What Does a Rehabilitation Counselor Do?

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, 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.

Typically, Rehabilitation Counselors perform these tasks every day:

    Monitor and record clients' progress to ensure that goals and objectives are met.

    Develop rehabilitation plans that fit clients' aptitudes, education levels, physical abilities, and career goals.

    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 physicians, psychologists, occupational therapists, and other professionals to develop and implement client rehabilitation programs.

    Maintain close contact with clients during job training and placements to resolve problems and evaluate placement adequacy.

    Participate in job development and placement programs, contacting prospective employers, placing clients in jobs, and evaluating the success of placements.

Most days, Rehabilitation Counselors perform these tasks:

    Analyze information from interviews, educational and medical records, consultation with other professionals, and diagnostic evaluations to assess clients' abilities, needs, and eligibility for services.

    Arrange for physical, mental, academic, vocational, and other evaluations to obtain information for assessing clients' needs and developing rehabilitation plans.

    Manage budgets and direct case service allocations, authorizing expenditures and payments.

    Develop diagnostic procedures to determine clients' needs.

    Arrange for on-site job coaching or assistive devices, such as specially equipped wheelchairs, to help clients adapt to work or school environments.

    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.

    Develop and maintain relationships with community referral sources, such as schools or community groups.

    Confer with clients to discuss their options and goals so that rehabilitation programs and plans for accessing needed services can be developed.

Other tasks that Rehabilitation Counselors perform include:

    Collaborate with community agencies to establish facilities and programs for persons with disabilities.

    Collaborate with clients' families to implement rehabilitation plans, such as behavioral, residential, social, or employment goals.

Other Questions about Rehabilitation Counselors

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What Tools and Technologies Are Rehabilitation Counselors Using to Do Their Job?

Voice over internet protocol VoIP systems

Voice output communication aids

Tablet computers


Adobe Systems Adobe Reader

Budgeting software

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What Skills Should a Rehabilitation Counselor Have?

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.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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How Much Experience is Needed to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor?

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

  • 49.25% said they needed a Master's Degree.

  • 26.26% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

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What Subjects Should I Study to Become a Rehabilitation Counselor?
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