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Rehabilitation Counselors
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Description: what do they do?
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, or the stress of daily life. 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.
Also known as:
Program Coordinator, Rehabilitation Counselor, Vocational Placement Specialist, Job Coach, Program Specialist, Vocational Case Manager, Human Services Care Specialist, Rehabilitation Specialist, Case Manager, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC)

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: Getting a job and living independently are vital goals for many people who have disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors help individuals who have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities to overcome barriers to employment or independent living. After developing a treatment plan for a client, they arrange for services such as medical care or career training, and find resources like wheelchairs or assistive technology. Rehab counselors may work with students to develop strategies to complete their education and transition to work. Some help veterans cope with the physical or mental effects of their military service. Others help elderly clients reconnect with activities and a lifestyle they enjoyed before an illness. Vocational rehabilitation counselors specialize in helping working-age clients deal with employment issues. Rehabilitation counselors are advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, and often work with employers to understand the abilities of their clients, as well as explaining laws related to hiring and accommodating disability in the workplace. Rehab counselors also provide consultation for legal issues around the impact of injuries on work activities. Typical work settings include community rehabilitation centers, nursing homes or senior centers, and youth guidance organizations. Some positions require evening or weekend hours. Rehabilitation counselors generally need a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field. Some positions require certification or a license.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations, 2019. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Massachusetts
6,160
2016 Employment
6,610
2026 Employment
7%
Percent change
700
Annual projected job openings
United States
119,700
2018 Employment
131,500
2028 Employment
10%
Percent change
14,000
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016 (for states) or 2018 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2026 (for states) or 2028 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2016-26.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2018-28.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Rehabilitation Counselors in Massachusetts
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationMassachusettsUnited States
10%$27,010$23,820
25%$30,100$28,140
Median$38,340$35,950
75%$53,550$48,110
90%$70,420$63,790


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2019 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Master's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2018.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2016–17.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Maintain client records.
  • Develop treatment plans for patients or clients.
  • Monitor clients to evaluate treatment progress.
  • Confer with clients to discuss treatment plans or progress.
  • Collaborate with other professionals to assess client needs or plan treatments.
  • Arrange physical or mental health services for clients.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling or educational programs.
  • Refer individuals to educational or work programs.
  • Evaluate characteristics of individuals to determine needs or eligibility.
  • Develop working relationships with others to facilitate program activities.
  • Evaluate potential problems in home or work environments of clients.
  • Assist clients in handling details of daily life.
  • Develop tools to diagnose or assess needs.
  • Confer with family members to discuss client treatment plans or progress.
  • Manage organizational or program finances.
  • Collaborate with other professionals to develop education or assistance programs.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.
  • Negotiation - Bringing people together to solve differences.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical 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.
  • Develop rehabilitation plans that fit clients' aptitudes, education levels, physical abilities, and career goals.
  • Monitor and record clients' progress to ensure that goals and objectives are met.
  • Confer with clients to discuss their options and goals so that rehabilitation programs and plans for accessing needed services can be developed.
  • 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.
  • Participate in job development and placement programs, contacting prospective employers, placing clients in jobs, and evaluating the success of placements.
  • Analyze information from interviews, educational and medical records, consultation with other professionals, and diagnostic evaluations to assess clients' abilities, needs, and eligibility for services.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with community referral sources, such as schools or community groups.
  • 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.
  • Develop diagnostic procedures to determine clients' needs.
  • Collaborate with clients' families to implement rehabilitation plans, such as behavioral, residential, social, or employment goals.
  • Arrange for on-site job coaching or assistive devices, such as specially equipped wheelchairs, to help clients adapt to work or school environments.
  • Manage budgets and direct case service allocations, authorizing expenditures and payments.
  • Collaborate with community agencies to establish facilities and programs for persons with disabilities.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.