Rehabilitation Nurse: Education and Training Program Info

Rehabilitation nurses work with chronically ill or disabled patients. While most rehabilitation-focused RNs gain on-the-job training, some enroll in a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Nursing program to gain an educational background in the field.

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Essential Information

Master's degree programs in rehabilitation nursing are designed to prepare registered nurses (RNs) to become clinical nurse specialists who provide rehabilitative care. Aspiring rehabilitation nurses learn how to tend to disabled and chronically ill patients while at the same time educating patients and family members on rehabilitation practices and techniques. Students can gain an understanding of both the clinical skills and the holistic remedies commonly used by rehabilitation nurses. Programs combine seminars in nursing research with extended clinical experiences. Certifications are awarded to those who have the requisite experience and pass an examination.

For enrollment, students need to have a bachelor's degree and must be a registered nurse with at least one year of clinical experience.

Master's Degree Programs in Rehabilitation Nursing

These programs train students to help prevent illness, promote over-all wellness, manage illness and disabilities and minimize physical handicaps as much as possible. Classes combine core nursing research with advanced practice nursing courses and specialty rehabilitation nursing courses. Examples of each include:

  • Principles of rehabilitation nursing
  • Advanced practice nursing
  • Nursing research
  • Health policy and leadership nursing
  • Leadership in rehabilitation nursing
  • Advanced rehabilitation theory

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) combines rehabilitation nurses into the broader category of registered nurses. The BLS reported that RNs held over 2.7 million positions across the country in 2015 ( According to, certified rehabilitation nurses with the registered nurse job title earned between $23.67 and $39.07 per hour in September 2016.

Certification Options

Rehabilitation nurses can gain certification from the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. The association houses the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board (RNCB), which administers the Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse (CRRN) credential. Individuals must pass an examination to earn the designation. To gain eligibility to sit for the examination, RNs must have two years of experience working in a rehabilitation facility. Alternatively, they may have one year of experience in addition to at least one year of post-graduate study, such as a master's degree program in advance practice nursing.

RNs with an interest in helping patients with disabilities or chronic illnesses may pursue a master's degree program in rehabilitation nursing. Learning to teach patients and their families how to implement rehabilitation techniques is a key component of this program.

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