Rehabilitation Counselor Careers

What is Rehabilitation Counseling?

“ value their independence in a weird way, above practically everything.”

This quote by George Weinberg, a clinical psychologist from Manhattan, most likely sums up the majority of people’s lives. Men, along with women, typically crave independence. Even as most children grow up, they are constantly testing their boundaries, yearning for their independence. Many of us get our first tastes of independence after we move away from home, and enjoy it from that moment on.

However, some people might find it difficult to live independent lives, due to a number of different problems. These may include physical, emotional, mental, or social disabilities. Individuals with these problems will typically need to rely on others for their daily needs, which can put a strain on their psyche as well as their friends and families that need to cater to their needs.

Rehabilitation counseling is a type of counseling that focuses on helping individuals become more independent in their lives. Professionals in this field may help individuals that suffer from disabilities that make it difficult to live normal independent lives. They may help people establish employment, travel to where they need to go, or even forge through temporary rough patches in their lives.

One big part of rehabilitation counseling is setting goals. By setting goals and working toward them, many disabled individuals will find that - with a little hard work - they can accomplish nearly anything. This boost in confidence and independence can give them the push that they need to work toward accomplishing more goals, which will help them be on their way to a more independent life.

Professionals in the field of rehabilitation psychology might focus on helping individuals with several different disabilities. This may include physical and mobility issues, mental or emotional issues, social issues, and employment issues. Some individuals that rehabilitation counselors help may suffer from disabilities such as deafness, chronic pain, mental retardation, learning disabilities, autism, depression, and substance abuse.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of rehabilitation counseling is expected to experience faster than average job growth. This is most likely due to more people seeking these types of services and more health insurance companies covering these types of services. Therefore, in coming years, there will be more and more job openings for those seeking to pursue rehabilitation counseling careers.

How do I Become a Rehabilitation Counselor?

To become a rehabilitation counselor you will need to go through a rather rigorous amount of schooling. This includes obtaining a Bachelor's Degree, then a Master's Degree, and finally entering into a Doctorate or PhD program. If you are serious about entering into this field of study, request information from programs available for you here.

Why do we Need Rehabilitation Counseling?

Contrary to what some people believe, nearly every person can be a productive and contributing member of society, regardless of their disabilities. Some people, however, may need some guidance on how to become more independent.

Rehabilitation counseling can help point these individuals in the right direction on becoming more independent. Having more independent individuals in our society not only helps the moral of the society in general, but it also reduces the strain on government assistant and other resources.

What Does a Rehabilitation Counselor Do?

”Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

This quote can be thought of as the motto of the field of rehabilitation counselors.

However, before teaching a person to do anything, a rehabilitation psychologist will first usually need to determine where that person’s strengths and weaknesses lie. A rehabilitation counselor will usually interview his clients first in order to determine what they are capable of doing as well as what their limitations are.

After determining what a client is able to do, a rehabilitation psychologist will then be able to implement an individual therapy and counseling plan that can help them become more independent.

A rehabilitation counselor might help his clients work through several different types of problems that may be holding them back in life. Many times, solving the right problem might also solve several other smaller problems. Problem solving during counseling sessions is often accomplished by setting goals.

Goals are often a big part of rehabilitation counseling. The main goal for individuals in need of rehabilitation psychology is usually to live as independently as possible. This is usually accomplished by setting and working toward several small goals. For instance, counselors working with people with limited mobility might work to help their clients gain access to transportation, such as public transportation. This small step would enable clients to run errands, go shopping, and find and keep a job, making them much more independent.

Where do Rehabilitation Psychologists Work?

Rehabilitation counselors might work in traditional hospitals, physical therapy clinics, assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, and nursing homes. They can also be found working in social and human service offices, schools, detention centers, disability centers, and unemployment offices.

Like many other counselors and psychologists, rehabilitation counselors can also choose to open private practices.

What are the Education Requirements to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor?

 Counseling Educational Track
Education RequirementsEducation LengthAvailable Programs
Undergraduate WorkEarn a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling4 YearsOnline or Campus
Graduate WorkEarn a Master's Degree in Counseling5-6 YearsOnline or Campus
PHD or Doctoral WorkEarn a Doctorate in Counseling 7-8 YearsOnline or Campus

The right education is very important when considering a rehabilitation counseling career. Most aspiring rehabilitation counselors will usually start their careers with a bachelor’s degree in counseling. During this time, students should take several courses in their preferred area of interest. If you want to eventually work with individuals suffering from autism, for instance, you should take any courses that deal with this area.

A master’s degree is also usually required for most people looking to start a rehabilitation counseling career. Several schools in the country offer master’s degree programs in this area. After earning a master’s degree, you will most likely also be required to complete a certain number of hours in a clinical setting.

What is the Median Salary of a Rehabilitation Counselor?

In 2011, the median annual salary of all rehabilitation counselors was $37,070, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Salaries of these professionals is often determined by their experience, area of specialization and place of employment. For instance rehabilitation counselors offering vocational rehabilitation services earned a median salary of $32,890, while those working in general and surgical hospitals made $51,900.