Rehabilitation Counseling (MS)

Program Overview

UMass Boston's School for Global Inclusion and Social Development is home to the highest-rated rehabilitation counseling program in New England (U.S. News & World Report).

Rehabilitation counselors support people with disabilities to lead productive and fulfilling lives, including working at integrated and competitive jobs in their communities. Our 60-degree master’s program develops professionals to advance educational access and economic and social participation for individuals with disabilities.

We prepare our students to become leaders who promote inclusion in diverse settings and with varied populations. Students integrate classroom content with real-world application via their fieldwork.

Guide to Online Schools 2020 Best Online Colleges for Value in Master's - CounselingUMass Boston's Rehabilitation Counseling MS program was recently ranked #6 in Guide to Online School's 2020 Best Online Master's in Counseling list.

Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Track

The clinical rehabilitation counseling track prepares students to work with people with mental health disabilities, as well as other disabilities. The track is certified through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Programs (CACREP).

This track focuses on evidence-based interventions for people with mental health disabilities, including psychiatric rehabilitation principles and practices, motivational interviewing, and the Individual Placement and Support model, to facilitate employment.

Students who graduate from the clinical rehabilitation counseling track will be able to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam. With appropriate practicum, internship, and post-master’s supervision requirements fulfilled, students in the clinical track may also be eligible to become a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts or another state, based on meeting all requirements for licensure in that state.

Graduates also can pursue counseling careers in designated federal programs that require students to graduate from a CACREP-accredited program, such as Veterans Affairs and TRICARE.

Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Track

The vocational rehabilitation counseling track prepares students to work in the federal/state vocational rehabilitation system and in community rehabilitation programs. This track offers more flexibility than the clinical track in terms of class options.

Students who graduate from the vocational rehabilitation counseling track will be able to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam. They may also take electives in special areas of interest, such as transition of youth from school to work, human rights, organizational management, supporting individuals with visual impairments, or gerontology.

Alternatively, students can select electives from other schools and colleges within the university.

Students in the vocational track are also eligible to become Licensed Rehabilitation Counselors (LRCs) in Massachusetts.

Scholarship Opportunities

Download our scholarships flyer for a quick overview.

The rehabilitation counseling master's program offers scholarships from the Rehabilitation Services Administration. These scholarships help address the national shortage of qualified rehabilitation counselors by making degree programs like ours available to a wider range of applicants.

Scholarship funding covers 70% or more tuition and fee remission, as well as a small stipend.

The program is available online and on campus, depending on the needs of the student. The scholarships may be applied to either format.

For every year of scholarship, students are required to work for two years for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission or an affiliated community rehabilitation program, or for another state/federal rehabilitation program in the continental or intercontinental U.S.

To be eligible, a student must be a U.S. citizen and not be in default on any federal loan. Students must be fully admitted into the rehabilitation counseling program before scholarships are awarded. Selection will take into account undergraduate GPA (which must be above 3.0), relevant work experience, and references.

Applications close February 1, and scholarships begin the following summer. Scholarships may be available after February 1 on a space-available basis.

Courses

Students in both tracks start in early summer with a one-week residential program on the UMass Boston campus. This allows students to complete the requirements of foundational, skill-based counseling classes that are only taught in a face-to-face format.

Required courses for each track are listed below. Students may need to take one or more of the required courses in an online format. 

Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Track Courses

COUNSL 601: Research and Evaluation
COUNSL 605: Principles of Vocational, Educational, and Psychological Assessment
COUNSL 608: Abnormal Psychology
COUNSL 613: Vocational Development and Career Information
COUNSL 616: Group Counseling and Group Dynamics
COUNSL 620: Human Development: Research, Theory, and Practice
COUNSL 653: Cultural Diversity in Counseling
COUNSL 674: Psychopharmacology for Counselors

REHAB 602: Medical, Psychological, & Educational Aspects of Disabilities
REHAB 603: Foundations of Rehabilitation
REHAB 610: Case Management and Planning in Rehabilitation
REHAB 612: Vocational Rehabilitation and Placement
REHAB 688: Practicum (3 credits)
REHAB 698: Internship (2 semesters, 4 credits each semester)
REHAB 614: Motivational Interviewing
REHAB 615: Counseling Theories
REHAB 609: Psychiatric Rehabilitation
REHAB 611: Rehabilitation Counseling Portfolio (1 credit)

Plus 1 elective from the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development or the College of Education and Human Development (e.g., substance abuse, transition leadership, vision studies, global inclusion and social development, study abroad), or other approved graduate courses from other UMass Boston schools or colleges (3 credits).

Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Track Courses

COUNSL 601: Research and Evaluation
COUNSL 605: Principles of Vocational, Educational, and Psychological Assessment
COUNSL 613: Vocational Development and Career Information
COUNSL 616: Group Counseling and Group Dynamics
COUNSL 620: Human Development: Research, Theory, and Practice
COUNSL 653: Cultural Diversity in Counseling

REHAB 602: Medical, Psychological, & Educational Aspects of Disabilities
REHAB 603: Foundations of Rehabilitation
REHAB 610: Case Management and Planning in Rehabilitation
REHAB 612: Vocational Rehabilitation and Placement
REHAB 688: Practicum (3 credits)
REHAB 698: Internship (2 semesters, 4 credits each semester)
REHAB 614: Motivational Interviewing
REHAB 615: Counseling Theories
REHAB 611: Rehabilitation Counseling Portfolio (1 credit)

Plus 4 electives from the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development or the College of Education and Human Development (e.g., substance abuse, transition leadership, vision studies, global inclusion and social development, study abroad), or other approved graduate courses from other UMass Boston schools or colleges (12 credits total).

Fieldwork

Students will be required to complete documented fieldwork experiences aligning with their chosen track.

The vocational rehabilitation counseling track requires 100 total practicum hours and 600 total internship hours. The internship hours are split over two semesters (300 hours per semester).

The clinical rehabilitation counseling track requires 100 total practicum hours and 600 total internship hours and must receive supervision from a licensed mental health counselor. The internship hours are split over two semesters (300 hours each semester).

To complete the internship hours, students typically work 20 hours at their site during the academic semesters. Typically, these hours need to be completed during the work day.

Students who are working full time will need to take a leave or arrange flexible work hours to complete their internship. In our experience, it has NOT been possible for students to complete the practicum and internship experiences on the weekends or after regular work hours.

Learn more in the Field Placement Handbook.

Certification and Licensure

The University of Massachusetts Boston is regionally accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Both tracks in rehabilitation counseling are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

All graduates of the Rehabilitation Counseling program are eligible to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam. Both tracks also meet the Massachusetts educational requirements for licensure as a rehabilitation counselor (LRC). Additional post-graduate supervised employment hours within the field are required for licensure as an LRC.

With appropriate practicum, internship, and post-master’s supervision requirements fulfilled, students in the clinical track may also be eligible to become a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts.

Additional post-graduate supervised employment hours within the field are also required for licensure as an LMHC in Massachusetts or equivalent licensed counselor in another state.

Our programs are designed to meet the Massachusetts requirements for licensure. However, we cannot confirm that the courses or program meets the licensure or certification requirements of the state where you reside. Please contact the state entity that licenses counselor and allied health professionals to determine whether the course or program meets the state licensure or certification requirements.

For additional details about certification and licensure for our clinical and vocational tracks, please see the Field Placement Handbook.

Program Outcomes

September 1, 2018–August 31, 2019

Total number of students in program: 34

Clinical track:

  • Current students: 17
  • Number of students who graduated in the past year: 5
  • Number of students who did not complete the program: 0
  • Number of graduates who found employment in the past year: 5
  • Number of students receiving RSA scholarships: 17

 

Vocational track:

  • Current students: 17
  • Number of students who graduated in the past year: 5
  • Number of students who did not complete the program: 1
  • Number of graduates who found employment in the past year: 5
  • Number of students receiving RSA scholarships: 16

What You'll Learn

The primary goal of our program is the preparation of professional rehabilitation counselors for employment in state/federal agencies, private nonprofit agencies, hospitals, and private companies.

Our students acquire knowledge and skills in the following areas:

  1. Applying theories and techniques of individual, group, and family counseling
  2. The theoretical basis of behavior, including human growth and development
  3. Environmental and attitudinal barriers that persons with disabilities face, and the influence of multicultural differences and gender on persons with disabilities
  4. Case management, including how to identify and use community resources
  5. Independent living services
  6. The history and philosophy of rehabilitation
  7. Legislation affecting people with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act
  8. The organizational structure of vocational rehabilitation
  9. Legal and ethical standards for the practice of rehabilitation counseling
  10. Ways in which current and past societal events can impact the rehabilitation process
  11. Career development theories as they apply to persons with disabilities
  12. Labor market trends and occupational information
  13. Medical aspects of various disabilities, including functional assessments and appropriateness of various interventions
  14. Psychosocial aspects of disabilities, including the effects on the person with the disability, their family, and their social network
  15. Evaluation approaches, including techniques and interpretation of results, as well as vocational evaluation
  16. Job analysis, job modification, and job restructuring
  17. Job development, job placement, and follow-up or follow-along services
  18. Supported employment practices
  19. Rehabilitation research literature and methods of analyzing research quality in professional journals
  20. Statistical methods and types of research analyses
  21. Research designs, including survey methods and needs assessment approaches
  22. Issues and practices of transition from school to work
  23. State and federal entitlements for persons with disabilities

Careers for Graduates

Rehabilitation counselors have excellent career opportunities available to them. They work in diverse settings, such as:

  • State/federal vocational rehabilitation agencies
  • Veterans Administration
  • Community-based programs for people with specific disabilities, such as mental health disabilities, intellectual disabilities, autism, or brain injury
  • Outpatient agencies
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Schools
  • Insurance companies

FAQ

Download the program fact sheet here.

How long does it take to complete the program?
Students can complete the program in two years attending full time (summer course work may be necessary), but have the option to complete the degree part time. Students who attend part time typically complete the degree in 3-4 years. Some of the required courses may need to be taken online.

What time of the day are classes held?
Face-to-face classes meet once a week during the fall and spring and summer semesters, and are held at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern. Online courses involve scheduled weekly synchronous web conferencing at varying times, typically in the evening. The cohort of Rehabilitation Counseling students begin the program with a one-week residential program in early summer to complete the requirements of the counseling classes that are only taught in a face-to-face format. Students who are unable to attend the week-long program can take the two in-person classes on campus during the fall and spring semesters.

Can I have a flexible program and take a combination of online and face-to-face classes?
Yes, you can choose a program schedule that meets your needs. Some classes must be taken online, but you can choose to take others face to face on campus or online. There are two classes that must be taken face to face. You can choose to do this by attending the one-week residential program, or come to campus each week to attend class.

How do I get licensed and certified?
Our program prepares you to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam, which you can take after having successfully completed 75% of the course work. The CRC exam is a national certification that is recognized across the country. Licensure requirements vary from state to state. Once you have completed your degree and passed the CRC exam, you meet the educational requirements for Massachusetts licensure as a Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor. Students who complete the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling track are also eligible to sit for the National Certified Counselor and National Certified Mental Health Counselor exams. If you have completed the appropriate practicum and internship requirements, you may also be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts after completing the post-master’s supervision requirements. LMHC licensure requirements vary from state to state.

Can I get licensed in another state as a rehabilitation counselor?
Licensure is a state issue, and the requirements vary widely from state to state. Our program is fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs (CACREP), which increases the likelihood of licensure in another state.

What about accreditation?
Our university is regionally accredited through NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges). In addition, the Rehabilitation Counseling Program is accredited as a Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (clinical track) and Rehabilitation Counseling (vocational track) program with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs (CACREP).

What type of settings do rehabilitation counselors work in?
Rehabilitation counselors work in a variety of settings, including state-federal rehabilitation services; Veterans Administration; community-based programs for people with specific disabilities such as mental health disabilities, intellectual disabilities, autism, or brain injury; outpatient agencies; residential treatment facilities; schools; and insurance companies. Some choose to become self-employed. The average starting annual wage of a rehabilitation counselor is between $45,000 and $50,000. You can read more about the field by visiting the websites for the National Rehabilitation Association or the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

How many courses do I have to take to complete the master's degree program?
Students take a total of 19 courses, as well as a one-credit portfolio course. Three of the courses include practice on the field: a practicum, and two semesters of internship.

How many courses do I have to take to complete the rehabilitation counseling certificate?
The rehabilitation counseling certificate consists of 7 classes. Many students who already have a master’s degree choose this certificate to help them become a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). There are additional requirements to certification that you can review at the Certified Rehabilitation Counseling Commission website.

Is there a culminating final project required for the master's degree program?
Yes. Students complete a capstone project during the internship seminar. It is a case analysis of a client that you are exposed to during the course of the internship. Students apply various theories and skills they have learned throughout their course work to this client case. You can also choose to complete a research project in place of the case analysis, or a professional project related to your internship site. In all cases, your advisor will need to approve your choice of capstone project.

How many practicum and internship hours do I complete?
The practicum is a total of 100 hours and the internship is a total of 600 hours (300 hours/semester).

What is the difference between the practicum and internship?
The practicum is an introduction to clinical practice as a rehabilitation counselor. Therefore, students begin by observing a professional in the field. During the internship, the student begins undertaking the professional role of a counselor in that organization, and by the end of the internship has been managing a small caseload of their own.

Where can I complete the practicum and internship?
Students complete the placement at a variety of locations, including state–federal rehabilitation services; Veterans Administration; community-based programs for people with specific disabilities, such as mental health disabilities, intellectual disabilities, autism, or brain injury; outpatient agencies; residential treatment facilities; schools; or insurance companies. Students are provided support to identify sites that match their interests and needs. It is possible to complete the practicum and internship at two different locations or at the same location. Students who are working full time will have to take a leave or arrange flexible work hours to complete their internship. In our experience, it has NOT been possible for students to complete the practicum and internship experiences on the weekends or after hours.

Can I take a class or two to see what the program is like?
It is possible to take courses as a non-degree student as long as there is space available in the course and you have met the pre-requisites. Students can transfer up to six graduate credits (two courses) taken at UMass Boston into the program as long as a grade of B or better is earned, the classes were completed in the past 4 years, and you are accepted into the program. Typically, non-degree registration is held just before the semester begins. Contact Kaitlyn Siner-Cappas at Kaitlyn.Siner@umb.edu to discuss this process.

How much does it cost to attend?
The online classes and summer residential classes are offered through Continuing and Professional Studies. CAPS provides information on the cost of each class. The cost for the traditional face-to-face classes can be reviewed at found through the Office of the Bursar.

What opportunities for funding exist?
Training scholarships are available to eligible graduate students via a long-term training grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). Please contact the program director, Dr. Dimity Peter, for information and scholarship application materials.

We also offer a limited number of graduate research and administrative assistantships in our department. There are also research assistantship opportunities offered across the university. These opportunities provide varying tuition and fee waivers and stipends dependent on hours per week of work. Students can apply once they are accepted to the program. You can search for these positions under employment opportunities on the Human Resources website. Students can also apply for financial aid by filling out the FAFSA.

How do I know which track is better suited for me?
For students who wish to work for the state–federal rehabilitation services, the vocational rehabilitation track will best meet their needs. For students who have a particular interest in a more clinical emphasis and working with individuals with psychiatric disabilities, the clinical track is recommended. You will receive support from your academic advisor about the best track to select based on your career aspirations.

Is it possible to switch tracks?
Yes, it is possible to switch tracks. You should discuss this with your advisor. You may need to take additional classes depending on how far along in the program you are.

Contact Us

Email us with your questions.

School for Global Inclusion and Social Development
in the College of Education and Human Development
617.287.3070
sgisd@umb.edu