Rehabilitation Counselor

Career Navigator, Career Specialist, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Classification Counselor   More Names
Classifications Officer CC/CM, Coach (Career Transition and Performance), Coordinator of Rehabilitation Services, Correctional Classification Counselor, Correctional Counselor/Case Manager, Counselor, Developmental Training Counselor, Direct Care Counselor, Direct Care Specialist, Director of Rehabilitation, Director of Vocational Evaluations/Rehabilitation Counselor, Disability Counselor, Disability Program Navigator, Employment Advisor, Employment Case Manager, Employment Evaluator/Case Manager, Employment Instructional Associate (EIA), Employment Specialist, Employment Specialist/Program Manager, Employment Trainer, Group Counselor, Group Home Counselor, Homemaking Rehabilitation Consultant, Human Services Care Specialist, Job Coach, Job Coach/Job Developer, Job Coaching, Job Developer, Job Developer for Deaf Adults, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), On-Site Services Specialist, Options Advisor, Placement Coordinator, Prevocational/Rehabilitation Counselor, Prison Classification Counselor, Program Specialist, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Counselor, Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Rehab/Pre-Vocational Counselor, Rehabilitation Counselor, Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Rehabilitation Counselors, Rehabilitation Engineer, Rehabilitation Liaison, Rehabilitation Services Counselor, Rehabilitation Services Specialist, Rehabilitation Specialist, Rehabilitation Technician, Residence Counselor, Resource Navigator, Senior Case Manager, Senior Staff-Specialized Employment, Supportive Employment Case Manager, Supportive Employment Program Specialist, Transition Specialist, Veterans Rehabilitation Counselor, Vocational Case Manager, Vocational Evaluator, Vocational Placement Specialist, Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VCR), Vocational Rehabilitation Manager, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, Vocational Rehabilitation Technician, Vocational Services Specialist

Help individuals deal with the personal, social, and vocational effects of disabilities. Counsel those with physical and emotional disabilities resulting from birth defects, illness, disease, accidents, or other causes.

Evaluate strengths and limitations of their clients, and provide personal and vocational counseling; case management support; and arrangements for medical care, vocational training, and job placement.

Rehabilitation counselors work at state and federal vocational rehabilitation agencies, mental health programs, rehabilitation centers, employee assistance programs, insurance companies, correctional facilities, private industry, and private practice. The number of rehabilitation counselors with their own private practice also is increasing.

Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals and their families, physicians, psychologists, educators, workforce counselors, occupational therapists, and employers to determine the skills, abilities, and capabilities of each client. The disabling conditions that they encounter may result from birth and heredity; physical and mental disability; illness and disease; work-related injuries and automobile accidents; the injuries and stresses of war; conditions of work and daily life; and the aging process.

Rehabilitation counselors initially assess a client's strengths and limitations and discuss their goals and options so that the appropriate rehabilitation plans, programs and services can be developed and delivered. They interview the client and family and review information received from interviews, educational and medical records, consultation with other professionals, and diagnostic evaluations that assess the client's abilities, needs, and eligibility for services. As needed, they arrange for further in-depth physical, mental, academic, vocational, and other evaluations to obtain more information to assess a client's needs and developing a rehabilitation plan.

Rehabilitation counselors use information gathered from the assessment process to develop an individual rehabilitation plan that fits the client's aptitudes, education levels, physical abilities, and career goals. They continue to work with the client to implement this plan, including coordinating medical care, mental health services, vocational education, training or retraining, workforce reintegration, job placement, and more. They also provide additional personal and career counseling services as needed.

Rehabilitation counselors monitor and record each client's progress to ensure that goals and objectives are met. This involves maintaining close contact with each client during job training and placement to resolve problems and evaluate placement adequacy. As required, they arrange for on-site job coaching or assistive technology and devices, such as a specially equipped wheelchair, to help their client adapt to work or school environments. They also prepare and maintain client records and case files.

As part of their responsibilities, rehabilitation counselors develop and maintain networks with community referral sources, schools and training providers, employers, and others. They remain alert to various kinds of barriers to client employment, including inaccessible work sites, inflexible schedules, and transportation problems. They then work with their clients, employers, local, state, and federal officials, and others to develop strategies that implement practical means to overcome these barriers.

Rehabilitation counselors are trained to recognize and address problems or barriers related to the physical environment and personal attitudes. They may help clients by providing education and advocacy services to individuals, families, and employers, as well as others in the community. They work towards increasing each person's capacity to live independently by facilitating and coordinating with other service providers.

In general, rehabilitation counselors should have a strong desire to help others and be able to inspire respect, trust, and confidence. They should be able to work both independently or as part of a team, and adhere to the code of ethics associated with their profession. They also need to have high physical and emotional energy to handle the array of problems and issues that they will face and need to address.

Credentials Needed: Rehabilitation counselors are eligible for licensure as professional counselors in a number of states. Additionally, several states offer a separate license specific to rehabilitation counseling. The state board of social work or state board of mental health is usually the licensing agency responsible for licensing rehabilitation counselors. Before beginning education and training for this profession, it is a good idea to check the licensing requirements for the state in which a rehabilitation counselor intends to practice.

The Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accredits graduate programs which provide academic preparation for a variety of professional rehabilitation counseling positions. CORE also recognizes undergraduate programs in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies through the CORE Registry. The Registry includes programs that meet curriculum and outcome standards and guidelines for undergraduate programs in rehabilitation. Links to both CORE accredited graduate programs and undergraduate recognized programs are provided on the CORE homepage.

The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) certifies rehabilitation counselors, thus setting the standard for quality rehabilitation counseling services in the United States and Canada. As an independent, not-for-profit organization, the CRCC has certified more than 35,000 counselors through the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) designation. More information on the CRCC and the CRC credential is available on the CRCC website.

Many State and local governments and other employers require rehabilitation counselors to have the CRC certification. To become certified, rehabilitation counselors usually must graduate from an accredited educational program, complete an internship, and pass a written examination.

Some Key Things to Remember: Rehabilitation counselors help individuals deal with the personal, social, and vocational effects of disabilities. They provide counseling services to those with physical and emotional disabilities resulting from birth defects, illness or disease, accidents, or other causes. A master's degree in rehabilitation counseling from an approved postsecondary education and training program is required for entry-level employment. A number of states require rehabilitation counselors to be licensed.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
9% - Average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $26,860 - $46,600    Hourly: $13 - $22
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
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Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Master's and Above (High School + 6 or more Years)
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Percent Job Growth:

9% - Average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $26,860 - $46,600

Hourly: $13 - $22