While most people associate the term "rehabilitation" with recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, the definition of rehabilitation is "to be restored to one's former capacity." While this can refer to sobriety, it can also refer to good health status before someone has been in a car accident. In this case, rehabilitation is necessary to help the person's muscles return to their formerly functional capacity or close to that capacity as possible.
What Does A Rehabilitation Counselor Do?
A rehabilitation counselor, or rehabilitation specialist, helps someone who has experienced a disabling accident, whether it's a car accident or an accident incurred at the workplace. They also work with people experiencing conditions that impact their daily lives, such as those with muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, or who incurred injuries resulting from being at war.
A rehabilitation counselor doesn't just work with a person's physical disabilities. He or she can also help a client cope with emotional disabilities, such as trauma or other mental conditions that can have a negative effect on a person's everyday activities. For this reason, a rehabilitation counselor may also be known as a "rehabilitation psychologist."
The rehabilitation counselor's job is to figure out what the client needs and the best ways to help that client. The counselor will set goals for the client and then work with the client to help him meet those goals or come close to meeting them as possible.
Can Anyone Be A Rehabilitation Counselor?
To be a rehabilitation counselor entails having a particular set of skills, in addition to the education and certifications that are often accepted as required. For one thing, you must be emotionally stable to ensure that you wake up every day ready, willing, and able to take on your cases. This job involves working with frustrated people, so you need to be strong to encourage them to keep trying.
It would be best if you were an excellent communicator, which means both talking and listening. You have to hear what your clients are saying, understand their needs, and communicate back to them a treatment plan that is easy to comprehend. It would help if you also were a great communicator for all of the human connections you may need to make in a given case, from families and counselors to the client's doctors and employer.
And, perhaps most importantly, you must be a patient person. You will need to spend many hours working one-on-one with your clients, and that means long hours spent teaching your clients the necessary coping skills to effectively overcome their disabilities and get the most they possibly can out of life.
Each rehabilitation counselor specifically does on an average day varies widely, depending on the place in which they work. For example, a rehabilitation counselor who works for a non-profit agency will likely spend their day helping those with disabilities find a job, housing, and help with mental health services or educational opportunities.
As one might expect, a rehabilitation counselor who works in a school setting works mainly with children. Those who work in nursing homes help the elderly cope with the chronic pain and disabilities present in their later years.
Rehabilitation counselors who work in private practice may be tasked with taking on more responsibilities than those who may work in other types of work environments. These counselors are usually responsible for advertising their services and filing their claims with insurance companies. They are not employed by an agency that could otherwise take these things for them.
Rehabilitation psychologists help those experiencing an addiction to drugs or alcohol and those who are coping with cognitive, emotional, or developmental issues. Essentially, a rehabilitation psychologist helps someone who is otherwise finding it difficult to lead a normal life, with conditions ranging from learning disabilities and chronic pain to depression and anxiety, to name a few.
Rehabilitation psychologists help clients feel more in control of their lives and give them tools to help them cope with and, when possible, overcome the obstacles that stand in their way. Rehabilitation psychologists can help people get their lives back on track to living the happiest life possible.
Many rehabilitation psychologists specialize in a particular focus area and may only work with clients with that condition. For instance, some psychologists only work with clients who are experiencing drug addiction, while others may only work with those who are coping with learning disabilities.
The field of rehabilitation psychology is a broad one that consists of a variety of psychological issues. For this reason, one rehabilitation psychologist may have entirely different specialization and qualifications than another rehabilitation psychologist. What they all have in common, though, is the goal to help their clients overcome or cope with their issues so they can regain control of their lives.
Types of Rehabilitation Counseling
There are several areas in which a rehabilitation counselor may specialize. Three areas primarily sum up most of what rehabilitation counselors do: state programs, social service programs, and college counselors.
The area in which a majority of rehabilitation counselors are needed is in federally or state-funded occupational programs. In other words, rehabilitation counselors in this area help people get the accommodations they need to go back to work, whether that's modified duty or updated equipment, such as a more ergonomic desk or keyboard, etc.
Every state is different, but most counselors who work in this field have a master's degree and are certified to perform the work. If they don't have these qualifications before getting the job, they must agree to do so by a certain date to keep their jobs.
Social Service Programs
At this level, rehabilitation counselors work for non-profit organizations in a more administrative role rather than hands-on. Here, counselors will supervise staff who work with the disabled or will direct programs for the disabled. These counselors may actively engage in advocacy and community services. They can also serve as liaisons at the corporate level between companies and charitable organizations.
If you've ever filled out a college application, and you've seen the section that talks about the organization's commitment to those with disabilities being reasonably accommodated, this is where a college disability counselor would come in. Those who work in this sector fight for the student to have such accommodations as computer access, equipment like assisted listening devices and large-print software, and even note-takers to help them with whatever they need to achieve their college goals.
Of course, each student's needs are unique, and so these counselors are trained to understand exactly what the student needs and how those needs can be met. These counselors do not just help students with physical disabilities but also those with learning and psychological disabilities.
One of the most important jobs a rehabilitation psychologist can do is advocate on behalf of his or her client to raise awareness of the condition. For instance, suppose a veteran is having difficulty finding a place to live because of their condition. The rehabilitation counselor is then tasked with educating the community about the person's condition and why they should not be denied the same right as everyone else to have a place to call home. Essentially, to be a rehabilitation counselor is to conduct community service.
While the rehabilitation counselor is not expected to file a lawsuit on behalf of a client treated unfairly, he or she advocates for the client by educating people on the best methods of accommodating the client's needs. For instance, if a client is unable to drive, the rehabilitation counselor can explain the situation to those who will be driving the client around, such as a bus or cab driver, so that these individuals can see to it that the client gets where he needs to go with all of the necessary accommodations.
Another area where rehabilitation counselors can help is with coordinating schooling and employment for the client. For instance, the rehabilitation counselor can help a teacher or employer understand the client's condition and their accommodations to carry out their job duties or schooling. Someone with a head injury, for example, may experience behavioral issues that are beyond his or her control. Making others aware of these issues in advance can prevent the person from being fired or thrown out of school due to a lack of education and communication on the subject.
Do you or someone you know require the assistance of a rehabilitation counselor? We can help. Contact one of our counselors, and we can point you in the right direction insofar as finding a counselor to meet your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the role of a rehabilitation counselor?
Rehabilitation counselors are members of the council on rehabilitation who help people living with physical, developmental, mental, or emotional disabilities to live independently at various stages/phases of their lives. They do this through several counseling programs organized by the rehabilitation counseling association or council on rehabilitation they belong to. They work closely with clients to help them deal with or manage the personal, psychological, or social challenges of disabilities that accompany independent living or employment. Rehabilitation counselors of the American counseling association work with students, veterans, or older people to adapt to and live better with their disabilities regarding school, work, and every aspect of their lives.
Every counselor of the American counseling association has rehabilitation counseling programs from the Council on rehabilitation they specialize in and a rehabilitation counseling association they belong to practice. The council always lays down the criteria for practice on rehabilitation. Some of these counselors specifically offer vocational rehabilitation services to older students and workers to overcome employment challenges. Such counselors are referred to as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Rehabilitation counselors work in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, schools, government agencies, universities, and other organizations. While they provide different counseling services, mental health counseling appears to be the most important for the commission on rehabilitation counselors.
How long does it take to become a rehabilitation counselor?
Becoming a certified rehabilitation counselor from a rehabilitation counseling program takes an average of six to eight years for the American counseling association. However, some institutions and councils on rehabilitation may offer faster degree options in mental health counseling, while others are slower. The training period's length is also influenced by the allotted time for a monitored internship program under a licensed rehabilitation counselor and approved council on rehabilitation. This internship period may vary between 1,500-3,000 hours depending on the state and is spread across a minimum or a maximum number of years. After this internship, qualified candidates can register to be a part of the rehabilitation counseling association of their state and council on rehabilitation as a whole.
How much do rehab counselors make?
The average annual salary of rehab counselors varies based on their education level, certification, years of experience, and licensing. The Rehabilitation counseling association that rehabilitation counselors belong to can also determine how much they are paid. A certified rehabilitation counselor specializing in mental health counseling earns an average income of $69,290 annually, with the salary range falling between $60,540 and $79,560. Asides from this, there is a commission on rehabilitation counselor that comes with specific jobs.
What can I do with a rehabilitation services degree?
Earning a rehabilitation service degree can provide numerous career paths in mental health counseling, and diverse related fields focused on individual and community service. The degree can also give you a free pass to the commission on rehabilitation counselor. It also gives you access to a network of individuals, especially if you belong to an association like the American counseling association. Other than this, there are several other rehabilitation counseling associations that you can belong to based on your preference.
A rehabilitation service degree allows rehabilitation counselors to work as substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, mental health counselors, social workers, correctional treatment specialists, transition specialists, vocational evaluators, geriatric rehabilitation specialists, disability service office technicians, and several others. The rehabilitation service program can also open vocational rehabilitation services graduate to graduation programs such as occupational therapy and counseling programs.
What degree is needed for a rehabilitation counselor?
In most states, a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and disabilities studies and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling programs are required to become and work as a rehabilitation counselor. However, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling program only allows individuals to work as a vocational rehabilitation services counselor or other support roles. This requires no clinical skills or practices. With this degree, you can enroll in the commission on rehabilitation counselors.
To become a licensed and certified rehabilitation counselor, a graduate/postgraduate internship experience supervised by a licensed professional (rehabilitation) counselor, pass a professional licensure and certification exam, pay a fee, get more counseling certifications, apply for a counseling job and keep learning. The certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) certification is earned after passing the CRC exams organized by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. A few of these rehabilitation counselor certification graduates may proceed to get a doctoral degree for educational purposes. Commission on Rehabilitation counselor certification and certification present rehabilitation counselors work with a platform for training and advocacy.
To get licensed by the commission on rehabilitation counselor, applicants across various states need to contact their state licensing board, council on rehabilitation, or rehabilitation counseling association to determine the licensure requirements and the job positions that require a license. This must be followed with a degree in rehabilitation counseling. There are several professional rehabilitation counselor’s organizations for rehabilitation counselors’ work. Some of them include the American Rehabilitation Counselling Association, American Counselling associations, National Council on Rehabilitation, and others. The American Rehabilitation Counselling association is a subdivision of the American Counselling Association. Although there is no worldwide/international rehabilitation counseling association, the Commission of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification provides a platform for rehabilitation counselors who would like to advance in their careers. The rehabilitation counselor certification is beneficial.
Being a part of a rehabilitation counseling association or the council on rehabilitation helps you share ideas with others and learn from them.