Careers in Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation counseling helps disabled people lead productive lives.

Scope of Work for Rehabilitation Counselors

rehabilitation counseling session

People with disabilities face unique challenges that often require creative alternative solutions. Whether a person has a physical, mental, developmental or emotional disability, rehabilitative counseling helps them achieve personal and professional goals, and lead their lives more freely.

Rehabilitation counselors are employed by a variety of state departments and community programs. They are also employed in the private sector for for profit and nonprofit organizations, such as schools, colleges, residential care facilities and drug rehabilitation houses.

As a rehabilitation counselor, you will likely work with:

  • Disabled people, either individually or in groups
  • Employers, educating them about the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Placement agencies who refer disabled people to employers

As a vocational rehabilitation counselor, you'll likely work with:

  • Disabled people, assisting them in finding gainful employment
  • On an individual level, you will counsel people through specific job training and be available for post-employment counseling
  • Employment agencies and employers to ensure proper working conditions 

Rehabilitation Counseling Degree

Although you can begin a rehabilitation counseling career with a bachelor's degree in human services, most professional rehabilitation counselors hold master's degrees. You can earn an MA in counseling and after your first year of post-graduate employment, become a certified and/or licensed rehabilitation counselor. Check state counseling license requirements.

Rehabilitation Counseling Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for rehabilitation counselors is $38,880. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Because of effective equal rights legislation for disabled people, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts a 20 percent growth in the field, which is faster than average. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.