Rehabilitation counselors essential information:
- 2011 median pay: $33,740
- 2010, number of jobs: 129,800
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 28 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Master’s degree
Rehabilitation counselors; what they do:
The work of rehabilitation counselors often makes the difference between joblessness and long-term gainful employment for those with addictions or other life challenges. A rehabilitation counselor career includes working with people who have personal, social or vocational difficulties because of illness, birth defects, accidents or other stresses.
The work of rehabilitation counselors also helps enable people with emotional and physical disabilities to live on their own. A rehabilitation counselor can help a client overcome the personal, social and professional ramifications of having a disability that interferes with employment or independent living.
Addictions counselor careers and substance abuse counselor careers involve dealing with the special needs of those overcoming drug and alcohol problems.
Rehabilitation counseling involves evaluating clients’ skills, values, interests, experience and health to help them find suitable work.
Rehabilitation counselors job duties:
- Developing rehabilitation plans that fit clients’ physical and mental abilities, education and career goals
- Monitoring and recording clients’ progress
- Preparing and maintaining records and case files
- Maintaining contact with clients during job training and placement
- Conferring with medical and therapy professionals to implement clients’ rehabilitation plans
- Arranging for various evaluations to obtain information for assessing clients’ needs and developing rehabilitation plans
- Locating and developing strategies to overcome barriers to client employment, such as inaccessible work sites, inflexible schedules and transportation problems
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Rehabilitation counselors job titles:
- Case manager
- Job coach
- Vocational placement specialist
- Program specialist
- Program coordinator
- Human services care specialist
- Vocational rehabilitation counselor
- Vocational case manager
- Addictions Counselor
- Substance Abuse Counselors
Rehabilitation Counselors Education, Certification and License Requirements
An entry-level rehabilitation counselor usually needs a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, but master’s degree programs accept candidates with a bachelor’s degrees in almost any field. The Council on Rehabilitation Education provides accreditation for rehabilitation counseling master degree programs.
A master’s degree program often incorporates a period of supervised rehabilitation counseling, such as an internship, into the learning process.
A bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation and disability studies sometimes qualifies candidates for work in the rehabilitation counseling field, but the lack of a master’s degree typically limits the services they can provide.
Some employers seek licensed or certified rehabilitation counselors. Licensing and certification require a master’s degree, specified work experience, passing grades on licensing or certification exams and continuing education credits.
Rehabilitation counselors programs cover subjects such as:
- Counseling theories
- Personality theory
- Treatment methods
- Introductory counseling and psychotherapy
- Group counseling
- Substance abuse prevention
- Abnormal psychology
- Professional ethics
Rehabilitation Counselors Job Outlook
Forecast: 28 percent increase in rehabilitation counselor jobs from 2010 to 2020 as the elderly population grows. Aging brings an increased likelihood of accidental injuries, and rehabilitation counselors help clients learn to adjust to new disabilities so they can continue to live independently.
The needs of injured veterans and people with disabilities increases the demand for rehabilitation counselors.
Rehabilitation Counselors Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $33,740
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $45,410
- 2011, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $25,880
- Vocational rehab services
- State government
- Individual and family services
- Residential facilities
- Local government