Texas Licensed Professional Counselors can specialize as rehabilitation counselors, but should first set their sight on attaining the license as a Licensed Professional Counselor, or LPC. The Texas LPC is a generic counseling license that can be achieved by counselors with training in various counseling specialties. A counselor receives a temporary license after meeting educational requirements and passing the two required examinations. Full licensure is granted after completing a supervised practice requirement.
Chapter 503 of the Texas Occupations Code, which establishes the LPC profession, provides for certain license exemptions. Individuals who are certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) may be exempted, provided they are providing services, using titles, and generally upholding themselves in ways that are consistent with their certification. Some Texas counselors, however, choose to hold multiple credentials, including a professional counseling license and a rehabilitation counseling certification. Exempt individuals who opt for voluntary licensing are subject to the same standards.
LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) Education Requirements for Rehabilitation Counselors in Texas
A candidate for Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas must earn a graduate degree. The course of study must be a planned program of at least 48 semester hours, and its focus should be in counseling or a related field. The Board defines “related field” to include only those that focus on mental health. Social work is offered as an example of a degree that would be considered related; while education is an example of a degree that would not be considered related.
The program must include coursework in the following:
- Normal human growth and development
- Abnormal behavior
- Counseling theories
- Appraisal or assessment techniques
- Individual and group counseling techniques
- Lifestyle and career development
- Social, cultural, and family issues
- Professional orientation
The program must include at least a 300-hour counseling practicum.
The semester hour requirement will increase to 60 semester hours, effective August 2017.
Requirements for the LPC in Texas Examination
Texas counselors take a national counseling examination and a state jurisprudence examination. Both exams are taken before supervised practice begins.
The content examination is the National Counselor Examination, or NCE. Texas candidates are allowed to register directly with the NBCC. Official transcripts should be submitted along with the registration form and $275 fee. Registration forms and instructions can be downloaded from the ‘Texas’ page of the NBCC website (http://www.nbcc.org/stateboardmap//TX).
Approved candidates will receive their ATT within about four weeks. Examinations are computer-delivered. An ATT authorizes scheduling at any of more than 400 Pearson VUE assessment centers. Texas has 19 centers.
Examinations are available two weeks out of each month; candidates must schedule in advance.
The Texas Board will receive results directly from the NBCC.
Texas candidates may make up to three attempts at the national examination before additional educational requirements are imposed.
The state jurisprudence examination can be assessed online (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/lpc_jurisprudence.shtm).
Rehabilitation Counselor License Requirements Texas for the LPC Work Experience
The counselor needs to accrue at least 3,000 hours of work experience over a period of no less than 18 months. At least 1,500 hours should consist of direct client contact.
While accruing hours, counselors work under temporary licensure. Changes in supervisor or work site must be submitted to the Board. The one being supervised will have an approved supervisor. The candidate will need at least four hours a month of direct supervision. Supervision must meet the requirements described in Title 22 of state code: (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/lpc_laws.shtm).
The Board is able to credit up to 400 hours for practicum that was earned in excess of requirements. These hours will not reduce the minimum timeline for post-graduate supervised practice.
The LPC Application Process
Applications are submitted online through the Regulatory Services Online Licensing System: (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/lpc_aonline.shtm).
Supplementary documents should be requested and sent directly from the source. This includes transcripts and, if applicable, verification of out-of-state licensing.
Applicants for temporary licensure must submit supervisory agreements. They can be upgraded to LPC status after supervisory documentation is submitted: (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/lpc_upgrade.shtm).
Achieving Rehabilitation Counseling Certification – in Texas
The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification offers the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential. Candidates are required to pass the CRC examination; there is also a code of ethics to uphold. The shortest path to examination eligibility is to complete a Master’s program accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). There are additional options to pursue. If a program is in rehabilitation counseling and includes a 600 hour internship supervised by a CRC, eligibility can be attained with a minimum of one year of work experience.
For individuals who hold degrees in other counseling disciplines, they will need at least three years of work experience before they are CRC-eligible. Additionally, these individuals will need to meet coursework standards set by the CRCC. Some non-counseling degrees are considered as qualifying if the candidate subsequently completes a 21-semester hour program in rehabilitation counseling. Check out the requirements here: (http://www.crccertification.com/pages/eligibility_requirements/69.php).
Some state rehabilitation positions require an LPC or CRC. State job classifications are available from the Texas State Auditor’s Office: (http://www.hr.sao.state.tx.us/Compensation/JobDescriptions.aspx).
The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/default.shtm) can be contacted by telephone at (512)834-6658, or by email at: ‘lpc at dshs.state.tx.us’.