Our Rehabilitation Counseling MA program will prepare you to be a professional counselor and provide assistance with psychological wellness through flexible, consumer-oriented therapy to individuals experiencing various problems in living, including mental disorders and substance abuse.

# 3

Rehabilitation Counseling Program (U.S. News & World Report)

No. 3 ranked Rehabilitation Counseling program in U.S.  

Program Overview

Graduates of our program learn to integrate their counseling skills with the psychosocial, medical, vocational, and multicultural aspects of disability. They develop ethically sound case management skills that allow them to provide services that address employment, including career development and placement, independent living, including disability management, transition and vocational assessment and community integration.

Program Requirements

For a complete list of courses and requirements:

Field Experience

The curriculum blends academic work with supervised clinical experiences. You will complete one semester of practicum concurrently with courses and one semester in a full-time internship placement.

Employment Opportunities

The MA in Rehabilitation Counseling prepares professional counselors to assist persons with psychiatric disabilities with their psychological wellness, employment, independent living, and personal or economic development. The following list are some examples of potential employment opportunities:

  • State Rehabilitation Agencies
  • Veterans Administration
  • Hospitals
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
  • K-12 Schools with Transition Programs
  • Independent Living Centers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Private Agencies or Practice

Financial Support

Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA) Scholars Program

The Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Counseling 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. students by recruiting, educating, graduating, and placing competent and diverse rehabilitation counselor to work in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and related agencies. Contact john-wadsworth@uiowa.edu for more information. 

Graduate Assistantships at the University of Iowa are designed to provide students with work experience and a means to finance their education while providing the University with the benefit of an innovative work force. Some assistantships are closely related to specific departments or fields, and all require specific skills or aptitudes. An assistantship in any office on campus could provide valuable experience, open new career paths, and help finance your graduate education. In addition to a monthly salary, assistantships frequently provide a tuition scholarship. Positions vary from quarter-time (10 hours per week) to half-time (20 hours per week).

The majority of graduate assistantships at the University of Iowa are in the bargaining unit of the graduate student union. Offices that have recently employed students include (but are not limited to):  Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education, Orientation Services, Division of Student Life, Pomerantz Career Center, Admissions, Student Health, Honors Program, Student Disabilities Services.  You may also check the Handshake website for student employment at the University of Iowa (search term = graduate).

Each year, the Iowa Testing Programs award a limited number of fellowships to students with outstanding academic credentials in the College of Education. Students of color with strong credentials may be eligible for Graduate College Graduate Opportunity Fellowships.

We are particularly interested in encouraging applications from those traditionally underrepresented in the field. The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion offers programs and activities to support historically marginalized, first-generation students and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds to thrive and succeed at the University of Iowa.

Faculty and Research

To see associated faculty, please: Visit Faculty Listing

Admissions and Application

Application deadline is March 3, 2023 (priority). April 3, 2023 (final).

  • A bachelor’s degree from a Regionally Accredited American College or University, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions
  • Undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better on a four-point scale
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General test scores – verbal and quantitative.
  • English Proficiency Requirements (international applicants)
  • A personal interview (in person or by telephone) with the faculty

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General test scores – verbal and quantitative. Official GRE scores from Educational Testing Service (the university’s institutional code is 6681)
  • Official TOEFL scores may be required for some non-native speakers of English
  • Current Resume
  • A statement of purpose, including a statement of your personal career objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation. You will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders, including their email, on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email with instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.

Apply Now

Please review the required supplemental documents above before starting the general graduate application.

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Program Resources

Program Vision and Values

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

  • Belief in the dignity and worth of all people
  • Commitment to a sense of equal justice based on a model of accommodation to provide and equalize the opportunities
  • Holistic perspective of the individual
  • Belief in self-responsibility and wellness

Program Mission

The mission of the Graduate Program in Rehabilitation 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 Program in Rehabilitation Counseling

The University of Iowa’s rehabilitation counseling program has contributed numerous practitioners, educators, researchers, and administrators to the profession of rehabilitation counseling. The programs have achieved national recognition through many faculty and student awards and publications. The master's program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation on Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP)  and it is in good standing.

The Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation Counseling is part of the College of Education as well as the Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education. In addition to clinical mental health counseling, the Department provides accredited M.A. programs in school counseling and rehabilitation counseling. At the doctoral level, the Department offers the counselor education and supervision degree. The close coordination and support among the Department's programs provide students access to a wide range of faculty and courses.

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. students by recruiting, educating, graduating, and placing competent and diverse rehabilitation counselor to work in the state Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and related agencies. Contact john-wadsworth@uiowa.edu for more information. 

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 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.

Contact Us

Program Coordinator

John Wadsworth
Associate Professor
N338A Lindquist Center


Application questions can be directed to: Anne Sparks, 319-335-2146, anne-sparks@uiowa.edu.

We look forward to receiving your application!