Rehabilitation Counselors: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Most employers require a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field. Master’s degree programs teach students to evaluate clients’ needs, formulate and implement job placement strategies, and understand the medical and psychological aspects of disabilities. These programs typically include a period of supervised clinical experience, such as an internship.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 10% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Licenses/Certifications
Licensing requirements for rehabilitation counselors differ by state and by type of services provided. Rehabilitation counselors who provide counseling services to clients and patients must attain a counselor license through their state licensing board. Rehabilitation counselors who provide other services, however, may be exempt from state licensing requirements. For example, rehabilitation counselors who provide only vocational rehabilitation services or job placement assistance may not need a license.
Median pay: How much do Rehabilitation Counselors make?
$34,670 Annual Salary
$16.67 per hour

Rehabilitation counselors help people with physical, mental, developmental, or emotional disabilities live independently. They work with clients to overcome or manage the personal, social, or psychological effects of disabilities on employment or independent living.

What do Rehabilitation Counselors do?

Rehabilitation counselors typically do the following:

  • Provide individual and group counseling to help clients adjust to their disability
  • Evaluate clients’ abilities, interests, experiences, skills, health, and education
  • Develop a treatment plan for clients, in consultation with other professionals, such as doctors, therapists, and psychologists
  • Arrange for clients to obtain services, such as medical care or career training
  • Help employers understand the needs and abilities of people with disabilities, as well as laws and resources that affect people with disabilities
  • Help clients develop their strengths and adjust to their limitations
  • Locate resources, such as wheelchairs or computer programs, that help clients live and work more independently
  • Maintain client records and monitor clients’ progress, adjusting the rehabilitation or treatment plan as necessary
  • Advocate for the rights of people with disabilities to live in a community and work in the job of their choice

Rehabilitation counselors help people with disabilities at various stages in their lives. Some work with students, to develop strategies to live with their disability and transition from school to work. Others help veterans cope with the mental or physical effects of their military service. Still others help elderly people adapt to disabilities developed later in life from illness or injury. Some may provide expert testimony or assessments during personal-injury or workers’ compensation cases.

Careers for Rehabilitation Counselors

  • Certified rehabilitation counselors
  • Coordinators of rehabilitation services
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation counselors
  • Veterans rehabilitation counselors
  • Vocational rehabilitation counselors

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