Dedicated to the excellence of rehabilitation counseling and services for individuals with disabilities by setting the national standard in certification, providing leadership, education, advocacy, and supporting research.

Our vision

CRCC’s vision is to serve as a leader in the unification of the rehabilitation counseling profession and for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) to be recognized as the credential of excellence for professionals assisting individuals with disabilities to live fully integrated lives.

Read an overview of our current strategic vision here from CRCC Executive Director Pam Shlemon.

What is a Rehabilitation Counselor?

Rehabilitation counselors are the only professional counselors educated and trained at the graduate-level who possess the specialized knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work collaboratively with individuals with disabilities. Through a comprehensive unique counseling process, rehabilitation counselors help individuals with disabilities achieve their personal, social, psychological, career, and independent living goals. Rehabilitation counselors are the bridge between the individual and self-sufficiency, helping their clients live fully integrated lives.

What is the
of CRCC?

As a field and profession, rehabilitation counseling is unique among the counseling disciplines as it was legislated into existence more than one hundred years ago. The passage of the Smith-Fess Act in 1920 established the federal-state vocational rehabilitation program and helped elevate rehabilitation counseling to a profession. The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credentialing process—the first in the U.S.—established a professional standard of excellence.

When the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) was officially incorporated in January 1974, our mission was to conduct nationwide certification activities. Since then, over 40,000 qualified professionals have participated in the certification process. Today, over 15,000 CRCs are practicing in the United States, Canada, and several foreign countries.

CRCC’s growth and evolution began with the appointment of a committee to create guidelines for the development of the evaluation instrument and procedures for the proposed certification process.

  • 1974-1975  –  Enter the Certification Exam: The initial evaluation instrument, which became the CRC Exam, was field tested in 1974 and 1975. There were over 4,500 applications processed in the first year. While the commission hoped to certify 1,000 counselors, the actual number was nearly double that: 1,965 rehabilitation counselors completed the field review process in 1974 and qualified for certification.
  • 1976  –  We are 100% committed to a dynamic exam reflecting ongoing changes in the field. Refinements to the exam are based on empirical research and job analyses. We also engage consultants and subject matter experts to participate in item writing and cut score workshops. Everything we do is designed to advance the careers of rehabilitation counselors. Additionally, CRCC decided that a Code of Ethics should be developed that would apply to all counselors seeking certification under the pass/fail exam. The Ethical Practices Committee developed a grievance procedure that would be accessible to consumers, peers, and supervisors.
  • 1980  –  NCCA Accreditation: The CRC certification program became accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Every five years, CRCC undergoes a re-accreditation process to maintain its high standards in the design and delivery of the CRC certification program.
  • 1987  – CRCC Board of Directors approved the CRCC Code of Ethics.
  • 1990  – The Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CCRC) credential was initiated.
  • 1994  –  Scope of Practice: In 1993 and 1994, CRCC joined forces with representatives from the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA) and the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association (NRCA) to spearhead the development of the Scope of Practice for Rehabilitation Counseling. It was adopted by all three organizations and remains in effect today.
  • 1997  –  CRCC marked the initial offering of the Masters’ Addictions Counselor (MAC) adjunct designation.
  • 1999  –  The Clinical Supervisors (CS) adjunct designation was implemented. The MAC and CS adjunct designations are currently in maintenance mode. Certificants who maintain these adjunct designations demonstrate their commitment and expertise to their clients.
  • 2001 –  Code of Ethics: Recognizing the changes in the practice of rehabilitation counseling as evidenced through job analysis research—and in light of the fact that the Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors (Code) had not undergone a thorough review since its inception in 1987—we began a thorough review of the Code. The revision of the Code of Ethics process was finalized and approved by CRCC’s Board of Directors. Additionally, CRCC completed its Job Functions and Knowledge Requirements Study also known as the Role & Function Study. This study is completed every 5 years.
  • 2006  –  CRCC released the 2006 Role & Function Study results.
  • 2007  –  The Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counselor certification was discontinued. The last exam was offered in April. CCRCs who maintained their credential can continue to renew through continuing education.
  • 2009 –  Acquisition of CVE, CWA, CCAA Certifications: In late 2008, the Commission on Certification Work Adjustment and Vocational Evaluation Specialists (CCWAVES) made a decision to discontinue operations. CCWAVES selected CRCC to become the beneficiary of the maintenance of their certifications: Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialists (CVE), Certified Work Adjustment Specialists (CWA), and Certified Career Assessment Associates (CCAA), effective April 1, 2009.
  • 2010  –  A third review and revision of the Code of Ethics was conducted and approved by the CRCC Board of Directors.
  • 2011  – CRCC released the latest Role & Function Study results.
  • 2016  –  CRCC eUNIVERSITY: CRCC’s online continuing education platform was launched August 1, 2016. In addition, CRCC released the latest Role & Function Study results.
  • 2017  –  A fourth review and revision of the Code of Ethics was performed and approved by the CRCC Board of Directors.
  • 2020  –  CRCC introduced its first CRC Amnesty Program and launched the new Certified Vocational Evaluator Specialist (CVE) application.
  • 2021  –  In partnership the University of Massachusetts-Boston Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) and the University of Wisconsin-Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute (SVRI), CRCC developed the National Training Center for Transformational Rehabilitation Leadership (NTCTRL) program. Upon successful completion of the curriculum and evaluation of the capstone project, program participants are awarded the Certified Rehabilitation Leader (CRL) credential managed by CRCC.
  • 2021 – Release of the 2021 Job Task Analysis, the new format for the traditional Role and Function Study.
  • 2022 – Launch of the Awareness, Belonging, and Courageous Leadership (ABCL) Certification in partnership with University of Arkansas.

Board of Directors

Kyle Walker



Trenton Landon

Ph.D., CRC


Patrick Devine



Megan Baumunk



Mary Hauff

At-Large Director

Dacia Johnson



Jennifer Percival



Melanie Stettner



Russell Thelin



Ken Weber



Emily Shuman


The CRCC team is YOUR team.

Pam Shlemon
Executive Director

Michelle Gross
Director of Certification and Credentialing Services
(847) 944-1322

Susan Brown Zahn, Ph.D.
Director of Education and Training
(847) 944-1305

Taylor Bauer
Communications & Marketing Manager
(847) 944-1308

Denise Mayes
IT/Database Coordinator
(847) 944-1307

Andrea Addy
Customer Service and Certification Processing Coordinator
(847) 944-1321

Samantha Dean
Education and Outreach Administrator
(847) 944-1306

Terri Berkowitz
Customer Service and  Certification Processing Coordinator
(847) 944-1347

Jennifer Marcu
Customer Service and Certification  Processing Supervisor
(847) 944-1310