Rehabilitation counseling is a specialty in the counseling profession, and graduate degree programs in the field are often offered through the health professions, psychiatry, counseling or community services departments of 4-year colleges and universities. Program fields in rehabilitation counseling include counseling theories and research methods. Students might learn how to provide mentally- and developmentally-disabled individuals with the life skills necessary to obtain jobs and support themselves in society.
A bachelor's degree is required before applying to a master's program.These 4-year degree programs require students to complete field internships or supervised counseling practicums that allow them to work with disabled adults. Voluntary certifications can be obtained by those who pass a qualifying examination.
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Psychiatric Rehabilitation Degree Program
Aspiring rehabilitation counselors learn how to work one-on-one with individuals to help them improve their personal, social and psychosocial skills. They complete courses covering patient assessment methods, individual counseling methods, types of mental, behavioral and psychological disorders as well as human development.
The courses included within a master's degree program in rehabilitation counseling should follow the standards set forth by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or a similar organization. Some examples of common courses include:
- Community resources
- Career development
- Group process
- Developmental psychology
- Vocational evaluation
- Supervised counseling practicum
Employment Options and Salary Info
Rehabilitation counselors made yearly median wages of $34,390 in 2015, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that these counselors had a projected job growth rate of 9%, from 2014-2024.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Rehabilitation counselors interested in gaining voluntary national certification can do so through organizations such as the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Some states even require rehabilitation counselors to gain this certification before they can legally begin to practice in the field. Individuals are required to complete an accredited educational program with an internship component before they are eligible to sit for a certification examination.
A master's degree program in rehabilitation counseling prepares students for certification and to begin work as rehabilitation counselors. Graduates of these programs have the necessary skills for helping individuals cope with mental or behavioral disorders.