RCE Departmental Resources

Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA) Scholars Program

The Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation received a RSA Scholars Long-term Training Grant from U.S. Department of Education. The goal is to increase the supply of qualified M.A. and Ph.D. students by recruiting, educating, graduating, and placing competent and diverse rehabilitation counselor and rehabilitation counselor educators to work in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and related agencies. Contact john-wadsworth@uiowa.edu for more information. 

Rehabilitation as a Profession

Rehabilitation counseling began as an occupation almost 80 years ago, serving the needs of veterans returning from World War I and workers injured in industry. Major strides in the growth and definition of the profession occurred after 1954 with the recognition of rehabilitation counseling in federal legislation and the allocation of training funds for the education of rehabilitation counseling professionals. Today, there are more than 13,000 Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs) practicing in the United States, addressing the vocational, psychosocial, and independent living needs of the estimated 49 million persons with physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and developmental disabilities.

Rehabilitation counselors work in a variety of settings including public agencies such as state vocational rehabilitation organizations and Veteran's Administration vocational rehabilitation programs; private non-profit rehabilitation centers and supported employment programs; and private for-profit worker's compensation and insurance rehabilitation agencies.

Many new and exciting types of settings and services are emerging in rehabilitation counselor practice. Rehabilitation counselors may be found in such diverse areas as disability management programs in industry, schools, hospitals and clinics, residential and independent living agencies, university student support services, corrections facilities, and employment agencies, as well as employee assistance programs. Rehabilitation counselors provide interventions that are designed to assist persons with disabilities in adapting to the demands of the environment and that prepare the environment to accommodate the needs of the individual and enhance the full participation of persons with disabilities in society. The median expected salary for a typical Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in the United States is $59,593 (Source: www.salary.com).

National professional standards require that the qualified rehabilitation counseling professional has (a) completed a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or a closely related program (e.g., counseling); (b) achieved national certification; and (c) attained the appropriate state licensure in those states that require this level of credential for counseling practice and that allow for the licensing of counselors with a rehabilitation counseling background. 

Rehabilitation Counseling: Scope of Practice

Rehabilitation counseling is a systematic process that assists persons with physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities to achieve their personal, career, and independent living goals in the most integrated setting possible through the application of the counseling process. The counseling process involves communication, goal setting, and beneficial growth or change through self-advocacy and psychological, vocational, social, and behavioral interventions. The specific techniques and modalities utilized within this rehabilitation counseling process may include, but are not limited to:

  • Assessment and appraisal.
  • Diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Career (vocational) counseling.
  • Individual and group counseling treatment interventions focused on facilitating adjustment to the medical and psychosocial impact of disability.
  • Case management, referral, and service coordination.
  • Program evaluation and research.
  • Interventions to remove environmental, employment, and attitudinal barriers.
  • Consultation services among multiple parties and regulatory systems.
  • Job analysis, job development, and placement services, including assistance with employment and job accommodations.
  • The provision of consultation about, and access to, rehabilitation technology.

Newsletter Archive - The Rehab Review

Program Mission, Vision and Overview

Program Vision

To be the premier graduate rehabilitation and mental health counseling education program recognized for its diversity, and known for excellence in teaching, learning and research.

Program Mission

The mission of the Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at The University of Iowa is to increase opportunities for participation and choices of people served through education, training, research, leadership, and community engagement.

Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

The programs are consumer-focused rehabilitation and mental health counseling and counselor education programs. For many years, The University of Iowa has contributed numerous practitioners, educators, researchers, and administrators to the profession of rehabilitation and mental health counseling. The programs have achieved national recognition through many faculty and student awards and publications. The master's program in Rehabilitation Counseling is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and by Council on Accreditation on Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) in Community Counseling.

Since 2000, U.S. News and World Report's national ratings of graduate programs have ranked the University of Iowa's Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Programs in the top 5% of all counseling programs; in 2011 the Program was ranked the 2nd in the nation. In 1997 the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association awarded its President's Exemplary Rehabilitation Education Award to our master's and doctoral programs in rehabilitation. The award acknowledged "the demonstration of excellence in innovative and exemplary academic program efforts that offer significant potential for improving the standards and practices of graduate rehabilitation education." The combination of these two recent honors have validated our opinion of the strength of the educational approach taken to prepare rehabilitation counselors for the future needs of the profession, here at the University of Iowa. Our programs have a major impact on the field of rehabilitation counseling.

The Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling are part of the College of Education as well as the Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education. In addition to rehabilitation and mental health counseling, the Department provides accredited M.A. programs in school counseling. At the doctoral level, the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counselor Education Program, along with Ph.D. programs in counseling and human development and student development in postsecondary education, combine to form the accredited doctoral program in counselor education. The close coordination and support among the Department's programs provide students access to a wide range of faculty and courses.

An Established Program

Iowa's Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling have evolved over more than 50 years. The first master's degree in rehabilitation counseling was awarded in 1956, and in 1959 Marceline Jaques became Iowa's first doctoral graduate in rehabilitation counselor education and the first woman to receive her Ph.D. in this field in the nation. Since its founding, the program has produced more than 50 doctoral degree and more than 350 master's degree graduates.

Our programs are an institutional member of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NRCE) and have been chartered as Rho Upsilon Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International. The University of Iowa Rehabilitation Counseling Association (UI-ARCA) is a recognized student organization affiliated with the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA), and has the honor of being its first student chapter. UI-ARCA provides the opportunity for students to develop both personally and professionally. In addition, through the interests and efforts of individual faculty members, the programs have ties with a wide range of professional organizations in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.


Constituent Report