Rehabilitation Counseling Doctorate Programs
By Andrew Monko
As you research rehabilitation counseling doctorate programs you may be wondering what exactly differentiates getting your master's from a doctorate—and which one you'll need to earn.
Is a rehabilitation counseling doctorate program worth the extra expense and time in school, or will a masters degree be sufficient? The answer will depend on your own personal career goals. Here are some details that may help clarify the opportunities each degree can offer.
A Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling
A master's degree is now the standard education level required for state licensure or national certification. After getting your post-degree rehabilitation counselor certification, you'll be qualified to practice using the skills of assessment and clinical intervention (with or without supervision, depending on the state). You may work in settings such as schools, clinics and universities with individuals, groups or in family counseling.
More specifically, as a rehabilitation counselor you will help people deal with problems associated with disabilities—social, personal and professional. You can develop a range of expertise in areas such as:
- Social and psychological elements of disability
- Case management
- Ethics in practice
- Independent living
- Disability management
- Transitions from school to work
- The process of vocational rehabilitation
- Vocational assessment
- Employment strategies and career development
A rehabilitation counseling doctorate program takes a longer time and financial commitment, but in the long run can result in higher wages, work without supervision and more career opportunities. In addition to the practice of counseling, you may want to consider rehabilitation counseling doctorate programs if one of these positions might interest you at some point on your career path:
Doctoral programs typically emphasize research as much as practice, in addition to providing training in teaching. Study areas can include:
- Teaching in rehabilitation counselor education
- Clinical supervision
- Clinical practice
- Advanced study in rehabilitation counseling and psychology
Making Your Decision
Consider your career goals when deciding between masters or rehabilitation counseling doctorate programs. If you're certain that your passion is exclusively in the practice of rehabilitation counseling, then your course is clear: Obtain a masters degree in the field and the appropriate rehabilitation counselor certification or license.
However, if a higher salary, teaching others to be rehabilitation counselors, doing research in the field or supervising a counseling clinic sounds appealing to you, you may wish to look at rehabilitation counseling doctorate programs and get your PhD.
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