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Psychiatric Rehabilitation Degree Program Information

A psychiatric rehabilitation counselor works to provide therapy and rehabilitation services to individuals with mental or behavioral disorders so that they might reintegrate into society. A degree most common in the field is a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling.

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Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation counseling is a specialty in the counseling profession, and graduate degree programs in the field are often offered through the health professions, psychiatry, counseling or community services departments of 4-year colleges and universities. Students enrolled in such a master's degree program learn how to provide mentally and developmentally disabled individuals with the life skills necessary to earn a job and support themselves in society.

Aspiring rehabilitation counselors learn how to work one-on-one with individuals to help them improve their personal, social and psychosocial skills. They complete courses covering patient assessment methods, individual counseling methods, types of mental, behavioral or psychological disorders, community services and resources, and human development. Master's degree programs in rehabilitation counseling also require students to complete a field internship working with disabled individuals.

Education Prerequisites

Master's degree programs in psychiatric rehabilitation are designed both for counseling professionals looking to further their education and specialize in the field as well as graduate students looking to start out their careers. In either case, students are required to have at least a bachelor's degree before applying. They should also be interested in working with potentially difficult and mentally disabled individuals.

Program Coursework

The courses included within a master's degree program in rehabilitation counseling should follow the standards set forth by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs or a similar organization. Some examples of common courses include:

  • Counseling theories
  • Research methods
  • Community resources
  • Career development
  • Group process
  • Developmental psychology
  • Vocational evaluation
  • Supervised counseling practicum

Employment Options and Salary Info

Rehabilitation counselors made yearly median wages of $33,880 in 2012, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that these counselors held about 104,070 jobs in 2012.

Certification Options

Rehabilitation counselors interested in gaining voluntary national certification can do so through organizations such as the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Some states even require rehabilitation counselors to gain this certification before they can legally begin to practice in the field. Individuals are required to complete an accredited educational program with an internship component before they are eligible to sit for a certification examination.

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