Rehabilitation counselors work in a diversity of settings, including vocational, medical, and psychiatric centers, correctional institutions, in alcohol and drug abuse programs, and in private practice.

The Role of the Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counseling has emerged as a counseling specialization and distinct profession concerned with people who have disabilities. It is an expanding field whose growth can be seen in both the increasing body of knowledge which constitutes the discipline and in the many settings where it is practiced. The rehabilitation counselor is one of a number of specialists working in a unified effort to help individuals with disabilities move toward living life as fully and as independently as possible. Disability is broadly considered to include a physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities. The competencies and skills of the rehabilitation counselor may be applied to a host of human problems, hence, the Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling makes our graduates successful in a wide variety of settings and client populations.

Although the role and function of the counselor will vary depending upon the nature of their employment, the primary approach provided by the rehabilitation counselor is usually a close, individualized, ongoing therapeutic relationship with the client. The uniqueness of the client and the agency setting circumscribe the counselor's role. This generally includes counseling with the goal of helping the client to resolve personal, family, social, educational, and vocational issues. Services may be provided on a one-to-one or family counseling basis or within the context of a group (e.g. counseling, educational, or support groups). In many settings, the rehabilitation counselor may also provide and arrange other services such as diagnostic evaluation, work adjustment training, educational or vocational placement, community and client advocacy, and service planning, supervision and coordination.


The program is fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Counselor Education (CORE) and students are eligible to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC) after successfully passing the certification examination in the Spring semester of their second year.

Employment after Graduation


The rehabilitation counseling profession is expecting faster than average growth over the next 10 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rehabilitation counselors work in a broad range of environments including vocational, rehabilitation, and other community settings. Examples of vocational placements include state divisions of vocational rehabilitation, vocational evaluation programs, vocational counseling centers, school transition programs, and sheltered workshops. Additional rehabilitation-oriented settings include: substance abuse rehabilitation centers, medical rehabilitation centers, state agencies serving those with visual impairments, mental health hospitals, community rehabilitation programs, and agencies and schools for children with intellectual and other disabilities. The rehabilitation counselor may also be found in other community based support programs such as mental health agencies, medical centers, nursing homes, Independent Living Centers, multi-purposed community centers, disability advocacy organizations, youth and family service agencies, penal and correctional institutions, Employee Assistance Programs, alcohol and drug abuse programs, and private practice.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH): Overall employment of counselors is expected to grow by approximately 9% in the next 10 years totaling over 10,000 new jobs. In addition, replacement needs should increase significantly as a large number of counselors reach retirement age. Median earnings for full-time educational and vocational counselors in state and local government program was approximately $45,530 and overall was $36,200. The industries that employ the most rehabilitation counselors are vocational rehabilitation services, state and local governments, individual and family services, and nursing and residential support facilities.

Follow-up data with graduates from this and other rehabilitation counseling programs reveals that many graduates are promoted to supervisory/management positions as quickly as two years after graduation. Also, a small percentage go on to earn doctoral degrees in the field.

For more information about Rehabilitation Counselor occupations try the ONET and CRC resources.