This ranking is designed for students interested in pursuing a career in the field of rehabilitation counseling. The programs listed here offer students the opportunity to earn a high quality, accredited, and affordable master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. We’re confident you will find the program to meet your educational and professional goals here.
Rehabilitation counseling is a specialized area of general counseling focused on supporting individuals with disabilities as well as their families. Rehabilitation counselors support individuals in achieving personal and career goals including independence, accessing resources, education and employment, and being empowered and respected members of our society. Rehabilitation counselors focus on the impact of the disability on the whole person to assess and help people with cognitive, physical, and psychiatric disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors attend to the vocational impact of disabilities and assist individuals in reaching their highest potential for independence and productivity in the workforce. Rehabilitation counselors are trained to provide assessment, individual and group counseling, referral, case management, and services coordination, advocacy, and program development all while being culturally competent and capable of supporting individuals and their families from all cultural and racial backgrounds.
Rehabilitation counselors are employed in a variety of settings including: vocational rehabilitation agencies; medical centers and hospitals; community mental health agencies; substance abuse programs; Veterans Administration; college and university resource centers; independent living centers; transitional living programs; correctional facilities; and private practice. The job outlook for rehabilitation counselors is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for rehabilitation counselors is forecasted to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is reportedly faster than the average for all occupations.
All of the programs on our list are accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). CORE accredits undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in professional rehabilitation counseling. Because all of the programs are CORE accredited they all meet certain standards such as providing a required number of supervised internship and practicum hours and preparing graduates for national certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). Some programs also prepare student for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor. National certification and licensure can vary from state to state. Students should consult the licensing board of the state they plan to practice in for specific requirements.
For information about how this ranking was developed, see the methodology statement at the bottom of the article.
Funding is available for qualified applicants in many of the programs listed here. Many of the scholarships available through these programs are funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), U. S. Department of Education.
The RSA is motivated to strengthen the workforce in the field of rehabilitation counseling with highly qualified, culturally diverse, and skilled professionals to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in communities across the country. In many cases recipients of scholarships are expected to commit to working (for full pay and benefits) in the field of rehabilitation counseling following graduation for two years for every year of the scholarship.
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Ranking the Most Affordable Accredited Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling Programs
To develop the ranking of The Top 40 Most Affordable Accredited Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling Programs, we used information gathered from the Institute of Education Sciences’ College Navigator to evaluate colleges and universities offering programing in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling/Counselor. Next, we checked the schools for regional accreditation with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and program accreditation with the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), only programs accredited by both agencies were retained. Finally, we sorted the schools by average graduate tuition (2014-2015), and we present the top 40 schools in our ranking.
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