Job description

Rehabilitation counsellors assist people suffering from physical, mental, emotional and developmental disabilities in trying to live independent lives. This position involves working one on one with patients or clients to cope, manage or overcome the various effects of disabilities that can impact employment opportunities, social lives and independent living.


    • Conduct one-on-one meetings with people suffering from physical, psychological or emotional disabilities
    • Prepare documentation for relevant correspondence, services provided and eligibility of various services
    • Develop treatment plans tailored to each individual case, considering aptitude or career goals
    • Assist clients in handling details – large and small – in daily lives
    • Monitor patients’ progress to determine if they’re meeting milestones and goals
    • Evaluate individuals’ characteristics and abilities to the eligibility of services, jobs or school
    • Determine if there are barriers to employment, living arrangements or education
    • Maintain, update and organise clients’ records for future reference and perhaps research purposes
    • Communicate with other professionals to assess clients' needs and coordinate treatment plans
    • Keep in regular contact with patients to find out how a job interview went or if they attended a course
    • Understand the efficacy of treatment – past and present – and revise when necessary
    • Manage budgets by authorising expenditures, calculating patients’ needs and monitoring programme finances

Skills and qualities

Time management
Critical thinking

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

There is plenty of room for career advancement for rehabilitation counsellors. Indeed, with experience, you could progress to a director, coordinator or executive role.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule

Full Time

Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

As a rehabilitation counsellor, you can expect to clock in about 40 hours a week, but hours may vary based on where you are employed. You will typically meet patients during mornings, afternoons or nights, and you may need to keep in touch with them on weekends.

Again depending on your employer, some travelling may be required to meet clients in their homes.

You will generally work with people of all ages and backgrounds, including young children with autism, military veterans with physical disabilities and recovering alcoholics.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


Master’s degree in rehabilitation counselling

Study time

5 years

Rehabilitation counsellors generally need a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related subject. Courses often include an internship which will allow you to gain real-world experience in the role.

You’ll generally need a licence from your respective state licensing board, which typically demands a master’s degree, up to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience and passing a state-recognised exam. To maintain accreditation, you might need to complete annual continuing education credits.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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