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Rehabilitation Counselor

Career data updated last on 10/15/2014
Rehabilitation Counselor Rehabilitation counselors help people deal with the personal, social, and vocational effects of disabilities. They counsel people with disabilities resulting from birth defects, illness or disease, accidents, or the stress of daily life. They evaluate the strengths and limitations of individuals, provide personal and vocational counseling, and arrange for medical care, vocational training, and job placement. Rehabilitation counselors interview both individuals with disabilities and their families, evaluate school and medical reports, and confer and plan with physicians, psychologists, occupational therapists, and employers to determine the capabilities and skills of the individual. Conferring with the client, they develop a rehabilitation program that often includes training to help the person develop job skills. Rehabilitation counselors also work toward increasing the client’s capacity to live independently.
Salary $16.23/hr - $33.760
Significant Points A master’s degree is often required to be licensed or certified as a counselor.
Work Environment Rehabilitation counselors are employed at state and federal vocational rehabilitation agencies, comprehensive rehabilitation centers, mental health programs, employee assistance programs, sheltered workshops, insurance companies and private industry. Rehabilitation counselors usually work a standard 40-hour week.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including biology and chemistry, one physical science and one lab course; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History; and two years of a second language.
Academic Requirements

A master's degree is required to be a rehabilitation counselor. A baccalaureate degree in psychology, education or rehabilitation counseling is good preparation for the program in rehabilitation counseling. The educational program at the master's level usually takes two years and covers all aspects of the rehabilitation process, including a practicum in the planning and provision of rehabilitation services. A minimum of 600 hours of supervised clinical experience is required. The Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), accredits graduate programs in rehabilitation counseling. Accredited master’s degree programs include a minimum of 2 years of full-time study, including 600 hours of supervised clinical internship experience.

Another organization, the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, offers voluntary national certification for rehabilitation counselors. Many employers require rehabilitation counselors to be nationally certified. To become certified, rehabilitation counselors usually must graduate from an accredited educational program, complete an internship, and pass a written examination. (Certification requirements vary according to an applicant’s educational history. Employment experience, for example, is required for those with a counseling degree in a specialty other than rehabilitation.) After meeting these requirements, candidates are designated “Certified Rehabilitation Counselors.” To maintain their certification, counselors must successfully retake the certification exam or complete 100 hours of acceptable continuing education credit every 5 years.


University of Northern Colorado
Bachelor Degree Bachelor's
Doctoral Degree Doctoral
Masters Degree Master's

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