How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor

How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation is an essential medical practice that focuses on providing the necessary treatment to restore physical and mental function. Rehabilitation counselors are trained professionals that help people deal with and improve with many different conditions to lead meaningful lives.

What does a rehabilitation counselor do?

Rehabilitation counselors work with a variety of individuals that suffer from physical, emotional, and mental conditions that effect their everyday function. They help these individuals deal with their conditions and they provide counseling services. They assess the strengths and weaknesses of patients and provide the necessary counseling services such as medical care arrangement, case management support, vocational training, and employment placement. They conduct interviews on patients and their families. Rehabilitation counselors create individualized rehabilitation programs to help individuals achieve their goals. Rehabilitation counselors often specialize in either physical or mental rehabilitation.

What kind of training does a rehabilitation counselor need?

Rehabilitation counselors usually need at least a bachelor degree in rehabilitation services, counseling, or other related field. Many rehabilitation counselors have a master degree in rehabilitation counseling. Prospective rehabilitation counselors typically complete courses in counseling psychology, sociology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and rehabilitation procedures. Many aspiring rehabilitation counselors complete internships while pursuing their education to gain practical experience in the field. Many employers provide some type of on the job training for new rehabilitation counselors to learn the essential practices and procedures. Many employers require rehabilitation counselors to be certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Certification requirements vary, but typically include minimum education and experience and passing an examination. Certified rehabilitation counselors must complete continuing education and additional training on a regular basis to maintain their certifications.

What are the prospects for a career as a rehabilitation counselor?

Employment of rehabilitation counselors is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 19% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing and aging population and increased need for rehabilitation services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be favorable especially for rehabilitation counselors with advanced education and extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace rehabilitation counselors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do rehabilitation counselors make?

As of January 2010, the average annual salary for rehabilitation counselors is $46,000; average annual rehabilitation counselor salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a rehabilitation counselor is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in rehabilitation and providing counseling services to a variety of patients. Rehabilitation counselors must have a solid understanding of rehabilitation procedures and counseling practices. Commitment, empathy, patience, and desire to help people are necessary characteristics. Rehabilitation counselors must be able to successfully provide support, motivation, and encouragement to many different patients. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be able to work effectively independently as well as part of a team.

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