Vocational counseling is the process by which a qualified professional evaluates a person's work history and training to help him or her make appropriate career choices. Rehabilitation counseling involves a counselor helping a person who is disabled navigate social and personal issues. There is a niche profession combining the two jobs, called vocational rehabilitation counseling. Those with vocational rehabilitation jobs help people with disabilities find adequate job placement and training.
Vocational rehabilitation programs can be found in a variety of areas. Some forms of job counseling are available only to people with certain disabilities. For example, the United States Department of Veteran Affairs often has many vocational rehabilitation counselor jobs to help disabled veterans find jobs. Certain regions also have a need for those seeking vocational rehabilitation counselor jobs. These services are usually open to anyone who resides within that region or state or county with a qualifying disability, including some mental illnesses, but this may vary by region.
Vocational rehabilitation counselors can be found working in a variety of settings. Government agencies often have positions open, as do some correctional institutions and residential care and drug rehabilitation facilities. Vocational rehabilitation counselor jobs can also be found with non-profit organizations, in halfway houses or increasingly in private practices.
The training for vocational rehabilitation counselor jobs varies widely depending on location and place of employment. Often a four-year degree and a master’s degree or equivalent are required to hold a counseling job. Some institutions with vocational rehabilitation counselor jobs only require a four-year degree from an accredited college or university with proof that appropriate counseling courses have been completed. Some employers provide further on-the-job training, or will accept those who are still pursuing their postgraduate degree. In some cases, employers may even pay for postgraduate studies.
In most locations, a vocational rehabilitation counselor must be licensed by the accrediting body for the location in which they will practice. Vocational rehabilitation counselor jobs often require a potential employee or student to complete a given number of hours of observation and also to work as an assistant, known as “clinicals.” In some instances, those who pass a national exam are exempt from taking a local exam, but this is not always the case. The best course of action is for a student to consult the licensing body for the region where they live to determine the requirements.