Rehabilitation counselors assist individuals with mental and/or physical disabilities to improve their quality of life and ability to live independently. They conduct evaluations of patients' needs, abilities, health and goals for rehabilitation; using this evaluation and any other relevant information, they work with patients to develop a rehabilitation or treatment plan. Rehabilitation counselors then work to enact this plan - which may involve input and support from other healthcare providers such as doctors and psychologists - and assess its progress over time, making any adjustments as needed. Other tasks performed by rehabilitation counselors may include arranging services such as job training, providing individual and/or group counseling, and helping find resources for patients that may help them in rehabilitation (such as wheelchairs).
The populations with which rehabilitation counselors work vary; for example, some specialize in military veterans, school-age children or geriatrics. Their employers may be diverse and include private practices, independent-living facilities, schools and government agencies.
A master's degree in counseling or a related field is generally the minimum educational requirement for rehabilitation counselor positions; some employers may require only a bachelor's degree, although this is uncommon. Relevant certification and licensing may be required as well.
Rehabilitation Counselor Tasks
Analyze and develop rehabilitation plans that fit clients' aptitudes, education levels, physical abilities, and career goals.
Prepare and maintain records and case files; document clients' information, services provided, and relevant correspondence.
Evaluate, monitor and record clients' progress in order to ensure that rehabilitation goals and objectives are met.
Maintain contact with clients during job training and placements, in order to resolve equipment problems and evaluate placement adequacy.