What Can I Do with a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Science?

With a master's degree in rehabilitation science, you'll be qualified to work with disabled people in fields like rehabilitation counseling or occupational therapy. The article below describes these jobs and the responsibilities associated with them. Schools offering Rehabilitation Sciences degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Degree Information

Most master's degree programs in rehabilitation science are open to individuals who hold bachelor's degrees in physical therapy or other related fields. A few programs admit only physical and occupational therapists who were trained outside the United States. In all these master's programs, students receive training in research and advanced techniques that can prepare them to become researchers, instructors at the college level or leaders in the field. There are several occupations that can be pursued by persons with master's degrees in this area of study.

Important Facts About This Field

Rehabilitation Counselors Occupational Therapists
Key Skills Compassion, patience, listening, and communication skills Physical stamina, compassion, communication, and interpersonal skills
Similar Occupations Human service assistant, special education teacher, substance abuse counselor Physical therapist, recreational therapist, exercise physiologist
Work Environment Full-time at rehab, youth, or senior-citizen centers Full-time, travel and heavy equipment lifting may be required
Median Annual Salary (2018) $35,630 $84,270

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Rehabilitation Counselor Job Description and Duties

A rehabilitation counselor helps those who have been disabled by diseases, accidents, birth defects, injuries or illnesses to overcome their handicaps and lead normal lives. He or she works closely with a client and the client's care team, which might include family members, school personnel, doctors and therapists, to determine the client's needs. The rehabilitation counselor then creates a rehabilitation plan that will give his or her client the tools and skills needed to live independently. Tasks of a rehabilitation counselor may include:

  • Evaluating and identifying a client's strengths and setbacks
  • Assisting with vocational needs
  • Arranging for job placement
  • Setting up medical care

Many rehabilitation counselors need to be licensed, but requirements vary by state. Common requirements for licensure include completion of an accredited master's program, 2,000-4,000 clinical practicum hours and a licensing exam approved by the state.

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for rehabilitation counselors are expected to grow 13% from 2016-2026. This faster than the national average of 7% for all job sectors.

Occupational Therapist Job Description and Duties

Occupational therapists work to improve personal and career-related skills of the physically, mentally and developmentally disabled. They assist their clients with a variety of goals, such as refining fine motor skills, practicing critical thinking abilities or learning to utilize mobility, like wheelchairs. Some occupational therapists work exclusively with certain age groups, such as children or the elderly, while others work only with those afflicted by certain disabilities, such as developmental delays.

In order to work in this field, you need to complete a master's or doctoral program, both of which include clinical practicums. You'll also need to obtain a professional license by successfully passing an exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.

Employment Outlook

According to the BLS, the number of working occupational therapists is projected to increase 24% between 2016 and 2026. This growth is significantly faster than the national average for all careers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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