Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist: Job Description & Requirements

A psychosocial rehabilitation specialist treats patients with mental or emotional disorders by teaching them to function within their community. Treatment can address relationships with family, friends, and co-workers and often helps patients work toward living independently.

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Job Description for Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialists

Psychosocial rehabilitation specialists are also known as psychiatric rehabilitation practitioners. They offer psychosocial and psychiatric rehabilitation services that help patients adjust to their social environment. Specialists may utilize medication and individual or group counseling, and they may provide assistance with job training, housing needs, and family support issues.

Psychosocial rehabilitation specialists assess a patient's current condition and level of social functionality. Then, they develop a treatment plan that helps a patient learn skill sets needed for independent living. Psychosocial rehabilitation specialists monitor patients' progress, help them achieve their social integration goals, and intervene in crisis situations.

Requirements for Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialists

While some psychosocial rehabilitation positions are entry-level, many require that the applicant have earned a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Some positions may require previous work experience or certification.

Although not required to practice psychosocial rehabilitation, the Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) credential is offered by the U.S. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA). This designation is for people who work in the mental health field, such as counselors, social workers, and therapists. Education and work experience requirements for the CPRP vary:

  • A bachelor's degree in psychiatric rehabilitation requires six months of relevant work experience
  • An associate's degree in psychiatric rehabilitation requires one year of relevant work experience
  • A psychiatric rehabilitation certificate requires two years of relevant work experience

Applicants who have degrees or a certificate in other areas of the mental health field are required to complete an additional 45 hours of training in psychiatric rehabilitation.

The CPRP designation also requires applicants to pass a written exam that covers areas such as interpersonal relationships, patient assessment, treatment planning, social interaction, and goal achievement. Recertification is required every three years and includes either 45 hours of continuing education in psychiatric rehabilitation or retaking the CPRP exam.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of rehabilitation counselors of all kinds, including those specializing in psychosocial rehabilitation, will likely grow by 20% between 2012 and 2022. The median annual salary earned by such counselors was reported as $34,230 in May 2013 by the BLS.

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