Rehabilitation counselors help people recover from illnesses and injuries so that they may lead productive, independent lifestyles. There are numerous rehabilitation counselor jobs available, depending on a person's area of specialty, education level, and qualifications. Counselors may work in physical rehabilitation clinics, inpatient and outpatient mental health institutions, or substance abuse treatment centers, among several other settings.
People with physical rehabilitation counselor jobs help individuals overcome their physical disabilities an regain independence. A counselor discusses the various issues and obstacles a person may face with a debilitating injury or illness. He or she provides information and resources to help the individual engage in daily activities and return to work, when possible. The counselor assesses an individual's physical and mental condition over time and adjusts counseling services accordingly. In addition, he or she may counsel family members to explain what they can do to assist their loved one.
Many rehabilitation counselor jobs can be found in mental health institutions and private practices. Persons suffering from persistent mental health disorders can benefit by discussing their problems with qualified counselors. A rehabilitation counselor provides tools and tips to help clients overcome mental disorders and become productive members of society. For example, a counselor may help a client find an appropriate job and living situation with regard to his or her mental condition. The counselor commonly educates a client's family members and employer about his or her mental illness and what behaviors to expect under certain circumstances.
Substance abuse rehabilitation counselor jobs involve helping people recover from alcoholism and addiction. A counselor may work in a treatment center or outpatient clinic, providing one-on-one counseling services and facilitating group therapy sessions. He or she assesses the mental health of a client and discusses the reasons why the person abuses drugs or alcohol. A substance abuse counselor helps a client develop healthy habits and useful techniques to deal with problems.
To obtain rehabilitation counselor jobs in any specialty, people must typically obtain advanced degrees, practice under supervision for at least two years, and pass a licensing examination. Most employers seek counselors with master's degrees or higher in rehabilitation counseling or a related field. Many accredited master's programs offer students the opportunity to work in a supervised clinical setting, where they gain valuable firsthand counseling experience. In addition, new counselors are generally required to gain licensing in their specific state or country, which entails passing an exam regarding counseling strategies and ethics. Some employers require that counselors obtain further certification and attend continuing education classes.