Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
Rehabilitation counselor is the important job position of assisting individuals with disabilities live independent, productive, and fulfilling lives. The clients served by rehabilitation counselors may have developmental challenges or a specific diagnosis such as autism. Rehabilitation counselors help people with physical, mental, developmental, and emotional disabilities live as independently, and work as independently, as possible. Rehabilitation counselors work with clients to empower them to overcome or manage the personal, social, or psychological effects of disabilities on their employment or independent living.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted 28% occupational growth in rehabilitation counseling between 2010 and 2020.
Some rehabilitation counselors work directly with individuals and some are primarily advocates for their clients. A rehabilitation counselor may coordinate transitional services for clients moving from the school system into the work world. A rehabilitation counselor can assist employers, or colleges, with making state-required accommodations to remain in compliance with the people they serve.
The following is a limited list of work environments usually in constant need of rehabilitation counselors: vocational rehabilitation settings, state government facilities, family and individual services, and residential care facilities.
The job prospects for rehabilitation counselors are solid. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average rehabilitation counselor earns a median annual salary of $34,390 and predicts 28% occupational growth between 2010 and 2020.
Some facilities will require that one who performs rehabilitation counseling have at least a Bachelor’s degree. Usually, rehabilitation counselors will be required to have at least a Master’s degree. It can be a plus to have an undergraduate degree in a social science field or helping profession, but it’s not typically a requirement. Accreditation can be important. The notable accrediting agency is the Commission on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). CORE-accredited programs include at least 600 hours of internship. Attending a CORE-accredited program can ultimately streamline the credentialing process.
Graduates from other counseling programs can be certified in rehabilitation counseling, but they should make sure to adhere to CRCC requirements regarding the internship and/ or work experience. Individuals with degrees in related fields can go for a certificate instead of a second Master’s degree.
Though not usually a requirement as it is for mental health counselors, credentialing can, of course, benefit rehabilitation counselors in their career choices and opportunities for advancement. Check into the specific requirements for the place where you intend to work. Standards can also vary from state to state. Those who provide counseling services in exempt settings do not need licensure. Some jurisdictions require rehabilitation counselors to be credentialed in order to work in state programs, so make sure that you check into the specifics.
Many states provide rehabilitation counselors the option of being licensed as professional counselors. Practitioners are able to take a licensing examination that’s focused specifically toward rehabilitation counseling; or, they will be required to take the National Counselor Examination, a more general counseling exam. Successful progress through the state licensing process will empower a rehabilitation counselor with new credentials. Often, the title granted is Licensed Professional Counselor. This special licensing will allow a counselor to practice independently.
Rehabilitation counselors may pursue voluntary certification through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Credentialing allows them to use the title Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, or CRC. CRCC certification must be renewed every five years. State licensed rehabilitation counselors must also adhere to the requirements of their state.
As you can see, there are many career paths that can be taken by a rehabilitation counselor. Educate yourself about what is out there and what kind of education and training you need to make your goals a reality.