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Become An Employment Counselor

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Working As An Employment Counselor

  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $45,333

    Average Salary

What Does An Employment Counselor Do

Rehabilitation counselors help people with physical, mental, developmental, and emotional disabilities live independently. They work with clients to overcome or manage the personal, social, or psychological effects of disabilities on employment or independent living.

Duties

Rehabilitation counselors typically do the following:

  • Provide individual and group counseling to help clients adjust to their disability
  • Evaluate clients’ abilities, interests, experiences, skills, health, and education
  • Develop a treatment plan for clients in consultation with other professionals, such as doctors, therapists, and psychologists
  • Arrange for clients to obtain services, such as medical care or career training
  • Help employers understand the needs and abilities of people with disabilities, as well as laws and resources that affect people with disabilities
  • Help clients develop their strengths and adjust to their limitations
  • Locate resources, such as wheelchairs or computer programs, that help clients live and work more independently
  • Maintain client records and monitor clients’ progress, adjusting the rehabilitation or treatment plan as necessary
  • Advocate for the rights of people with disabilities to live in a community and work in the job of their choice

Rehabilitation counselors help people with disabilities at various stages in their lives. Some work with students to develop strategies to live with their disability and move from school to work. Others help veterans cope with the mental or physical effects of their military service. Still others help elderly people adapt to disabilities developed later in life from illness or injury. Some may provide expert testimony or assessments during personal injury or workers’ compensation cases.

Some rehabilitation counselors deal specifically with employment issues. These counselors, sometimes called vocational rehabilitation counselors, typically work with older students and adults.

Rehabilitation counselors who work in private practice must spend time marketing their practice to prospective clients and working with insurance companies and clients to get paid for their services.

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How To Become An Employment Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors typically need a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field. Some positions require certification or a license.

Education

Most employers require a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field. A bachelor’s degree in most fields is acceptable to enter a master’s degree program. Master’s degree programs teach students the theories, skills, and techniques that will enable them to provide effective mental health counseling. These programs also train students in evaluating clients’ needs, formulating and implementing job placement strategies, and understanding the medical and psychological aspects of a disability. They typically require a period of supervised clinical experience, such as an internship.

Although some employers hire workers with a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation and disability studies, these workers typically cannot offer the full range of services that a rehabilitation counselor with a master’s degree can provide. Students in bachelor’s degree programs learn about issues that people with disabilities face and about the process of providing rehabilitation services. Some universities offer dual-degree programs in rehabilitation counseling, in which students can earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 5 years.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensing requirements for rehabilitation counselors differ by state and by type of services provided. Those providing counseling services to clients and patients must attain a license through their state licensing board. Other services provided by rehabilitation counselors, however, may be exempt from state licensing requirements. For example, rehabilitation counselors who provide only vocational rehabilitation services or job placement assistance may not need a license.

Licensure typically requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. In addition, counselors must pass a state-recognized exam. To maintain their licensure, counselors must complete annual continuing education credits.

Applicants should contact their state licensing board for information on what services or counseling positions require licensure. Contact information for these state licensing boards can be found through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

Some employers prefer or require rehabilitation counselors to be certified. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification offers the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) certification. Applicants must meet advanced education, work experience, and clinical supervision requirements and pass a test. Certification must be renewed every 5 years. Counselors must complete continuing education requirements or pass a reexamination to renew their certification.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Rehabilitation counselors need to be able to effectively communicate with clients. They must express ideas and information in a way that is easy to understand.

Compassion. Counselors often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations. They must be compassionate and empathize with their clients.

Critical-thinking skills. Counselors must be able to develop a treatment plan to help clients reach their goals by considering each client’s abilities and interests.   

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different types of people is essential for rehabilitation counselors, who spend most of their time working directly with clients, families, employers, or other professionals. They must be able to develop and maintain good working relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for rehabilitation counselors. They need to give their full attention in sessions in order to understand clients’ problems, concerns, and values.

Patience. To help people learn new skills and strategies, rehabilitation counselors must have patience as clients struggle to learn about and address their disabilities.

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Employment Counselor Demographics

Gender

Female

63.6%

Male

33.9%

Unknown

2.5%
Ethnicity

White

61.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

5.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.5%

French

5.9%

Portuguese

4.7%

Swahili

3.5%

Somali

3.5%

Korean

3.5%

Russian

3.5%

German

3.5%

Arabic

2.4%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Hmong

1.2%

Hindi

1.2%

Mandarin

1.2%

Khmer

1.2%

Aramaic

1.2%

Thai

1.2%

Cantonese

1.2%

Braille

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Greek

1.2%
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Employment Counselor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.7%

University of Utah

10.7%

Capella University

8.7%

Liberty University

6.0%

Utah State University

5.3%

Saint Cloud State University

5.3%

Webster University

4.7%

National University

4.0%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

4.0%

University of Southern California

4.0%

George Mason University

4.0%

Houston Community College

3.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.3%

University of Houston

3.3%

University of Memphis

3.3%

Cambridge College

3.3%

Hofstra University

3.3%

Grand Canyon University

3.3%

Syracuse University

2.7%

Troy University

2.7%
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Majors

Business

13.4%

Psychology

10.3%

Social Work

9.5%

Law

7.4%

Human Resources Management

6.3%

School Counseling

6.2%

Education

5.0%

Counseling Psychology

4.7%

Sociology

4.7%

Human Services

4.7%

Criminal Justice

4.5%

Communication

3.9%

Rehabilitation Science

3.4%

Public Administration

2.9%

Management

2.8%

Mental Health Counseling

2.6%

Liberal Arts

2.3%

Political Science

2.1%

Elementary Education

1.7%

Educational Leadership

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

34.9%

Masters

32.9%

Other

13.9%

Doctorate

7.4%

Associate

5.6%

Certificate

3.9%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.1%
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Real Employment Counselor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Fair Employment Counselor Foot Locker, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $65,000
Professional Employment Counselor Tricom Quest Gardena, CA Sep 30, 2009 $35,166
Employment Counselor Lutheran Social Services Worcester, MA Sep 25, 2010 $29,218
Employment Counselor Arrive Ministries Richfield, MN Aug 21, 2014 $28,496
Employment Counselor World Relief Minnesota Richfield, MN Aug 24, 2014 $28,496

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Top Skills for An Employment Counselor

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  1. Public Assistance
  2. Counsel
  3. Job Placement
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Bridge to Work Program Coordinate employment search for individuals being removed from public assistance programs.
  • Coordinated support for customer with other employment counselors and services needed to provide complete re-employment assistance.
  • Case Management Job Placement/Retention Vocational/Educational Training Developing Outreach Programs Researching Labor/Civil Rights Laws Editing, Writing and Soliciting
  • Conduct research and contact new businesses; effectively communicate the services provided to the community, job seekers and other partners.
  • Counseled inmates transitioning into community life on job readiness and work ethics; conducted individual and group presentations.

How Would You Rate Working As an Employment Counselor?

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Top Employment Counselor Employers

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Jobs From Top Employment Counselor Employers

Employment Counselor Videos

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