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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:
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.
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Rehabilitation Counselor
Top Careers After Rehabilitation Counselor
Hispanic or Latino9.1%
Black or African American0.8%
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University of Phoenix5.6%
Coppin State University4.9%
Virginia Commonwealth University4.6%
University of Maryland - Baltimore4.6%
West Virginia University4.6%
Southern Illinois University Carbondale4.2%
University of Maryland - Eastern Shore4.2%
University of Kentucky4.2%
Central Washington University4.2%
New York University3.9%
University of Maryland - Baltimore County3.5%
East Carolina University3.2%
State University of New York Buffalo3.2%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Rehabilitation Counselor||Evergreen Medical Clinic, PC||New York, NY||Sep 14, 2016||$80,000|
|Rehabilitation Counselor||Restore Rehab Services, LLC||Houston, TX||Sep 10, 2015||$70,000|
|Rehabilitation Counselor||Northshore Home Health Care, Inc.||Schaumburg, IL||Dec 01, 2013||$68,744|
|Rehabilitation Counselor||Northshore Home Health Care, Inc.||Schaumburg, IL||Jan 12, 2016||$68,744|
|Rehabilitation Counselor||Northshore Home Health Care, Inc.||Schaumburg, IL||Aug 03, 2015||$68,744|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||Interpreting and Consulting Services, Inc.||Benicia, CA||Aug 30, 2013||$55,245|
|Rehabilitation Counselor||First Class Physical Therapy, P.C.||Great Neck, NY||Sep 08, 2014||$54,808|
|Rehabilitation Counselor||Palladia Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 30, 2015||$53,135|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||R A S Health Care LLC||Cherry Hill, NJ||Aug 01, 2013||$50,088|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||R A S Health Care LLC||Cherry Hill, NJ||Aug 01, 2014||$50,088|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||Vesta, Inc.||Lexington Park, MD||May 07, 2013||$49,000|
|Rehabilitation Counselor||First Class Physical Therapy, P.C.||New York, NY||Sep 08, 2014||$46,030|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||Community Connections, Inc.||Washington, DC||Jan 28, 2014||$45,473|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||Boston Higashi School Inc.||Randolph, MA||Jan 16, 2014||$45,000|
|Rehabilitation Counselor (Primary Instructional Coordinator)||The Devereux Foundation-Kanner Center||Downingtown, PA||Mar 22, 2016||$37,044|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||Boston Higashi School Inc.||Randolph, MA||Aug 26, 2013||$37,000|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||Boston Higashi School Inc.||Randolph, MA||Jan 16, 2014||$36,816|
|Therapist/Rehabilitation Counselor||Salisbury Behavioral Health, Inc.||Glenside, PA||Jun 30, 2016||$36,600|
|Rehabilitation Counselor II (Case Manager)||The Devereux Foundation||Rutland, MA||Jul 30, 2013||$36,542 -
|Rehabilitation Counselors||Boston Higashi School Inc.||Randolph, MA||Jan 16, 2014||$36,192|
|Rehabilitation Counselor II||State of Nevada, Dept. of Employment, Training & R||Sparks, NV||Feb 15, 2014||$36,115|
|Rehabilitation Counselor II (Case Manager)||The Devereux Foundation||Rutland, MA||Jan 08, 2016||$31,242 -
|Rehabilitation Counselors (Assistant Program Mangers)||The Devereux Foundation||Rutland, MA||Jun 12, 2016||$31,242 -
|Rehabilitation Counselors (Assistant Program Mangers)||The Devereux Foundation||Rutland, MA||Oct 12, 2016||$31,242 -
|Rehabilitation Counselors II (Assistant Program Manger)||The Devereux Foundation||Rutland, MA||Jun 12, 2016||$31,242 -
|Rehabilitation Counselor||San Diego Second Chance Program||San Diego, CA||Sep 09, 2016||$31,200|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||Devereux Foundation||Downingtown, PA||Jan 07, 2014||$30,826|
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Rehabilitation Counselors - Career Profile
The Art of Rehabilitation Counseling by CRCC