Master's Degree Programs in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling
Aspiring career counselors can learn all about master's programs in vocational rehabilitation counseling, including common coursework. Then, you can explore admission requirements for these types of programs.
Information for Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Master's Programs
The most common way to study vocational rehabilitation counseling and become a career counselor is to attend a master's program in rehabilitation counseling that offers a concentration or courses in the field of vocational/job counseling. These master's programs include a mix of counseling-, rehabilitation-, and research-focused coursework in order to prepare you to work with and guide individuals with disabilities or substance abuse issues. In addition to your classes, these types of programs usually require some sort of practical counseling experience, such as an internship or practicum, where you are placed within a vocational rehabilitation or community agency setting.
Career Development and Counseling
Most rehabilitation counseling master's programs include a course that focuses on career development practices and theories that give you a foundation for helping your future clients find and keep a job. In this course, you might study such topics as labor market analysis, skills training, employment strategies, and occupation-education information. You could also learn to use specific job placement resources, including the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.
For the counseling side of your rehabilitation counseling master's program, you will likely take a course that explores various counseling theories and approaches. Some courses have a special focus on rehabilitation counseling methods and working with patients who have cognitive, emotional, or physical disabilities. This course aims to help you develop your own ethical, personal counseling practice.
Group Counseling and Group Work
As you might work with groups as a career counselor, many rehabilitation counseling programs require a course that covers group counseling theories and techniques. Here, you may study such subjects as family dynamics and group leadership skills. Usually, you also learn about how to counsel different types of groups in terms of culture or disability.
Another course you could take is one that examines normal human development; courses like these traces the ways in which humans develop physically and cognitively from childhood and into adulthood. You may study the way humans develop socially, sexually, and morally as well. Most courses of this type also center on disability issues in connection with human development, and how disability, addiction, or chronic conditions affect the way that someone develops.
Vocational and Rehabilitation Assessment
Assessment is a counseling-focused course that gives you the skills you need to assess groups and individuals. You will likely learn assessment methods and techniques that will allow you to assess things like personality, aptitude, and interests. Basically, you might learn how to choose an assessment test, administer it, and then interpret the results.
In your possible career as any type of counselor, you will likely work with a diverse population, which is why many rehabilitation counseling master's programs require a course on diversity or multicultural counseling. These types of courses examine cultural, ethnic, and racial factors that may impact counseling methods or creating a rehabilitation treatment plan. Other courses might also touch on political and social influence on people with disabilities and how one can act as an advocate.
A course on psychiatric rehabilitation is designed to give you a foundation for working with and understanding those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. The main focus of classes like these is how to design and develop treatment and recovery plans that take into account skills training, wellness modalities, and employment support. Some courses also include a review of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which classifies mental disorders.
Admissions Requirements for Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Master's Programs
Vocational rehabilitation counseling master's programs require that you have already earned a bachelor's degree, and there is generally no requirement as to the type of undergraduate degree needed. Other admission requirements vary by program; some require GRE scores and others don't. Some, but not all, programs require some professional work experience. Most programs also require that you submit a personal statement that speaks to your career goals and why you want to pursue a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. Other application materials may include transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a resume or CV.
Although master's programs specifically in vocational rehabilitation counseling are rare, aspiring career counselors have the option of attending a rehabilitation counseling master's program that offers a concentration in vocational rehabilitation or has coursework that centers on career counseling. These types of programs typically include a range of coursework that centers on such subjects as counseling skills and theories, career development, and working with diverse populations.