What is a Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors include Allied Health professionals working in a case management and therapy system to help individuals with disabilities, health, or social disadvantages to engaging in or independently live and gain access to resources in the neighborhood.

Some rehabilitation counselor work with State- and Federal-funded rehabilitation providers to help people with disabilities, health conditions, or disadvantages to get 'back on their feet' and into the paid workforce.

As a rehabilitation counselor, you should possess considerable professional and academic skills on which to build. During your career, you may find yourself working in fields such as counseling therapy, university lecturing, research, management, or developing new disability programs.

The current median pay for a rehabilitation counselor is around $35,950 annually. However, this figure can vary significantly depending upon your experience, skills, or organization.

What Does a Rehabilitation 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.

Learn more about what a Rehabilitation Counselor does

How To Become a Rehabilitation 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.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

Average Salary
$36,189
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
10%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
30,255
Job Openings
resume document icon

Don't Have A Professional Resume?

0 selections

Rehabilitation Counselor Career Paths

Top Careers Before Rehabilitation Counselor

Top Careers After Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation Counselor Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Create The Perfect Resume

Our resume builder tool will walk you through the process of creating a stand-out Rehabilitation Counselor resume.

resume icon

Average Salary for a Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation Counselors in America make an average salary of $36,189 per year or $17 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $54,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $23,000 per year.
Average Salary
$36,189
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Rehabilitation Counselor? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.
See More Salary Information

Calculate your salary

Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

Rehabilitation Counselor Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Rehabilitation Counselor. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Rehabilitation Counselor Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Rehabilitation Counselor resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Rehabilitation Counselor Resume Examples And Templates

Rehabilitation Counselor Demographics

Rehabilitation Counselor Gender Statistics

female

62.7 %

male

31.9 %

unknown

5.4 %

Rehabilitation Counselor Ethnicity Statistics

White

68.9 %

Black or African American

16.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.6 %

Rehabilitation Counselor Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

56.9 %

French

10.8 %

Portuguese

3.9 %
Job Openings

Find the best Rehabilitation Counselor job for you

0 selections
0 selections

Rehabilitation Counselor Jobs You Might Like

Show More Rehabilitation Counselor Demographics

Create The Perfect Resume

Our resume builder tool will walk you through the process of creating a stand-out Rehabilitation Counselor resume.

resume icon

Rehabilitation Counselor Education

Rehabilitation Counselor Majors

Rehabilitation Counselor Degrees

Bachelors

59.4 %

Masters

25.5 %

Associate

8.8 %

Check Jobs That Match To Your Education

None
High School / GED
Associate
Bachelor's
Master's
Doctorate

Top Colleges for Rehabilitation Counselors

1. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

2. University of South Florida

Tampa, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,410
Enrollment
31,321

3. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

4. Hunter College of the City University of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,182
Enrollment
16,205

5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

6. California State University - Dominguez Hills

Carson, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,942
Enrollment
13,871

7. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166

10. SUNY at Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,011
Enrollment
13,434
Show More Rehabilitation Counselor Education Requirements
Job Openings

Find the best Rehabilitation Counselor job for you

0 selections
0 selections

Rehabilitation Counselor Jobs You Might Like

Online Courses For Rehabilitation Counselor That You May Like

Rehabilitation after COVID-19
coursera

COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) has significantly resulted in a large number of medical, social, and psychological consequences. In light of all the harmful ramifications that derived from the COVID-19, implementation of evidence-based care interventions is required. Early and ongoing comprehensive rehabilitation that target physical and psychological recovery, along with adequate social support, may help recover from COVID-19 attain full and meaningful lives. Post COVID-19 rehabilitation,...

Addiction & Mental Health (Dual Diagnosis) Integrative 12hrs
udemy
4.6
(1,203)

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Interventions: Drug & Alcohol Addiction & Mental Health - Integrative Holistic Approach...

Addiction & Mental Health - Chemically Speaking Two (2hrs)
udemy
4.3
(251)

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Interventions - Understand Drug & Alcohol Addiction & Mental Health. How to help people...

Show More Rehabilitation Counselor Courses
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Rehabilitation Counselor

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.1% of Rehabilitation Counselors listed Mental Health on their resume, but soft skills such as Communication skills and Patience are important as well.

12 Rehabilitation Counselor RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Rehabilitation Counselor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Rehabilitation Counselor. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, New Jersey, Colorado, and Washington. Rehabilitation Counselors make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $54,500. Whereas in New Jersey and Colorado, they would average $51,728 and $47,787, respectively. While Rehabilitation Counselors would only make an average of $46,895 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Rehabilitation Counselor Jobs:
137
Highest 10% Earn:
$62,000
Location Quotient:
1.67
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Jersey

Total Rehabilitation Counselor Jobs:
911
Highest 10% Earn:
$78,000
Location Quotient:
1.17
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Maine

Total Rehabilitation Counselor Jobs:
251
Highest 10% Earn:
$62,000
Location Quotient:
1.92
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Rehabilitation Counselors

How Do Rehabilitation Counselor Rate Their Jobs?

Working as a Rehabilitation Counselor? Share your experience anonymously.
Do you work as a Rehabilitation Counselor?
Rate how you like work as Rehabilitation Counselor. It's anonymous and will only take a minute.

Rehabilitation Counselor Videos