Rehabilitation Counseling Emphasis
• Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling
• Rehabilitation Counseling
The mission of our rehabilitation counseling emphasis areas is to prepare rehabilitation counselors with knowledge and skills to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities.
There are two emphasis areas that students can pursue, depending on their individual career goals. The first emphasis is in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (60 credits) which is accredited by both the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Professions (CACREP). This emphasis is intended for students who wish to pursue licensure as a professional counselor as well as becoming a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. The second emphasis in Rehabilitation Counseling (51-60 credits) is accredited by CORE is intended to for students who do not wish to pursue counselor licensure. The basic difference between both emphases is that Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling requires an additional nine credits and offers students greater employment flexibility. For this reason, we recommend that most students pursue this option. However, some employment situations, such as those pertaining to state vocational rehabilitation, do not require licensure and students interested in working in this capacity may wish to pursue the Rehabilitation Counseling emphasis.
As one of the earliest rehabilitation counseling programs which started in 1958, Penn State has a distinguished history of producing a well-trained workforce serving people with disabilities. We have consistently been ranked as one of the top programs in the nation and, according to the most recent survey by U.S. News & World Report, our program is ranked 6th nationally with 5 faculty members with expertise in rehabilitation who have won national awards for their teaching, research and service to the profession.
Penn State has received a Long-term Training Grant Award from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to support master’s level training of persons interested in working as state vocational rehabilitation counselors. Once accepted into the program, students can apply to become an RSA Scholar to help fund graduate school. This scholarship provides $22,500 for the first year of graduate school. Students can also apply for a paid internship with the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in their last semester. These funds can significantly reduce the cost of pursuing our program while also providing entrance into the job market following completion of the internship.
Our Counselor Education program also has a doctoral program in Counselor Education and Supervision. We typically have 1-2 students in each of our doctoral cohorts with rehabilitation-related interests who work under the advisement of our rehabilitation faculty.
The purposes of the rehabilitation counseling emphasis areas are to:
- Provide didactic and clinical experiences that prepare students to implement a wide range of interventions to improve the functional, psychological, social and vocational outcomes for people with chronic illness, mental health and/or other disabling conditions (sensory disability, traumatic brain injury, amputation, substance abuse, developmental disability, physical disability).
- Prepare students to be eligible to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors, Licensed Professional Counselors, and/or Certified Addictions Counselors.
- Provide students with the opportunity to specialize in a range of counseling settings (non-profit rehabilitation, state-federal vocational rehabilitation, veterans rehabilitation, bureau of blindness and visual services, psychiatric rehabilitation, private-for-profit rehabilitation, substance abuse/addictions, hospital, private practice, mental health clinics, nursing homes/gerontology, university disability services, and rehabilitation in correctional settings – prison, community re-entry programs).
- Prepare counselors to develop effective advocacy skills and provide preventative and developmental strategies to address barriers in the physical and social environment that can limit the civil and human rights of their clients.
Our well-rounded program is attained through emphasis on:
- Holistic development of individuals with chronic illness, mental health and/or other disabling conditions with a primary focus on empowering individuals to select and implement life goals that are congruent with individual values, beliefs, and lifestyles.
- Understanding the medical aspects of living with a range of chronic illness and disability, and the inter-relationship between physical and mental health that can influence case conceptualization, counseling goals, and selected interventions.
- Client assessment, planning, and service delivery that includes synthesis of all major areas of client information; rehabilitation plan development; knowledge of service delivery; identification of community resources; and vocational assessment.
- Exploring psychological, social, and cultural factors that can impact client outcomes and development of the multicultural clinical and advocacy skills needed to realize improved outcomes.
- Incorporating counseling theory, skills and techniques into experiential learning modes including role-playing and genuine counseling situations through practicum at the CEDAR Clinic and supervised internship in a counseling setting related to the student's primary interest area.
Transfer to this site to view our Program Outcomes.
Rehabilitation Counseling Emphasis Coordinator: Liza Conyers, Ph.D., 302 CEDAR Building, University Park, PA 16802 (814) 863-6115