How to Become a Rehabilitation CounselorRehabilitation counselor is the important job position of assisting individuals with disabilities live independent, productive, and fulfilling lives. The clients served by rehabilitation counselors may have developmental challenges or a specific diagnosis such as autism. Rehabilitation counselors help people with physical, mental, developmental, and emotional disabilities live as independently, and work as independently, as possible. Rehabilitation counselors work with clients to empower them to overcome or manage the personal, social, or psychological effects of disabilities on their employment or independent living.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted 28% occupational growth in rehabilitation counseling between 2010 and 2020.Some rehabilitation counselors work directly with individuals and some are primarily advocates for their clients. A rehabilitation counselor may coordinate transitional services for clients moving from the school system into the work world. A rehabilitation counselor can assist employers, or colleges, with making state-required accommodations to remain in compliance with the people they serve. The following is a limited list of work environments usually in constant need of rehabilitation counselors: vocational rehabilitation settings, state government facilities, family and individual services, and residential care facilities.
The job prospects for rehabilitation counselors are solid. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average rehabilitation counselor earns a median annual salary of $34,390 and predicts 28% occupational growth between 2010 and 2020.
Rehabilitation Counselor Education and CertificationIn some cases you will be able to provide rehabilitation counseling with the completion of an undergraduate education with a degree in a social science or counseling field referred. Although this happens at some facilities, most centers will require you to complete graduate school. One thing you want to make sure of is that you program is accredited by the Commission on Rehabilitation Education and that you complete 600 hours of internship.
Graduates can be certified in rehabilitation counseling as long as they complete the requirements set by their states counseling board.