How to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor

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Contributor, Benzinga
June 1, 2020

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Considering a career as a rehabilitation counselor? It’s a rewarding profession that allows you to help individuals with special needs improve their quality of life. 

Benzinga is here to help you learn more about how to become a rehabilitation counselor. 

Rehabilitation Counselor Overview

We’ll help you with a description of the role, salary data, education requirements and the job outlook. This information will help you decide whether a career as a rehabilitation counselor is the right fit. 

Job Description

Rehabilitation counselors assist disabled individuals with developmental, emotional, mental and physical disabilities. In this role, you will help those you serve cope with their disabilities and prepare to enter the workforce or live independently. 

Other core duties and responsibilities include: 

  • Collaborating with other medical professionals to create treatment plans 
  • Compiling and maintaining adequate records that document the client’s progress as they work through the treatment plan 
  • Identifying resources to aid in the client’s transition to independent living
  • Advocating for special needs individuals to help them secure employment 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the top employers of rehabilitation counselors: 

  • Community and vocational rehabilitation services
  • Individual and family services 
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • State government

Salary Information

In May 2019, the average annual salary for rehabilitation counselors was $35,950, notes Here’s how it breaks down by industry: 

  • Community and vocational rehabilitation services: $32,310
  • Individual and family services: $33,590
  • Nursing and residential care facilities: $31,070
  • State government: $51,260

Education Requirements

You can work as a rehabilitation counselor with a bachelor’s degree. However, earning a master’s degree unlocks the door of opportunity with more employers and allows you to offer a more extensive range of services. 

Job Outlook

According to, the demand for rehabilitation counselors is projected to increase by 10% through 2028. This is 5% faster than the industry average for all occupations. 

Tips for Becoming a Rehabilitation Counselor 

Be mindful of these tips as you work towards becoming a rehabilitation counselor. 

Earn a Degree 

Consider bachelor’s and master’s degree programs from accredited institutions that boast high job placement rates for recent graduates. They should also extend academic and technical support for online students and feature fair tuition rates. 

Complete an Internship

Look for reputable master’s degree programs that allow you to get hands-on experience through an internship. You may also have the opportunity to work in a supervised clinical setting.

Get Licensed

After meeting the education requirements, the next step is to get licensed. The criteria for licensure vary by state, but you should expect to earn a graduate degree, pass an exam and get several hours of clinical experience. 

You may also be required to obtain the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification to work in the field. Reach out to your state licensing board to learn more. 

Best Universities for Becoming a Rehabilitation Counselor 

Many aspiring rehabilitation counselors choose to major in psychology to prepare them for a graduate degree program. Here are some online psychology degree programs worth considering.

1. University of Florida 

The University of Florida offers an online Bachelor of Science in psychology. Courses are instructed by faculty members that are subject matter experts and take an interdisciplinary approach to teach the material. Students explore the biological bases of behavior, developmental changes of the human lifespan, mental processes, sociocultural influences and more. When you finish the program, you will have the foundational knowledge to work as a rehabilitation specialist or succeed in a graduate program. 

Learn more

2. Utah State University 

Learn how to solve the mysteries of the human mind while preparing for a career as a rehabilitation counselor. Consider the online Bachelor of Science in psychology from Utah State University to get started. While enrolled in the degree program, you will participate in research studies and complete a professional apprenticeship. You will be ready to enroll in a master’s degree program to meet the education requirements needed to become a rehabilitation counselor when you finish. 

Learn more

If you decide to major in psychology, these online courses will enhance the knowledge you gain in the classroom.

1. Psychology 101: Why We Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

Source: Udemy

Offered by online education company Transformation Services, this highly-rated course introduces beginners to psychology in a way that’s easy to understand. You will learn more about the mind and how you can use it to your advantage. The course also delves into why others think, feel and act the way they do. 

Psychology 101: Why We Think, Feel and Act the Way We Do includes 6 core modules: 

  • Foundations of Psychology
  • Emotion
  • Memory
  • Learning and Conditioning
  • Human Development
  • Social Psychology 

It’s only $13.99 to register. The fee unlocks 7 hours of on-demand video, 3 articles and 25 downloadable resources. Plus, the course comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied for any reason. 

Enroll now

2. Learn Social Psychology

Source: Udemy

Just $11.99 gets you a seat in this Udemy bestseller. It is led by social psychologist Dr. Andrew Luttrell and covers the essentials of social psychology. You will learn how to identify social influences that impact everyday behaviors and develop a better understanding of others. The course also teaches you how to implement psychological research to meet your own goals. 

Learn Social Psychology is divided into 2 segments: 

  • Part 1: Thinking Socially includes lessons on schemas and accessibility, heuristics, biases and attribution
  • Part 2: Thinking About Ourselves includes lessons on the self-concept, self-esteem, self-motives and culture 

Register today for full lifetime access to 68 lectures jam-packed into 5 hours of on-demand video and 9 articles. You will also receive a certificate of completion when you finish the course. 

Enroll now. 

Prepare for a Career as a Rehabilitation Counselor 

When you’re ready to get started, Benzinga is here to lend a helping hand. Begin by exploring the online degree programs and supplemental courses from our list of recommendations. Work hard in the classroom, tap into your professors and start networking. These activities will put you in the best position to land a role as a rehabilitation counselor in record time. 

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community

Learn more at SNHU.