Rehabilitation Counselors

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.

Sample of reported job titles: Employment Advisor, Employment Services Case Manager, Employment Specialist, Human Services Care Specialist, Job Coach, Rehabilitation Counselor, Rehabilitation Specialist, Vocational Case Manager, Vocational Placement Specialist, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC)

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Prepare and maintain records and case files, including documentation, such as clients' personal and eligibility information, services provided, narratives of client contacts, or relevant correspondence.
  • Confer with clients to discuss their options and goals so that rehabilitation programs and plans for accessing needed services can be developed.
  • Develop rehabilitation plans that fit clients' aptitudes, education levels, physical abilities, and career goals.
  • 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.
  • Monitor and record clients' progress to ensure that goals and objectives are met.
  • Participate in job development and placement programs, contacting prospective employers, placing clients in jobs, and evaluating the success of placements.
  • Analyze information from interviews, educational and medical records, consultation with other professionals, and diagnostic evaluations to assess clients' abilities, needs, and eligibility for services.
  • Collaborate with clients' families to implement rehabilitation plans, such as behavioral, residential, social, or employment goals.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with community referral sources, such as schools or community groups.
  • Maintain close contact with clients during job training and placements to resolve problems and evaluate placement adequacy.
  • Arrange for on-site job coaching or assistive devices, such as specially equipped wheelchairs, to help clients adapt to work or school environments.
  • Arrange for physical, mental, academic, vocational, and other evaluations to obtain information for assessing clients' needs and developing rehabilitation plans.
  • Confer with physicians, psychologists, occupational therapists, and other professionals to develop and implement client rehabilitation programs.
  • Collaborate with community agencies to establish facilities and programs for persons with disabilities.
  • Manage budgets and direct case service allocations, authorizing expenditures and payments.
  • Supervise rehabilitation counselors and staff.
  • Develop diagnostic procedures to determine clients' needs.

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Technology Skills

  • Accounting software — Budgeting software
  • Analytical or scientific software — Test interpretation software
  • Calendar and scheduling software — Fanatic Software Informant; Microsoft Office Outlook; Scheduling software
  • Data base user interface and query software — Data input software; SkillTRAN Job Browser Pro; SkillTRAN OASYS
  • Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook Hot technology
  • Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer; Microsoft Mobile Explorer MME; Netscape Navigator; Web browser software
  • Medical software — Chart Links; Client information database software; Electronic medical record EMR software
  • Mobile location based services software — Global positioning system GPS software
  • Mobile operator specific application software — Microsoft ActiveSync
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office Hot technology ; Microsoft Office Mobile
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint Hot technology
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Transaction security and virus protection software — Encryption software; Virus protection software
  • Voice recognition software — Word recognition software
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word Hot technology
Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work 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.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Communicating with People Outside the 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.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 94% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 80% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 81% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 86% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 58% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 51% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 44% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 59% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 53% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 41% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 45% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 47% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 43% responded “Very important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 43% responded “Important results.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 53% responded “Very important.”
  • Letters and Memos — 41% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 31% responded “Very important.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 32% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 34% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 43% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 23% responded “Every day.”
  • Level of Competition — 35% responded “Moderately competitive.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education
Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range
2-4 years of preparation (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

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.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • 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.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace 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.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 56%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required
  • 28%
     
    responded: Master’s degree requiredmore info
  • 13%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.

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Interests

Interest code: SI
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

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Work Styles

  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$18.54 hourly, $38,560 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
104,500 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Faster than average (10% to 15%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
11,200
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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