Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist: Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and certification to find out if this is the right career for you.

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Psychosocial rehabilitation specialists help patients suffering from mental and emotional disorders to improve their social functionality. They need at least a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions, but most positions require a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. Licensure may also be required to practice in some states.

Essential Information

A psychosocial rehabilitation specialist treats patients with mental or emotional disorders by teaching them to function within their community. Treatment can address relationships with family, friends, and co-workers and often helps patients work toward living independently. Entry level jobs in this field require a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field; however, many employers prefer candidates who hold a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. Additional optional certification as a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) is available through the U.S. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA).

Required Education Master's degree in rehabilitation counseling for most positions; bachelor's degree acceptable for some entry-level positions
Other Requirements Optional U.S. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association certification; licensure required in some states
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% for all rehabilitation counselors
Median Wage (2015)* $34,390 annually for all rehabilitation counselors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialists

Psychosocial rehabilitation specialists are also known as psychiatric rehabilitation practitioners. They offer psychosocial and psychiatric rehabilitation services that help patients adjust to their social environment. Specialists may utilize medication and individual or group counseling, and they may provide assistance with job training, housing needs, and family support issues.

Psychosocial rehabilitation specialists assess a patient's current condition and level of social functionality. Then, they develop a treatment plan that helps a patient learn skill sets needed for independent living. Psychosocial rehabilitation specialists monitor patients' progress, help them achieve their social integration goals, and intervene in crisis situations.

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Education Requirements

While some psychosocial rehabilitation positions are entry-level with a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field, many employers require that the applicant have hold a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. Some positions may require additional previous work experience or certification.

Although not required to practice psychosocial rehabilitation, the Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) credential is offered by the U.S. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA). This designation is for people who work in the mental health field, such as counselors, social workers, and therapists. Education and work experience requirements for the CPRP vary:

  • A bachelor's degree in psychiatric rehabilitation requires six months of relevant work experience
  • An associate's degree in psychiatric rehabilitation requires one year of relevant work experience
  • A psychiatric rehabilitation certificate requires two years of relevant work experience

Applicants who have degrees or a certificate in other areas of the mental health field are required to complete an additional 45 hours of training in psychiatric rehabilitation.

The CPRP designation also requires applicants to pass a written exam that covers areas such as interpersonal relationships, patient assessment, treatment planning, social interaction, and goal achievement. Recertification is required every three years and includes either 45 hours of continuing education in psychiatric rehabilitation or retaking the CPRP exam.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of rehabilitation counselors of all kinds, including those specializing in psychosocial rehabilitation, will likely grow by 9% between 2014 and 2024. The median annual salary earned by such counselors was reported as $34,390 in May 2015 by the BLS.

Those who are interested in becoming a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist may earn a master's degree, considering that the majority of positions are available at this educational level. Interested candidates might also consider obtaining CPRP credentials in order to improve their authority in the field.

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