Are vocational rehabilitation counselor job opportunities growing or declining?

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Are jobs in this industry on the rise? Are there any sub-sectors that are growing?

Where are the jobs? Which places have the most vocational rehabilitation counselor opportunities?

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Tony in Nellysford, Virginia

77 months ago

I have been a vocational rehabilitation counselor for 27 years. I enjoy the work, and now do mostly forensic cases, divorce, personal injury, etc.

I think that the field is going south. There will be some jobs forever, but the better degree, I think, is the MSW. That credential provides more opportunity, is more recognized, and is better than the CRC for a variety of human-service positions. The pay is about the same, but for greater options, go with the MSW. If vocational rehabilitation counseling is your thing, you can focus on rehabilitation issues through the MSW training. Good luck to all.

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Lindsay in Valley Stream, New York

77 months ago

I tend to disagree and think the job opportunities for Voc Rehab is growing, especially thanks to this wonderful war we have going on and the skyrocketing rates of addiction. Having a CRC can be just as beneficial and can provide just as many options as having an MSW. Personally, I think it is just slightly harder to focus on rehab counseling and disabilities with an MSW background. However, with that being said, MSW's are still highly recognized and more so than a CRC but it has become an overly saturated market.

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Tony in Nellysford, Virginia

77 months ago

Lindsey, have you seen jobs where social workers (specifically MSWs) are supervised by CRCs. I have not seen any, but know of instances where the opposite is true. Also, I was hired by the VA back in 1992 to develop a career-transition, job-placement pilot project for disabled military personnel in the greater Washington, DC, area. I fully enjoyed the assignment and did it for about four years. So, I have a sense of the opportunities for rehab counselors in this (the VA and related) area.

From where I sit: master's in rehabilitation, in the field for 27 years, state "counselor of the year" (1987), a CRC since 1981, having worked a few thousand cases, former vocational expert for the Social Security Administration, guest speaker at multiple legal conferences, and having testified in court and depositions as a vocational expert about 300 times -- the graduate degree to have in social service is the MSW (with a concentration in voc rehab, if you like). The MSW trumps voc rehab and probably always will, even in situations where the CRC *SHOULD* be paramount. And this statement comes from someone who "loves" voc rehab: me. I'd be interested to learn of your background and credentials, since your view is so at odds with mine. Cheers.

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Tony in Nellysford, Virginia

77 months ago

Another thought. An MSW can become a CRC with the right experience, I think. At least that is the way it has been, but perhaps this has changed. I am specifically saying that the MSW is a better human-service degree than the master's in voc rehab. The CRC is preferred for some jobs, though. Still, in the big picture, there are many more employment opportunities available to MSWs. Unless one is set on a particular job that requires a master's in voc rehab (rare thing, indeed), I'd recommend going with the MSW. Cheers.

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MICHAEL in Albuquerque, New Mexico

77 months ago

Lindsay in Valley Stream, New York said: I tend to disagree and think the job opportunities for Voc Rehab is growing, especially thanks to this wonderful war we have going on and the skyrocketing rates of addiction. Having a CRC can be just as beneficial and can provide just as many options as having an MSW. Personally, I think it is just slightly harder to focus on rehab counseling and disabilities with an MSW background. However, with that being said, MSW's are still highly recognized and more so than a CRC but it has become an overly saturated market.

I agree with you,Lindsay. We have so many vets coming home with no legs or no arms or PTSD; dual-diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder/addiction.etc.-I dont think that the MSW's can really direct these people toward meaningful employment and independent living the way we can....

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BNL in Little Rock, Arkansas

77 months ago

Wow.. I’m getting my masters in rehabilitation counseling and I’m speechless about the comments. I don’t know what to think….. Am I going down a dark road?

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edie in Dalton, Georgia

77 months ago

I am looking for a program to get the Vocational Rehab counseling certification. I would prefer an online program if a quality program is available. Any suggestions?

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BNL in Little Rock, Arkansas

77 months ago

University of Little Rock at Arkansas has a wonderful online program. It’s in Little Rock Arkansas, but I know of students in my class from all over.

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April in Greeley, Colorado

77 months ago

Your road will only be as "dark" as you make it. If you have a passion for working with families and/or people with disabilities there is no such thing as bleakness. True, most job opportunities in RC come from the state/federal agencies. I must be honest, you can become burned out from working with multiple caseloads and clientle. However, the experience ia priceless. I don't necessarily agree with Tony's assumption, MSW degree "trumps" MRC. I see the two degrees being totally different than the other. However, more opportunities come with having a MSW because people are more familiar with that particular field. When I tell people I'm a rehabilitation counselor the first thing I hear, "You mean you work with people on drugs?" I find myself explaining what I do. However, when I do, people become fascinated and ask more questions. What works in our favor with having a Master's in RC, we have the knowledge to work with people with disabilties. So with that knowledge you must begin to think out the box. Most professors promote state/fed involvement...which is cool. However, there is so much you can do with your degree. You can obtain additional certifications as a pain management counselor, ergonomics specialist, life care planner, ADA expert, anger management, etc. Also, major corporations are hiring more people with disabilities and are always are looking for consultants. You can have a consulting business if you choose. Remember, not only do you have experience with the "vocational" aspects of disabilties, but also the "psychosocial" as well. So BNL in Little Rock don't become discourage. You can't base what your experience will be on the assumptions of others. You can take your MRC degree and do multiple things...

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BNL in Little Rock, Arkansas

77 months ago

Thanks April. Your comments were helpful!

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Dr. Robert A. Mosley in Cleveland, Ohio

75 months ago

Are there consulting opportunities for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and expert in the Michigan and Ohio Auto Insurance Industry?

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Dr. Robert A. Mosley in Cleveland, Ohio

75 months ago

The University of Wisconsin Stout offers a On-Line Master Degree Program in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. The program takes three years on a part-time bases

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MiCHAEL in Albuquerque, New Mexico

75 months ago

BNL in Little Rock, Arkansas said: University of Little Rock at Arkansas has a wonderful online program. It’s in Little Rock Arkansas, but I know of students in my class from all over.

I am currently a student in that program.

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Dana in Minneapolis, Minnesota

70 months ago

edie in Dalton, Georgia said: I am looking for a program to get the Vocational Rehab counseling certification. I would prefer an online program if a quality program is available. Any suggestions?

I got my MS from UW-Stout in May 2008. I went through their on-line program and thought it was very good. About 15 years earlier I attempted my MS in speech path from UW-Madison and found out I didn't do well with the program for a variety of reasons, including the class size. There were 17 people in my co-hort to start with and 14 of us graduated together--and we still keep in touch--even though it was a "distance education," I found that we developed stronger relationships than I had the first time around.

Just some thoughts...Good luck!

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bo in Naples, Florida

68 months ago

what are some good things about being a rehabilitation counselor?

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Chisley in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

68 months ago

I need some advise. I graduate in dec. with a BS in Rehabilitation and disability studies. I don't know what direction to take my degree. I enjoy the legislation such as the ADA and policies,counseling,community resources, job placement,vocational evaluation, writing. But I'm just confused because the jobs requires a master's degree which i plan to get soon. but for know i would like to know what direction to take this. thanks

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Dana in Hopkins, Minnesota

68 months ago

Depending on which school you go to, they might require that you are currently working somehow in the rehab world. I did my MS through Stout's online program (it Rocked!), and worked as a community habilitation specialist at the same time.

Are you looking at an MS in VR,or are you trying to decide between some of the other areas you mentioned? If it's the latter, I think I would probably start by doing a bunch of informational interviews so I could get a better idea of what the jobs truly involve--I am currently working as a voc evaluator--and had no clue the depth of the position I was getting into when I applied and accepted the position. Research, Research, RESEARCH!

I don't know if any of the interst inventories might help--not in the sense of pointing you towards or away from rehab, but rather to give you more direction within the arena.

Just some thoughts! Good luck!

Dana

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Jennifer in Fairmont, West Virginia

67 months ago

edie in Dalton, Georgia said: I am looking for a program to get the Vocational Rehab counseling certification. I would prefer an online program if a quality program is available. Any suggestions?

WVU has an online program that is pretty good. I graduated from there in December. You will have to spend a week on campus for two summers but the program moves quickly and they are working on having the comprehensive final for the program be the CRC so you will graduate with your degree and your certification.

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tjmouser in Portland, Oregon

66 months ago

BNL in Little Rock, Arkansas said: University of Little Rock at Arkansas has a wonderful online program. It’s in Little Rock Arkansas, but I know of students in my class from all over.

You mentioned U. of Little Rock, AR. I was wondering if you (or anyone) has heard of Texas Tech Health Sciences University's online Masters in Rehab Counseling program, and if so, what are your thoughts? I currently work for the VA as a Patient Services Assistant in the Outpatient Mental Health Clinic here in Portland, OR, and have experienced an increasing interest in VRC. It was the VA's VR program that assisted me toward obtaining my degree back in the 90s.

Any constructive guidance as to which program and/or where I might best seek such an education with greater service and employment prospects would be greatly appreciated!

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Michael in Albuquerque, New Mexico

66 months ago

I am not a rehab counseling student anymore at this time but I did take 4 classes in that program and will tell you that the University of Arkansas-Little Rock is a great program. It is a demanding program but you will learn a lot. I am not a student in rc anymore because of the Program-I simply decided to go into another profession.

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BNL in North Little Rock, Arkansas

66 months ago

Tjmouser, I’ve never heard of Texas Tech Health. I’m also starting a new job at the VA as a VSR Monday. I’m hoping to get a VRC position as well with the VA, but I may have to move b/c Arkansas doesn’t have many opening for VRC. You’re on the right road as far as working at the VA. Like I stated before UALR is wonderful, and I feel it’s not that demanding. I’m in my intern semester and I did my practicum with the VA. If you work at the VA as a VRC you can go up to GS12.

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Mike in Gainesville, Florida

65 months ago

I am a rehab counselor and regret the decision to enter into this career because the bottom line is that supervisors and administrators care about numbers, not how you are able to help people. They don't measure success on a continuum; it is either pass or fail. Your success is dependent on others ability to get that 26 for you and unfortunately this will eventually be your goal. We are in a tough market and getting a job without a disability is hard enough. Caseloads are very high, the job is stressful, and the pay is not good for most VRCs. There are some high paying jobs out there but you will have to go where the job is unless you are lucky enough to have one near you. I recommend finding another career in the health care field if you enjoy helping people. Oh, by the way, I know many MSWs and they are disatisfied too. There seems to be a power struggle among health care professionals and VRCs are at the bottom of the food chain. I will say this, you could choose a worse career; politician, lawyer, car salesman, real estate agent etc... Good luck.

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ade oladokun in Tallahassee, Florida

62 months ago

what does a 26 mean to a vocational rehab counselor

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Dana Dobbs in Corsicana, Texas

62 months ago

Hi, 26 means the number of case closures to meet your numbers.

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Vocational Rehab Counselor. I don't have a CRC but it is getting to be a big deal. When people ask my opinion on what field to go in, the answer is easy, Psychiatric Nurse Practicioner, you get to counsel, write scripts and the starting pay is off te charts. It trumps both Voc Rehab and Social Work, in pay and job flexiblity.
Whether or not it is rewarding I don't know but I supervised the first graduating cohort about 12 years ago and my intern graduated and was offered a job paying double what I was making.

All the fields are tough with managed care in Social Work and Voc Rehab is a tough and stressful job.

I think those who learn to live well on less have the best lives because they have the freedom to follow their creativity.

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Newell Gibson in San Jose, California

61 months ago

The Field of Rehab Counseling is and has been open to just about any out of work counselor for a very long time. Those of us with a CRC are of course more qualified however that often means little in a tight labor market. Blame this fact on poor marketing by the CRC’s and its weak Licensing Body;
Best Career Advice get the MSW with the MFC and you will have a wide open field! In a tight market like this one pick broad fields that allow you to apply your skills in both the private and public sector.

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Digger in Billings, Montana

60 months ago

edie in Dalton, Georgia said: I am looking for a program to get the Vocational Rehab counseling certification. I would prefer an online program if a quality program is available. Any suggestions?

A number of universities have an online degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. I was just looking this evening at the program at Utah State University. Many others have a combination of online and on campus venues.

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Dana in Hopkins, Minnesota

60 months ago

I got my MS in VR from UW-Stout in their online program. It was a very positive experience. The profs are amazing!

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RoseChar in Lansing, Michigan

58 months ago

2 masters degrees the first in Health Services Administration the second in 2007 in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2007, CRC in 2009

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jodlynn in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

57 months ago

I just recently graduated from a program in Rehabilitation Counseling and passed 'the TEST" to be certified as a CRC. I am working for the state in PA (which always has openings if you are willing to work in Philly.) But my original plan was to work to get my LPC, which I am doing. he course work is about the same as just the counseling program but I believe to get a LPC you need 5 additional classes that the CRCC doesn't require. And I have found that most state except the CRC exam to count as the License professional counselor exam. Now I just need a lot of hours of supervision.

One thing that I should say though, is that a main point of the CRC is VOCATIONAL.

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A good attitude always wins in Las Vegas, Nevada

56 months ago

I work for BVR in Neveda. New to the field. I refuse to let nay sayers cloud my dreams and goals. There is so such much someone can do as a CRC. Consult, teach online for University's, work for the VA, work for state agencies, become certified to do assessments, become a certified CDRS. CCM. I'm sure I will think of more. The truth of the matter is a Master's degree is a Master's degree and it can be untilized in other aspects.

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Julie in Lawton, Oklahoma

56 months ago

Hello, I am a Sergeant in the Army and I will be leaving military service later this year. I will be applying to graduate school for VR to begin Fall, 2011.

I'm interested in working with veterans, especially those that have been injured during OEF/OIF and need assistance in adapting to civilian life with their disability.

Your opinion please: do I need to be looking for a program that has professors that have been doing research in this field, or would I be safe with a "generic" VR program? Do you think I would get that "extra" attention for the military aspect that I desire?

Thanks for your input!

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ronnings@q.com in Henderson, Nevada

56 months ago

Where is the program that you will be attending this fall? The fact that you are a Vet will help you to get a job with the VA. I have found that Neveda is one of the highest paying compared to Georgia. I have a wonderful source for questions and answers concerning Vocational Rehabilitation. As far as the job market. I was told that 38% of the Voc Counselors will retiring in the next few years. Please feel free to contact me at anytime with your questions.

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ronnings@q.com in Henderson, Nevada

56 months ago

Please contact me about the best programs offered in Voc.

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RoseChar in East Lansing, Michigan

56 months ago

ronnings@q.com in Henderson, Nevada said: Where is the program that you will be attending this fall? The fact that you are a Vet will help you to get a job with the VA. I have found that Neveda is one of the highest paying compared to Georgia. I have a wonderful source for questions and answers concerning Vocational Rehabilitation. As far as the job market. I was told that 38% of the Voc Counselors will retiring in the next few years. Please feel free to contact me at anytime with your questions.

You should have a better chance for a civilian job. I tried to enter the service any branch but suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury when I was 18, made an awesome recovery, better shape now then when I played 3 sports in High School. My Rehabilitation Counselor Masters Degree is my second Masters my first was Health Services Administration. I have had 1 interview for a Voc Rehab job with the Federal Gov't and have applied for over 60. Good Luck charlesbrose@msn.com

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RoseChar in East Lansing, Michigan

56 months ago

ronnings@q.com in Henderson, Nevada said: Where is the program that you will be attending this fall? The fact that you are a Vet will help you to get a job with the VA. I have found that Neveda is one of the highest paying compared to Georgia. I have a wonderful source for questions and answers concerning Vocational Rehabilitation. As far as the job market. I was told that 38% of the Voc Counselors will retiring in the next few years. Please feel free to contact me at anytime with your questions.

You are correct, there are quite a few older workers in voc rehab that will be retiring. In Michigan they are trying to pass a bill forcing Teachers out after 30 years, well I guess I should not say force but make it unattractive to stay after 30 years, once the teachers bill passes it will go right to the state of Michigan workers where there is a good many that want out.

I went to Michigan State University which is always listed at the top mostly due to research dollars. I don't know if or which program is better, I only know MSU

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ronnings@q.com in Henderson, Nevada

56 months ago

I graduated from MSU in 2008. I worked for the state of Arizona and they laid me off after three weeks due to budget cuts. I'm currently working for the state of Neveda and they treat their counselor's with the upmost respect. I plan on returning to Michigan no later then May of next year. I miss my family and need to come home. I have faith that I will be able to find work. I have 20 years of experience in sales and management and will have a year and half in case management.

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Fran Beard in Los Angeles, California

55 months ago

Lindsay in Valley Stream, New York said: I tend to disagree and think the job opportunities for Voc Rehab is growing, especially thanks to this wonderful war we have going on and the skyrocketing rates of addiction. Having a CRC can be just as beneficial and can provide just as many options as having an MSW. Personally, I think it is just slightly harder to focus on rehab counseling and disabilities with an MSW background. However, with that being said, MSW's are still highly recognized and more so than a CRC but it has become an overly saturated market.

I agree. Especially at the federal level. Thaere are MANY openigs for Voc reab at DOL, VA and other federal agencies. iwork at the VA and it does not requre a CRC , but a CRC is preferred at some VA locations. It is deinitelt a growing field. The MSW is geat, but the CRC has a broader focus because we do SW and Voc. Rehab.

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mark in Alexandria, Virginia

55 months ago

Jennifer in Fairmont, West Virginia said: WVU has an online program that is pretty good. I graduated from there in December. You will have to spend a week on campus for two summers but the program moves quickly and they are working on having the comprehensive final for the program be the CRC so you will graduate with your degree and your certification.

could you tell me about the program?

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Ava in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

55 months ago

edie in Dalton, Georgia said: I am looking for a program to get the Vocational Rehab counseling certification. I would prefer an online program if a quality program is available. Any suggestions?

Virginia Commonwealth University also has a good rehab certification program online.

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ronnings@q.com in Henderson, Nevada

55 months ago

I would like to start a doctoral Degree online " Voc" Does anyone have any advise?

Thanks,

Sherry

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NC28 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

54 months ago

hey, I saw your post and I'm almost done with my MA in Rehab program. I am planning to take the CRC test in October. I was wondering after I become CRC, what would I need to do to become LPC? I do believe I have taken the classes necessary to become LPC, but was wondering what else would I need to do aside from the educational aspect.

Anywho info would greatly be appreciated.

jodlynn in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: I just recently graduated from a program in Rehabilitation Counseling and passed 'the TEST" to be certified as a CRC. I am working for the state in PA (which always has openings if you are willing to work in Philly.) But my original plan was to work to get my LPC, which I am doing. he course work is about the same as just the counseling program but I believe to get a LPC you need 5 additional classes that the CRCC doesn't require. And I have found that most state except the CRC exam to count as the License professional counselor exam. Now I just need a lot of hours of supervision.

One thing that I should say though, is that a main point of the CRC is VOCATIONAL.

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Charmaine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

53 months ago

edie in Dalton, Georgia said: I am looking for a program to get the Vocational Rehab counseling certification. I would prefer an online program if a quality program is available. Any suggestions?

The University of Kentucky has an accelerated 16 month online MRC program!

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NC28 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

53 months ago

NC28 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina said: hey, I saw your post and I'm almost done with my MA in Rehab program. I am planning to take the CRC test in October. I was wondering after I become CRC, what would I need to do to become LPC? I do believe I have taken the classes necessary to become LPC, but was wondering what else would I need to do aside from the educational aspect.

Anywho info would greatly be appreciated.

I know NC28. Honestly, I was hoping to become a LPC. It was my life time goal. But due to a fluke, I ended up becoming CRC. I am taking the CRC exam in October and graduating with my MA in Rehab. in December.
Believe it or not, I do believe I have taken the additional Counseling classes you spoke of. If all goes planned, by December, all I would need to become LPC is supervised hours.

The question I have is, can a CRC provide your counseling hours or do you need a LPC to supervise your hours.
You are working at PA, as a CRC?
Will your CRC hours count towards your LPC supervised hours?

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

I do apologize for the 10 million questions, but I am running into a crossroad and need some perspective on which might be the appropriate path to take.

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NC28 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

53 months ago

Charmaine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana said: The University of Kentucky has an accelerated 16 month online MRC program!

Charmaine that is the program I am in now and it is one hell of a program with an amazing staff that know what they are doing.
And if you are a CRP, or working in the Voc Rehab. field, you can take this program online. Note: This is a distance learning from University of Kentucky (approved by CORE), NOT a online college or anything like that.

Thank you Charmaine for bringing up UKY's program.

Oh and side note: I transferred from UNCP's MA in Service Agency Counseling program, the program sucked, the staff doesn't know what they're doing. Please do not apply to this school and if you are in this program, transfer NOW!

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NC28 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

53 months ago

NC28 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina said: hey, I saw your post and I'm almost done with my MA in Rehab program. I am planning to take the CRC test in October. I was wondering after I become CRC, what would I need to do to become LPC? I do believe I have taken the classes necessary to become LPC, but was wondering what else would I need to do aside from the educational aspect.

Anywho info would greatly be appreciated.

Oh, did you take the NCE or do you plan on taking the NCE?
Do you need to take the NCE

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charles Rose in Hermitage, Tennessee

53 months ago

get 3000 hours of work where you meet with a trained LPC 1 or 2 a month. You start out as a LLPC.

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NC28 in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

53 months ago

charles Rose in Hermitage, Tennessee said: get 3000 hours of work where you meet with a trained LPC 1 or 2 a month. You start out as a LLPC.

Thank you Charles for your response.
Would you happen to know the average salary for a LLPC?
Are LLPC's normally hired by private companies?
Or do LLPC's usually work for the state?

As always, any input would be appreciated.

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Steve A in Flagstaff, Arizona

51 months ago

No, A "26" means a client has successfuly maintained their jo for 91 days. A "26" is a successful closure!!

Dana Dobbs in Corsicana, Texas said: Hi, 26 means the number of case closures to meet your numbers.

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Vocational Rehab Counselor. I don't have a CRC but it is getting to be a big deal. When people ask my opinion on what field to go in, the answer is easy, Psychiatric Nurse Practicioner, you get to counsel, write scripts and the starting pay is off te charts. It trumps both Voc Rehab and Social Work, in pay and job flexiblity.
Whether or not it is rewarding I don't know but I supervised the first graduating cohort about 12 years ago and my intern graduated and was offered a job paying double what I was making.

All the fields are tough with managed care in Social Work and Voc Rehab is a tough and stressful job.

I think those who learn to live well on less have the best lives because they have the freedom to follow their creativity.

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W in Tabor City, North Carolina

51 months ago

Steve A in Flagstaff, Arizona said: No, A "26" means a client has successfuly maintained their jo for 91 days. A "26" is a successful closure!!

Thanks for your input Steve.
Honestly, as long as I have enough money to pay the bills, save for retirement and be able to pay for a vacation now and then, I'll be happy.

Honestly, I'm 28 and been in WC Voc Rehab for 3 years. My main goal is to achieve 75k/yr in less than 10yrs.
Am I living a pipe dream?

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