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for the Blind

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Rehabilitation Counseling

Hi,
I'm a social worker (intern) working with a wonderful client who is both blind and a wheelchair user. She is interested in pursuing a career in rehabilitation counseling. We are working towards getting her bachelor's degree completed, since she had done most of the work up until she lost her vision. She is only a few classes away from completion. In completing her bachelor's, she is wondering if it has to be a bachelor's in psychology or if liberal arts is sufficient. Would she need to get a master's degree? Also what kinds of life skills would she need?

There are currently 7 replies


Re:Rehabilitation Counseling



The BA can be in just about anything. One of my classmates had a BA in music therapy. These days a Masters is almost universally required to get a rehab counseling position, and some states may require licensing, but they will often hire someone without the license, and give him or her time to obtain it. I am not sure what you mean by "life skills" in this context.


Re:Rehabilitation Counseling



Hi there,

Thank-you for your interest in career connect. I would also recommend that the client have further conversations with the college curently being attended and as a masters is considered, speaking with the college where the individual is interested in studying.

If there is opportunities to speak with other vocational rehabilitation counsellors and learn about the paths they have taken to reach their position, this could be informative.

These days with the field being so wide, the person should be determining if there is geographical mobility to move to a different state or if interest is in one state. If it is the latter, exploring needs and talking with counsellors in that state would be helpful to explore options fo perhaps adding some volunteer experience, perhaps arranging to "job shadow" someone for a time to learn about the field of work. This could be of particular importance if the current experience is limited to personal experience as a client.

Please continue to explore and ask questions.

Thank-you,

Sharon B
CC mentor (message board monitor)


Re:Rehabilitation Counseling



There is a great need for Rehab counselors in most states and so as incentive, scholarships are offered for disabled students to go into this field. Also it would be smart to look into on-line programs for Vocational Rehab Counseling. I believe the certification is needed for these positions. It is known as CRC-certified rehab counselor.

As far as "life skills", Orientation and Mobility, assistive technology needed to do the job, good people and communication skills. Transportation to a job is always a tricky matter.One might even choose a certain geographic area based on services available.


Re:Rehabilitation Counseling



Hi All,

Great feedback. Has anyone found any on-line courses particularly good that they would recommend?

On-line has become very popular but not all of the various parts of the course are necessarily equally accessible. Has anyone found any that have been user friendly for the person who has little or no sight?

If you happen to be a vocational rehabilitation counselor, please chime in with your feedback and ideas.

Sharon B.
cc mentor (message board monitor)


Re:Rehabilitation Counseling



I have been working in the field of vocational rehabilitation since 1982.

For most jobs in the field, a master's degree is required. Although I do not currently hold the CRC, I would strongly suggest that your client become certified. When I entered the field, certification existed, but was much less powerful than I believe it now is. In fact, I may very well take the certification test.

From what you wrote, it would appear that your client is either newly disabled or that her disabilities have recently changed. I would encourage her to explore in some depth her reasons for choosing this field. Many if not most of my newly blind clients have at some point expressed an interest in a field related to disability. sometimes, they have found that this interest leads to a very rewarding career. Often, however, it comes about because of the power of the rehabilitation experience and the fact that they are currently getting a lot of help from such professionals. Some clients feel that because they are disabled, they can do the work; they forget that counselors must love counseling, teachers must love teaching, etc. Also, many clients get the idea that most jobs are out of the question for them and that disability related jobs are not.

Rehabilitation counselling can certainly be a satisfying and rewarding career, there's no doubt about it. But it's important for the client to carefully consider why he or she wants this field before jumping in and making a commitment only to find later on that they really would prefer something else if they had taken the time to develop a belief in themselves as disabled folks and an understanding of how they would perform various jobs.

I'd be glad to help in any way I can.


Re:Rehabilitation Counseling



When the California Dept. of Rehabilitation decided that all VRC's were to obtain Masters degrees, they used the online MRC program at San Diego State University.


Re:Rehabilitation Counseling



Hi All,

Thanks to the responders for the continued excellent feedback. Knowing what appeals or interests you and why is a powerful path of discernment.
When time is not taken, as mentioned a lot of hard work, time, energy, support and money can be invested just in the educational requirements being acquired. Take the needed time to sort out as many variables as possible prior to committing to the career path. It sounds like your client has a good start on the education piece.

If studies were interrupted due to onset or change of disability, exploring initial choices and present situation could help.

In your position of social worker, can you help your client to really try to envision that role. The more you can explore your client's sense of what this career would be like the more sense there will be of interest and sense of suitability as a career path.

Trying to gather as much information about the pros and cons of that role specific to your client will significantly increase the client's awareness of obstacles, frustrations, the kinds of things that will be energy giving and energy taking.

Counseling in any field is demanding.

A strong sense of personal self care is important. In the caring and commitment for the people being counseled it is easy to be compelled to really be drawn in and having clear boundaries that are mutually respected must be adhered to.

The rewards are manyif counseling is suitable to the person..

Exploring all kinds of work in the counseling field could help the client clarify. The AFB mentor data base is worth exploring with your client.

Thank-you for the pro-active and committed interest you are giving your client.

Keep exploring.

Sharon B
cc mentor (message board monitor)


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