|Recommended Degree Level||Master's|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||104,070|
|Annual Job Growth Rate||4.3%|
|Job Openings per Year (est.)||6,440|
What's needed: In order to work as a rehabilitation counselor in a private facility, you must hold an M.A. degree in rehabilitation counseling. If you hold only a B.A. degree in rehabilitation counseling, you may be able to work in a public facility while studying for your M.A. Most individuals who aspire to leadership roles in counseling facilities hold a doctorate in counseling or clinical psychology.
What you study:
You will study all of the following in a rehabilitation counseling program:
- Rehabilitation Counseling Practices
- Professional Ethics
- Rehab Counseling Research
- Rehab Assessment
- Case Management
- Psychological Aspects of Disability
- Medical Aspects of Disability
- Counseling Practicum
Overviews the rehabilitation counselor career. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.
A Day in the Life
When you arrive at your office every morning, you review the files of clients you will be working with during the day. You prepare the materials you plan to use during your counseling sessions and contact any medical providers, family members or social workers from whom you need information to best assist your client. One of your clients' social workers calls to discuss that individual's eligibility for an independent living program. When you have time, you'll research the specific program and will call the social worker back to talk about whether or not it is a good fit for the client.
Your first client of the day arrives about one hour after you've gotten to your office. The receptionist leads the client to your office and gives you any updated paperwork that the client filled out while waiting to see you. You ask your client how she is doing and offer her water or coffee. After you've gotten daily pleasantries out of the way, you talk with your client about how she is adjusting to her new work training program. By carefully listening to what she says, you identify whether or not she is having difficulties adapting to the program and offer solutions that will help her overcome her physical, emotional or mental disability.
The majority of your client sessions last for about an hour. When you've finished with your session, you make sure that your client knows when she will see you again and show her out. You spend a few minutes updating the client's file. You call the job training coordinator she's working with and discuss a special modification that will help your client adjust to her program.
You see six other clients during the day and help them cope with physical, emotional and mental disabilities. You refer some of your clients to other professionals to help them learn financial and life skills. Before you go home for the evening, you return all of your client files to a locked filing cabinet. You double-check to make sure that you've made all the calls necessary regarding your clients and quickly review your schedule for the next day. You check in with your supervisor, give brief updates on your clients and head home.
Certifications and Licensing
In order to work as a rehab counselor, you must hold a state-issued credential or certificate. Most states require that certificate candidates hold an M.A. degree in rehab counseling and complete up to 3,000 supervised clinical hours. You must also pass a background check.
Full-time versus part-time:
Most rehab counselors work full-time. Many counselors also work overtime or adjust their schedules to meet client needs. Counselors who are working towards their certification in this field may work part-time schedules in order to fulfill their experience requirements.
Rehab counselors can work in both private and public counseling facilities. The type of facility in which you work is largely a matter of personal preference. Many counselors prefer to work for private facilities because they deal with fewer bureaucratic issues than those counselors who work in public facilities.
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook for Rehabilitation Counselors: This handbook provides general information about careers in rehab counseling and serves as a good starting point for individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in this field. Prospective counselors should also visit websites that are not statistics-oriented for a holistic view of careers in this field.
- American Rehabilitation Counseling Association: ARCA's website includes information about professional conferences, awards and continued education in the field. A special section of the site is designed for counseling students and provides a wide variety of career, mentorship and learning resources.
- National Rehabilitation Counseling Association: The NRCA website is geared towards professionals in the counseling field who wish to network and access career boards and professional insurance providers. While the site's content is geared towards experienced counselors, some information is available for students in the field who belong to NRCA chapters nationwide.