Rehabilitation Counselors

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Also known as:
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Coordinator of Rehabilitation Services, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Counselor, Rehabilitation Counselor, Veterans Rehabilitation Counselor, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

ABOUT REHABILITATION COUNSELOR CAREERS
Video transcript

Life presents challenges for all of us, but for some, those challenges are made even more difficult by disability. Helping people overcome disabilities is the job of rehabilitation counselors. They provide practical help and emotional support for clients who are struggling with the effects of illness, disease, birth defects, accidents, or the stress of daily life, and guide them back to productive lives.

They evaluate strengths and limitations of individuals, provide counseling, and arrange for medical care, vocational training, and job placement. They work toward increasing their client's capacity to live independently. The rehabilitation counselor is an important link between the client with a disability, the client's family, employer, doctors, teachers - anyone whose help and understanding are needed.

Good communication skills are vital as the counselor often interviews many other people besides the client to develop a complete profile of what can be done and how to accomplish it. The goal might be finding the right kind of school, job training, therapy, or employer. Or the goal might be finding ways to use technology to minimize the effects of the disability and promote independence. In any case, the rehabilitation counselor strives to help clients become taxpayers, not tax users.

The rehabilitation counselor must be empathetic, assertive, and well trained. Colleges offer 4-year rehabilitation counselor programs, but many employers require a master's degree in the field and certification by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Some states now require a license. For patients dealing with a disability, a rehabilitation counselor can make the difference between a bleak future and a future filled with hope.

SNAPSHOT
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. 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.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Collaborate with community agencies to establish facilities and programs for persons with disabilities.

Arrange for physical, mental, academic, vocational, and other evaluations to obtain information for assessing clients' needs and developing rehabilitation plans.

Arrange for on-site job coaching or assistive devices, such as specially equipped wheelchairs, to help clients adapt to work or school environments.

Participate in job development and placement programs, contacting prospective employers, placing clients in jobs, and evaluating the success of placements.

Confer with physicians, psychologists, occupational therapists, and other professionals to develop and implement client rehabilitation programs.

Maintain close contact with clients during job training and placements to resolve problems and evaluate placement adequacy.

Confer with clients to discuss their options and goals so that rehabilitation programs and plans for accessing needed services can be developed.

Analyze information from interviews, educational and medical records, consultation with other professionals, and diagnostic evaluations to assess clients' abilities, needs, and eligibility for services.

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 rehabilitation plans that fit clients' aptitudes, education levels, physical abilities, and career goals.

Collaborate with clients' families to implement rehabilitation plans, such as behavioral, residential, social, or employment goals.

MAIN 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 Persons Outside 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.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
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.
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.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
TOP SKILLS
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.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.