Dr. Lori A. Bruch, Director
Rehabilitation Counseling Mission
The Rehabilitation Counseling program prepares students for careers in a variety of settings with the primary goal of acquiring and applying the specialized knowledge, skills, and values that will enable them to effectively assist and support individuals with disabilities throughout the rehabilitation process. The Rehabilitation program works towards this goal by creating an environment which encourages a commitment to life long learning, critical thinking, an understanding of community needs, resource development, creative problem solving, the development of a professional network, and appreciation of the skills and abilities of individuals with disabilities.
The Rehabilitation Counseling program prepares rehabilitation counselors and related Rehabilitation Professionals for entry into and/or advancement in counseling-related positions in public and private rehabilitation agencies, organizations, and systems.
More specifcally, the program is designed to: 1. Enhance knowledge of rehabilitation concepts and practices; 2. Provide individuals with the counseling skills necessary for functioning in rehabilitation settings; 3. Increase awarenessand sensitivity to disability issues; 4. Prepare individuals for certification as rehabilitation counselors; and 5. Enhance individuals’ employability in entry-level or advanced clinical positions in rehabilitation settings. The program offers a learning environment in which the student can aquire the academic competencies of the profession and refine them through supervised practical experience. The program also provides a facilitative process through which the student can increase self-understanding, self-confidence, and personal effectiveness. Specifically, students develop:
1. A consideration of the developmental needs of individuals with disabilities in community settings and recognition of their needs at all developmental levels.
2. A commitment to treat each person with respect as a unique individual.
3. An awareness of societal trends, cultural diversity, and changing roles and lifestyle patterns of individuals and a comprehension of the impact of disability on physical,
psychological, social, family, economic, and vocational functioning.
4. An understanding that the primary vehichle for assisting individuals with disabilities is a sound counseling relationship which empowers the person through all phases of the
rehabilitation process, as well as skill in establishing and maintaining meaningful goals and objectives.
5. Knowledge and skill in applying helping processes, theoretical frameworks, and facilitative skills to enhance the rehabilitation counseling relationship and the rehabilitation
6. Knowledge of group dynamic processes and group counseling methods and skills as applied in rehabilitation counseling settings.
7. Knowledge and skills in applying career development theory, decision-making approaches, and occupational/educational information sources to the rehabilitation process.
8. Knowledge and skills in utilization of job development, job placement, job modification, and occupational and educational information sources to facilitate client decision-making,
return to work, job development, job modification, and job placement efforts.
9. Knowledge and skills associated with appraisal of the individual including applying assessment and data-gathering processes, psychometric concepts, relevant ethical and
legal concerns, and integrating results of medical, psychological and vocational evaluations with the rehabilitation counseling practices.
10. Knowledge and skills in utilization of research design and implementation techniques in conducting relevant research studies and applying research findings to current
rehabilitation counseling practices.
11. An accurate realization and perception of the multiple roles of the rehabilitation counselor and current trends of professional organizations in rehabilitation counseling.
12. An awareness of contemporary legal and ethical issues impacting the work of the rehabilitation counselor.
13. An awareness of the environmental, social, and attitudinal barriers which create obstacles for people with disabilities and knowledge and skills in assisting in the removal of
14. A commitment to life long learning, critical thinking, resource development, creative problem solving, and the development of a professional network.
Rehabilitation Counseling Profession
The rehabilitation counselor is a counselor who possesses the specialized knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to collaborate in a professional relationship with people who have disabilities to achieve their personal, social, psychological, and vocational goals. The specific roles and functions of the rehabilitation counselor, the services provided, and the goals established will vary, depending on the agency or organization in which the counselor is employed. In the typical state-federal vocational rehabilitation agency, individuals with disabilities are provided a variety of psychological, medical, social, and vocational services to assist the person to achieve independence in living and in becoming competitively employed. In a mental health/developmental disabilities or drug and alcohol facility, the counselor may provide personal, social, or vocational counseling to assist the individual in achieving the maximum health, well-being, and independence possible.
Opportunities for Rehabilitation Counselors
According to the Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, opportunities for the “employment of counselors is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014”. Rehabilitation Counselors, in particular, are in high demand and should experience excellent prospects as the need for services grows and many of today’s rehabilitation counselors retire. Likewise, “the number of people who will need rehabilitation counseling is expected to expand due to advances in medical care and technology that allows more individuals to survive injury and illness and live more independently”. In addition, “legislation requiring equal employment rights for individuals with disabilities will also spur the demand for rehabilitation counselors, who not only help with transition to the workplace but also help employers to comply with the law”.
The Rehabilitation Counseling program is a 48-credit curriculum leading to the Master of Science degree. 39 required credits include 33 credits of course work in principles and practices of rehabilitation counseling, three credits of practicum (100 hours of supervised counseling experience) and three credits of internship (600 hours of supervised field experience). Nine credits of electives are offered to provide students with opportunities for additional study in individual areas of interest and for development of knowledge and skill in working with specific populations and in specific settings. Professional experience in a counseling-related field is beneficial.
Rehabilitation Counseling: Criminal Justice Concentration
The concentration in Criminal Justice will strengthen the existing professional degree of Rehabilitation Counseling by offering contemporary knowledge and the required skills necessary to be prepared to work effectively in the criminal justice system. The concentration consists of twelve credits focused on rehabilitation counseling skills needed in the contemporary criminal justice field including:
Students may also elect to complete the criminal justice concentration after completing the 48 credit M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling as the Certificate for Advanced Graduate Studies which would lead toward the 60 credit requirement for Professional Counselor Licensure in Pennsylvania. Students interested in acquiring the Criminal Justice Concentration should contact the Rehabilitation Counseling Program Director.
Accreditation and Certification
The Rehabilitation Counseling program is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Hence, a graduate is eligible to sit for the national qualifying examination to become a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). Students are encouraged to apply to take the examination in the final semester of study. Students who pass the examination are certified upon submitting evidence of successful completion of the degree and internship.
Rehabilitation Counseling courses are approved by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) toward certification as well as for certification maintenance credits. All inquiries regarding certification and application for same should be directed to:
Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
1699 E. Woodfield Road, Suite 300
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Refer to General Information under the Department of Counseling and Human Services for policies and procedures applicable to all Departmental programs.