This is the headline photo montage illustrating rehabilitation careers

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Rehabilitation Medicine | Prosthetics & Orthotics
Rehabilitation Technologists | Rehabilitation Psychologists
Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Rehabilitation Medicine

Physicians who specialize in rehabilitation medicine are called Physiatrists (fizz-ee-at'-trists). Physiatrists provide rehabilitation medical care to people whose physical function capacity is limited by the consequences of injury, disease, or congenital disorder. Physiatrists team with other physicians and rehabilitation professionals such as nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, prosthetists and orthotists to provide the interdisciplinary care needed to increase the functional abilities of people with disabilities.

Some physiatrists provide services to customers of the public rehabilitation programs, while others serve as faculty in rehabilitation medicine and conduct research to improve rehabilitation processes and outcomes.

Rehabilitation Nurses have an important role in interdisciplinary teams, working cooperatively with rehabilitation counselors, social workers, occupational and physical therapists and physiatrists. Rehabilitation Nurses begin to work with individuals and their families soon after a disabling injury or chronic illness strikes, and they are still there after the individuals go home, back to school, or to work. During that time, rehabilitation nurses help individuals function as independently as possible and minimize complications of injury or illness. They accomplish this goal by educating, motivating, and working with individuals and their families, friends, and employers.

Rehabilitation Nurses can practice in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, clinics, community and governmental agencies, sub-acute facilities, insurance corporations, and private companies.


Prosthetics & Orthotics

A Prosthetist-Orthotist provides care to people who need to be fitted with an artificial limb (prosthesis) to replace a missing extremity, or need a custom-made orthopedic brace (orthosis) fitted to a disabled spine or extremity. Professional practice includes assessment of patient needs, recommendation of prescriptions, and the fabrication, fitting and evaluation of the prosthesis or orthosis. In addition to functioning in the clinical setting as an active member of the professional health care team, the Prosthetist-Orthotist is responsible for educating patients, their families, other health care professionals and the public about prosthetic and orthotic care and services.

Students with a degree in prosthetics-orthotics are employed nationwide and generally have residency program employment offers prior to graduation. They typically work in research facilities, hospitals, and private and non-profit agencies.


Rehabilitation Technologists

Rehabilitation technology is an emerging field involved with the design, development and application of assistive technology devices to assist people with disabilities in achieving greater independence. Rehabilitation Technologists assess the needs of individuals with disabilities and the requirements of the environment or setting, then they design and develop solutions, often customizing commercially available products and assistive devices to suit the need of the individual. The devices may be mechanical, electronic or digital (computerized). Once the modifications have been made, they evaluate the success of their solutions.

Rehabilitation Technologists work closely with the client within teams of rehabilitation professionals that include doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation counselors or others. They may address problems related to wheelchairs and mobility, corrective postural positioning, independent living, workplace modification, adaptive driving and augmentative communication.

Rehabilitation Technologists work in universities, community rehabilitation settings, hospital settings attached to acute rehabilitation units, municipal mass transportation authorities, and school districts providing special education services.


Rehabilitation Psychologists

Rehabilitation Psychologists perform psychological, neuropsychological, vocational and/or clinical evaluation of people with mental illness or other disabilities to determine strengths and weaknesses that may affect long-term personal, social, and vocational adjustment and adaptation to disability. Such information may also contribute to treatment, interdisciplinary planning or disability determination. Rehabilitation Psychologists may provide counseling and psychotherapy to help individuals cope with mental illness or another disability, and with daily living issues. In the academic area, they may perform independent clinical work and research or join the faculty of a university.

Rehabilitation Psychologists work in a wide variety of settings, including public and private rehabilitation centers, hospitals, psychiatric or head injury treatment centers, state institutions, community mental health centers and academic institutions.


Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

Speech-Language Pathologists work with people of all ages to address a variety of speech, language, voice, swallowing, and cognitive problems that may result from such conditions as stroke, brain injury, degenerative disease, learning disability, and attention deficit disorder. Speech-Language Pathologists are responsible for evaluation, goal setting, treatment implementation, patient and family education and reintegration of patients. The goal is to improve patient skills so they may function in their environment to the best of their ability.

Audiologists work closely with otolaryngologists or ear, nose and throat specialists. The goal is to obtain a clear determination of hearing status and make recommendations for hearing aids or follow-up medical treatment.

Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists work in hospitals, private and public clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, contract agencies, private practices and public or private schools and universities.

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Find out more about Vocational Rehabilitation
(excerpts from the Careers in Vocational Rehabilitation Booklet)
Who makes a good rehabilitation professional?
Preparing for a Career in Vocational Rehabilitation
Questions about a Career in Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation Professions:
Rehabilitation Counseling
  Rehabilitation Counselors
Rehabilitation of Individuals Who Are Blind or Have Vision Impairments
  Orientation and Mobility Specialists
  Rehabilitation Teachers
Vocational Evaluation and Work Adjustment
  Vocational Evaluators
  Work Adjustment Specialists
Job Development and Placement Specialists
Rehabilitation of Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  Deafness Rehabilitation Professionals
  Interpreters for Deaf Individuals
Undergraduate Education in the Rehabilitation Services
  Rehabilitation Practitioners
Rehabilitation Administration
Other Vocational Rehabilitation Professions
  Rehabilitation Medicine, Physiatrists, Rehabilitation Nurses

  Prosthetics & Orthotics
  Rehabilitation Technologists
  Rehabilitation Psychologist
  Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists


Photo of  young man being fitted with an artificial limb by an Prosthetist-Orthotist