Vocational Rehab Technician: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Find out what a vocational rehab technician does. Learn about the training, skills, salary, employment outlook and alternative career paths, to see if this is the right occupation for you.

Career Definition for a Vocational Rehab Technician

Vocational rehab technicians, or rehabilitation counselors, help people who have suffered injuries or who are chronically disabled learn skills that will help them find and hold jobs. They can teach patients physical skills used in daily activity or they can help patients with their social interaction skills. Vocational rehab technicians are also responsible for assessing the employment potential of their clients and helping with job placement once their rehabilitation is complete. They also arrange for clients to get to career training and help employers understand a client's needs.

Required Education Master's degree in rehabilitation counseling often required; some jobs require only a high school diploma
Job Skills Communication skills, motivational skills, compassion, ability to read and administer diagnostic skills tests
Median Salary (2017)* $34,860 (rehabilitation counselors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 13% growth (rehabilitation counselors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

Most vocational rehab technology positions require a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling; however, jobs are available in the field with only a high school diploma. Master's degree programs include coursework in anatomy, psychology, physiology, sociology, and chemistry, as well as supervised experience through an internship.

While licensure isn't always required to work in this field, employers may prefer that vocational rehab technicians be licensed, which requires completing a master's degree, clinical experience, and a state exam. Certification is also available through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

Necessary Skills

Vocational rehabilitation technicians need to have excellent communication and motivational skills and should be sympathetic to their patients' needs and disabilities. They should also be capable of administering and scoring diagnostic tests and able to measure their patients' rehabilitation progress.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that jobs for rehabilitation counselors would grow by 13% from 2016 to 2026. The median salary in 2017 for rehabilitation counselors was reported by the BLS as $34,860 annually, depending on job duties, employer, and education.

Alternate Career Options

Here are some examples of alternative career options:

Occupational Therapist

Normally earning at least a master's degree in occupational therapy, in addition to their licensing or registration, these therapists treat disabled and injured patients using the therapeutic attributes of normal, everyday activities. Much faster-than-average employment growth of 24% was anticipated by the BLS, from 2016-2026. In 2017, an annual median salary of $83,200 was reported by the BLS.

School and Career Counselor

In order to obtain required credentials, most of these counselors must earn a master's degree to secure employment helping students develop social skills or assisting older clients in their choices of educational programs or careers. The BLS reported an annual median wage of $55,410 in 2017 and predicted a faster-than-average job growth of 13% during the 2016-2026 decade.

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