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Career profile Rehabilitation Counselor

Also known as Employment Advisor, Employment Services Case Manager, Employment Specialist, Human Services Care Specialist, Job Coach, Rehabilitation Counselor, Rehabilitation Specialist, Vocational Case Manager, Vocational Placement Specialist, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC)

Rehabilitation Counselor

Also known as Employment Advisor, Employment Services Case Manager, Employment Specialist

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
Pay Range
$25,660 - $66,180 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Social Perceptiveness
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Psychology
Core tasks
  • Prepare and maintain records and case files, including documentation, such as clients' personal and eligibility information, services provided, narratives of client contacts, or relevant correspondence.
  • Confer with clients to discuss their options and goals so that rehabilitation programs and plans for accessing needed services can be developed.
  • Develop rehabilitation plans that fit clients' aptitudes, education levels, physical abilities, and career goals.
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What does a Rehabilitation Counselor do?

Rehabilitation Counselors counsel individuals to maximize the independence and employability of persons coping with personal, social, and vocational difficulties that result from birth defects, illness, disease, accidents, aging, or the stress of daily life.

In addition, Rehabilitation Counselors

  • coordinate activities for residents of care and treatment facilities,
  • assess client needs and design and implement rehabilitation programs that may include personal and vocational counseling, training, and job placement.

What kind of tasks does a Rehabilitation Counselor perform regularly?

Rehabilitation Counselors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Prepare and maintain records and case files, including documentation, such as clients' personal and eligibility information, services provided, narratives of client contacts, or relevant correspondence.
  • Confer with clients to discuss their options and goals so that rehabilitation programs and plans for accessing needed services can be developed.
  • Develop rehabilitation plans that fit clients' aptitudes, education levels, physical abilities, and career goals.
  • Locate barriers to client employment, such as inaccessible work sites, inflexible schedules, or transportation problems, and work with clients to develop strategies for overcoming these barriers.
  • Monitor and record clients' progress to ensure that goals and objectives are met.
  • Participate in job development and placement programs, contacting prospective employers, placing clients in jobs, and evaluating the success of placements.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with community referral sources, such as schools or community groups.
  • Collaborate with clients' families to implement rehabilitation plans, such as behavioral, residential, social, or employment goals.
  • Analyze information from interviews, educational and medical records, consultation with other professionals, and diagnostic evaluations to assess clients' abilities, needs, and eligibility for services.
  • Maintain close contact with clients during job training and placements to resolve problems and evaluate placement adequacy.
  • Arrange for on-site job coaching or assistive devices, such as specially equipped wheelchairs, to help clients adapt to work or school environments.
  • Confer with physicians, psychologists, occupational therapists, and other professionals to develop and implement client rehabilitation programs.
  • Arrange for physical, mental, academic, vocational, and other evaluations to obtain information for assessing clients' needs and developing rehabilitation plans.
  • Collaborate with community agencies to establish facilities and programs for persons with disabilities.

The above responsibilities are specific to Rehabilitation Counselors. More generally, Rehabilitation Counselors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

What is a Rehabilitation Counselor salary?

The median salary for a Rehabilitation Counselor is $37,530, and the average salary is $42,080. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Rehabilitation Counselor salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Rehabilitation Counselors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Rehabilitation Counselors earn less than $25,660 per year, 25% earn less than $29,800, 75% earn less than $50,040, and 90% earn less than $66,180.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Rehabilitation Counselors is expected to change by 10.4%, and there should be roughly 11,200 open positions for Rehabilitation Counselors every year.

Median annual salary
$37,530
Typical salary range
$25,660 - $66,180
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
10.4%

What personality traits are common among Rehabilitation Counselors?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Rehabilitation Counselor are usually higher in their Social and Investigative interests.

Rehabilitation Counselors typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Rehabilitation Counselors typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Rehabilitation Counselor tend to value Relationships, Achievement, and Support.

Most importantly, Rehabilitation Counselors very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Rehabilitation Counselors strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Rehabilitation Counselors moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Rehabilitation Counselors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as concern for others, integrity, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Rehabilitation Counselors, ranked by importance:

Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Rehabilitation Counselors need?

Many Rehabilitation Counselors will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Rehabilitation Counselors usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Rehabilitation Counselors

  • 1.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 8.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 11.7% completed some college coursework
  • 9.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 28.4% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 36.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 3.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation Counselors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, therapy and counseling, or psychology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Rehabilitation Counselors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Therapy and Counseling
Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

Important Abilities needed by Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation Counselors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Rehabilitation Counselors need abilities such as speech clarity, oral comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Rehabilitation Counselors, ranked by their relative importance.

Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Rehabilitation Counselors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Rehabilitation Counselors frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and social perceptiveness to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Rehabilitation Counselors, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.