The mission of the University of Illinois Rehabilitation Program is to prepare master’s degree students to perform a vital role as counselors possessing specialized knowledge and skills for both mental health and rehabilitation service delivery. This includes the ability to serve persons with a diverse array of mental health or disability-related problems impacting the individual and the family, in a variety of clinical settings and with respect for the influences of multicultural factors such as culture, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Students also receive specialized training in the vocational, educational, and personal adjustment of persons with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. The program offers a state of the art curriculum producing graduates with the advanced human service skills and abilities to provide top rehabilitation counseling services. This is achieved by
- A high quality learning environment grounded in student and faculty interaction and communication
- Exceptional and internationally recognized faculty conducting leading edge research
- An emphasis on theory based research emphasizing optimal health, vocational outcomes, and participation for persons with disabilities and chronic health conditions
- Close relationships and clinical placements with existing campus partners, including the Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education and the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)
- Offering challenging clinical placements in both urban and rural settings throughout the state of Illinois, nationally and internationally
What is Rehabilitation Counseling?
Rehabilitation counseling empowers individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions to make informed choices, build viable careers, and live more independently in the community. The primary focus of career preparation in rehabilitation counseling is acquiring knowledge of disabilities and demonstrating respect and sensitivity for people with disabilities while developing counseling, evaluation and case management skills. Rehabilitation counselors collaborate with consumers, families and stakeholders to address disabilities in a way that improves their quality of life, leading to greater levels of self-sufficiency and community participation. They work with individuals in the context of their family unit and environment to effect positive change, obtain gainful employment, pursue meaningful careers, and live independently.
Graduates of the University of Illinois Rehabilitation Masters Program acquire knowledge through an evidence based scientific-practitioner model, acquiring the skills and training to serve as both counselors and administrators in the public and private sector. Rehabilitation administrators may serve as program developers, policy makers and entrepreneurs capable of identifying and responding to community needs. The demand for qualified rehabilitation professionals is expected to increase steadily during the next several years; according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the expected growth rate of rehabilitation counseling positions is faster than average, with a projected 15% to 21% growth in rehabilitation counseling positions from 2012-2022.
In addition, a recent study conducted by the American Counseling Association (ACA) found that:
- Rehabilitation Counselors are the most highly paid counseling specialty on average.
- Rehabilitation Counselors earn over $13,000 more than Clinical Mental Health Counselors, Mental Health Counselors, or Community Counselors on average.
- Rehabilitation Counselors receive better overall benefits - employee retirement plans, medical coverage, dental, vision, short-term and long-term disability insurance - than other professional counselors.