job placement or case management and rehabilitation services. The CRCC website lists a number of eligibility pathways (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php).
Certification is awarded after successful completion of the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination, which is offered three times per year. Candidates can submit registration materials online (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/forms___fees/70.php). There is a $385 certification fee. A certification handbook is available for download.
*The Commission on Certification of Work Adjustment and Vocational Evaluation Specialists is no longer operational, but individuals who are already certified as Certified Vocational Evaluators may maintain their credentials through the CRCC (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/cve_cwa_ccaa_certification_renewal/103.php).
Applications for Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Provider are available from the Department of Labor (http://www.nh.gov/labor/workers-comp/employee-benefits/voc-rehab.htm). Applicants are asked to read the administrative rules.
The same application is used for intern status. An intern must have a professional development plan.
The graduate will need to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE), administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Registration materials are found on the ‘New Hampshire page of the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//NH). The prospective LMHC will work under supervision for at least two years and complete 3,000 hours of supervised practice. The supervisor is to be a licensed mental health counselor.
Application materials are available on the Board website. The applicant will need professional references as well as documentation of having met education and experience requirements.
Information on certification as a Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Provider is available from the New Hampshire Department of Labor (http://www.nh.gov/labor/workers-comp/employee-benefits/voc-rehab.htm). The vocational rehabilitation coordinator can be reached at 271-3328 or (in-state) at 1-800-272-4353.
Information on state job classifications is available from Human Resources (http://www.admin.state.nh.us/HR/classindex_a_d.htm).
Additional vocational rehabilitation counseling resources are available from the Vermont Department of Education (http://education.nh.gov/career/vocational/t_r.htm).
The New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice is the source for information about mental health counseling licensure (http://www.nh.gov/mhpb/).
State and regional professional organizations include the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals-New England (http://www.rehabpro.org/chapters/new-england/) and the New Hampshire Mental Health Counselors Association (http://www.nhmhca.org/).