Rehabilitation Counseling Schools Colleges & Universities

Search for rehabilitation counseling schools and colleges offering degree programs that prepare you for this specialized, fast-growing field.

Degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling: Healing Others for a Better Future: Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals who have physical, mental, or emotional handicaps. They assess the disability and design training programs that help their clients lead comfortable, productive lives at work and at home. Part of their role may include preparing individuals for attending school, training for a new career, or in coordinating additional long-term care. Rehabilitation counselors may spend five years or more working with an individual in assessing handicaps, designing rehabilitation or vocational programs, and in providing transitional support.

Graduates of rehabilitation counseling colleges often take jobs with vocational rehabilitation service organizations, in-patient treatment facilities, healthcare organizations, colleges and schools, state and local agencies, and counseling agencies. They often work in concert with physicians, employers, psychologists, as well as occupational and speech therapists in the design of an optimal program for a client.

Related professions include vocational counselors, employment counselors, mental health counselors, and school counselors.

Degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling: Most state and federal organizations that hire rehabilitation counselors prefer candidates who have earned a master's degree. Rehabilitation counseling schools have 50-60 credit programs leading to the master's degree. You can begin preparation for the field by earning a bachelor's degree in psychology, counseling, or a related social science degree.

You'll also find post-baccalaureate certificate programs at rehabilitation counseling schools that lead to a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential. Students can use their credits in transferring to a full master's degree program if they decide to continue their education.

Schools offering degrees in rehabilitation counseling provide coursework and training in the following:

  • • techniques for individual, environmental, and group assessment
  • • counseling theory and practice
  • • psychological and physical aspects of disability
  • • case management and state laws
  • • career assessment
  • • retraining and job placement

Admission requirements vary by type of degree and institution. Rehabilitation counseling colleges offering post-graduate programs typically require applicants to hold a bachelor degree in any field, combined with job experience related to rehabilitation counseling or serving people with disabilities.

Rehabilitation Counseling Salaries and Job Outlook: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 2009 median annual wage of $31,210 for rehabilitation counselors, with a top-end salary of $55,580.

The BLS projects an overall job growth for rehabilitation counselors at 19 percent between 2008 and 2018. More Americans will need rehabilitation counseling as the elderly population increases during the decade.

Advancing Your Rehabilitation Counseling Career: There are many professional organizations and associations that support rehabilitation counselors, including:

  • • The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)
  • • The American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA)
  • • The National Rehabilitation Counseling Association (NRCA)

The CRCC grants certifications to qualified graduates of accredited colleges and schools that offer degrees in rehabilitation counseling. While all states do not require certification, Federal agencies do. And you can improve your candidacy to many rehabilitation counseling jobs by combining your work experience with passing of the CRCC certification examination.

With experience, rehabilitation counselors can advance to positions as supervisors or administrators of their agencies. You may also choose to go into rehabilitation counseling education, extended research, or offer your services as a rehabilitation counseling consultant.

The writer Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network, Microsoft Encarta, and other websites and print magazines around the world. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.

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