A 2-year graduate degree program in vocational rehabilitation allows you to choose a particular concentration, such as rehabilitation counseling, rehabilitation leadership or vocational evaluation. Students learn how to recognize and assess mental and physical disorders that might prevent patients from holding down steady employment. They also learn how to either treat those disorders or provide patients with the means to work or communicate around the disorders. Many degree programs in vocational rehabilitation require the completion of classroom or seminar hours, supervised clinical experience hours and thesis research hours.
A baccalaureate degree is the most common prerequisite to gaining admittance into a master's degree program in vocational rehabilitation. Some universities also require incoming graduate students to have a minimum of two years of relevant experience in the field.
Master's Degree Programs in Vocational Rehabilitation
The courses found within a graduate program in vocational rehabilitation provide an advanced theoretical and practical background in rehabilitation counseling. Some core courses include:
- Special topics on rehabilitation
- Community-based rehabilitation services
- Sign language
- Rehabilitation and clinical dependency
- Laboratory in rehabilitative technology
- Workforce development and disability
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 101,630 rehabilitation counselors working in the United States in 2015. Rehabilitation counseling jobs in particular were predicted to increase 9% from 2014-2024, which was faster than average. The mean annual wage for rehabilitation counselors in 2015 was $38,040.
Continuing Education Options
Vocational rehabilitation counselors can elect to earn national certification from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Some employers require vocational rehabilitation counselors to hold this certification, while others do not. To gain the certification, individuals must hold a graduate degree in the field, complete a clinical internship and pass a national examination.
To summarize, students seeking a master's degree in vocational rehabilitation can expect to devote two years of study to this program, which might allow them to specialize in a subfield. Upon graduating, students will be qualified for careers in the rehabilitation counseling field. They can also pursue voluntary professional certification.