For those asking “what is a rehab counseling degree?,” it is a degree that prepares you for a career as a vocational rehabilitation counselor enabling people with mental or physical disabilities to obtain employment.
What Is a Rehab Counseling Degree?
Rehab counseling degree programs lead towards a master’s degree or bachelor’s degree. There are online rehab counseling degree programs as well. The State University of New York has an online Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling, and they will arrange for you to do supervised counseling near your home if possible. Licensing requirements for a rehab counselor position may vary from one state to the next. Many people with debilitating physical or mental illness seek vocational rehabilitation so they may work productively again. Vocational rehabilitation counselors work cooperatively with social workers and employers to help people with disabilities achieve some independence. At the graduate level the following subjects are usually covered: rehabilitation counseling, medical and psychological effects of disability, vocational assessment, assessment of potential for rehabilitation, and legal aspects of counseling. The average salary for a rehab counselor is $50,000 per year.
How To Find the Top Rehab Counseling Programs
You can find the best rehab counseling degrees if you look at the state colleges and universities near you. Most states have very reasonable tuition and if you can manage to live at home you can save tens of thousands of dollars on your educational expenses. Many of the best online rehab counseling degree programs are offered by state universities such as the State University of NY and the University of MA. Many graduate programs in rehab counseling prefer students who received an undergraduate degree in psychology. The University of Wisconsin offers an M.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation (Rehabilitation Counseling Concentration) online. It is one of the top ranked programs in the country. For those who live in the Midwest, full-time tuition is only about $200 per credit. For those who live in other parts of the country, it’s more than double. UWI also offers a strong BS in Vocational rehab. Major concentrations in community-based rehabilitation, criminal justice, rehabilitation counseling, independent living technology, social work and substance abuse counseling are offered. SUNY and UWI have excellent accredited distance learning programs. The University of Wisconsin has a high academic ranking. The University of Buffalo has an excellent online 3 year master’s in rehabilitation counseling. A one year internship is required. 95 percent of this program’s graduates succeed in finding employment in rehabilitation counseling.
Careers and Salaries for Individuals with Rehab Counseling Degrees
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that rehab counseling jobs are increasing faster than average, so the job outlook is excellent. They report the median rehab counseling salaries for 2010 at $32,350. A major online job bank reports the median salary at $50,000 for 2012. Either a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree is required education for rehab counselors. There are substantial experience requirements for licensing. Many counselors with graduate degrees work in academic and research roles. Others work directly with patients in clinics or private practice. Popular career options are:
- licensed vocational rehab counselor
- licensed social worker
- university professor
Working as a rehabilitation counselor is a highly rewarding career. If you are asking “what is a Rehab Counseling Degree?” you may find that it is the path to a challenging and meaningful profession.