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Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling: Jobs & Salary

A background in rehabilitation counseling can be applied to a few careers that counsel and treat members of the public who are struggling with a variety of disabilities. Learn about some of the available careers for this degree, as well as the median salary and job growth for each position.

Graduates with a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling will have the necessary skills to work a variety of counseling and social service careers. Here we look at a handful of related career options for those who hold a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling.

Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Rehabilitation Counselors $34,670 9%
Mental Health Counselors $42,840 20%
School and Career Counselors $54,560 8%
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors $41,070 22%
Social Workers $46,890 12%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Career Descriptions

Rehabilitation Counselors

A great and obvious career choice for those with a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling is that of a rehabilitation counselor. These counselors need a master's degree in the field, as well as possible certification or licensure, to learn the necessary counseling skills to work with clients that have a variety of emotional, physical, mental or developmental disabilities. They counsel these patients with the goal of helping them live independently by discussing ways to overcome and/or manage their particular disability. They may need to address the different psychological, social and personal effects of the disability, discuss treatment plan options and locate needed resources, such as wheelchairs. These counselors may also work with their patients' employers and families to help them understand how to accommodate the patients and understand their special needs.

Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counselors also need a master's degree and license to practice, and a background in rehabilitation counseling could apply to counseling the different mental and emotional disorders of patients in this field. Mental health counselors may counsel individuals, groups, families or couples to help them process issues like anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem and more. They give clients tools for coping with and responding healthily to hard life circumstances and changes, such as a divorce or unemployment. These counselors may also introduce clients to additional community resources that may be able to help them improve their particular circumstance.

School and Career Counselors

School counselors usually need a master's degree and state credential, while some career counselors may need a master's degree and a license. A background in rehabilitation counseling would prepare these school and career counselors to help students or those looking for jobs, as they are trained to help people with various disabilities function and succeed in school and/or work. School counselors may work in elementary, middle or high schools to help equip students with the necessary academic and social skills that they need to meet their educational goals and move onto the next level. Career counselors may work at colleges or other organizations that aim to match a client's skill set with a career and then help them prepare for the application process.

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Some substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors may be required to hold a master's degree and/or certification, and one in rehabilitation counseling could give graduates the counseling skills needed to help their patients change their thought processes and attitudes about their current conditions. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors counsel clients with various issues, like like substance addiction or dependency, and develop individualized treatment plans to help them change their behaviors. After assessing their clients' goals, they explain the treatment options to the client. They may also work with clients' families on how best to support the client and recommend additional community resources if needed.

Social Workers

Social workers typically earn a bachelor's or master's degree in social worker, but for an entry-level social worker in a non-clinical position, a master's degree in a related field, such as rehabilitation counseling, could prove beneficial. A master's degree in rehabilitation counseling could help social workers further develop their counseling skills as they may encounter clients with a variety of disabilities or clients having a hard time dealing with big life changes. Social workers identify a client's needs and connect them with available community resources, and then they provide additional follow-up visits to ensure that a client's situation is improving. These professionals may also respond to crisis situations, provide psychotherapy services and evaluate the effectiveness of current resources.

A master's degree in rehabilitation counseling qualifies graduates for several different counseling-related careers. Per the BLS, most of these careers offer median salaries less than $50,000, and all are expected to have positive job growth in the future.


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