Online Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation counselors help people who need assistance living independently and becoming productive members of society. They believe that individuals with a disability can still provide a contribution to society, and they want to help them achieve meaningful careers, independent living, and a high quality of life. Rehabilitation counselors work with those who are overcoming an emotional or physical disability to improve their personal, social, or professional lives. They may work with clients to help them adjust to their disability; develop a treatment plan; monitor their progress; arrange for services, such as career training or medical care, and resources, like wheelchairs; and advocate for their rights. Work in the field often requires a masters degree in rehabilitation counseling, which can take about two years to complete, depending on the school, how many classes a student takes a once, and credit or internship requirements.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling

An online masters degree in rehabilitation counseling would prepare students to work with a variety of disabilities, such as physical, psychological, substance abuse, developmental, behavioral, and cognitive. They will learn how to best assist their clients’ needs to help them gain meaningful employment or independent living through training in counseling practices; how to perform educational, vocational, and psychosocial assessment; case management practices; advocacy skills; and about community program development. Programs may have a regional focus, national, or international focus, or a combination of all three. Classes you may take during a masters degree in rehabilitation counseling include:

  • Rehabilitation Counseling Practice
  • Psychosocial Aspects of Disability
  • Medical Aspects of Disability
  • Rehabilitation Assessment
  • Case Management and Community Resources

Students often choose a concentration within these types of online masters degrees, such as mental health, alcohol and drug studies, head and spinal injury, gerontology, developmental disabilities, marriage and family therapy, or music therapy. An internship or research position may also allow them to home in on a specialty interest. Often, an online masters degree program in rehabilitation counseling will leave the last semester to a full-time internship or require a certain number of internship hours over the course of the program, which may be completed at a state agency, community program, or private organization. Still other students may specialize in an area by working with faculty members on rehabilitation research projects.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling

With a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, you are in an ideal position to find work as a rehabilitation counselor, as most positions require the advanced degree. Depending on the position, you may also need certification or licensure to practice. Licensure often requires a master’s degree, in addition to a certain number of hours of supervised clinical experience. You can also expect to continue your education throughout your career by undergoing professional development to maintain licensure or certification, as well as to keep up with the best practices in your field.

Rehabilitation counselors may work in a variety of settings, from colleges, elementary, and secondary schools, to prisons, independent-living facilities, and private practice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2010, 30% of rehabilitation counselors worked in vocational rehabilitation services, followed by nursing and residential care facilities (15%), state government (15%), individual and family services (14%), and local government (6%). The field is also expected to grow by 28% through 2010, according to the BLS, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is anticipated due to the growth in the elderly population, as well as continued demand from other groups, such as veterans and people with disabilities.


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