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Undergraduate Education in the Rehabilitation Services

Graduates of four-year university programs with an emphasis on rehabilitation may qualify as Rehabilitation Practitioners, who assist people with disabilities in achieving the greatest physical, mental, social, educational and vocational potential of which they are capable. This can be a satisfying entry-level career choice for people who are interested in helping individuals with disabilities and enthusiastic about beginning a career in rehabilitation.

Common job titles for this position include rehabilitation specialist, case manager, vocational caseworker, rehabilitation aide or technician, vocational evaluation technician, alcohol and drug counselor, personal adjustment trainer, work adjustment trainer, job placement specialist, and employee assistance counselor.

Rehabilitation Practitioners perform a broad range of services and often work within teams of professionals and specialists in the vocational rehabilitation field. A typical work day might include coordinating the diagnostics and evaluation; interviewing; individual planning; arranging various rehabilitation services; assisting in selecting a vocational goal; job placement activities; providing supported employment or job coaching services; or providing personal and social adjustment services. They provide follow-up services to individuals with disabilities after other services are completed.

Preparation

Individuals seeking employment as Rehabilitation Practitioners should complete a four-year university training program that results in a bachelor's degree in rehabilitation or a bachelorís degree with special emphasis on rehabilitation. Frequently, students enter an undergraduate rehabilitation training program with the intention of eventually obtaining a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, psychology or related areas. Many gain valuable experience as a Rehabilitation Practitioner before obtaining their graduate degree.

There are approximately 50 undergraduate rehabilitation programs in colleges in the United States. In some instances, these programs offer student stipend support plus the payment of student fees and tuition.

Certification

There are currently no certification requirements for the bachelor's degree level Rehabilitation Practitioner.

Opportunities

Rehabilitation Practitioners may work in public and private rehabilitation agencies such as state vocational rehabilitation agencies, community rehabilitation programs, mental health and developmental disability units, evaluation and treatment centers, correctional institutions and agencies (including probation departments), voluntary organizations, client assistance programs, and centers for independent living. Many work in private industry, including personnel departments of corporations and insurance companies. In public vocational rehabilitation agencies, assistance is available for further education.

 

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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 Karla Wheeler a Rehabilitation Technician  
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Interview with

Karla Wheeler
Rehabilitation Technician

"I'm totally involved in each case and have a lot of interaction with individual clients. It's exciting to be part of their progress from their first interview all the way to getting a job.".