Iowa Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Programs & Schools

A number of top accredited graduate schools offer Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Programs which prepare students with the best techniques and counseling skills to work in this fast-growing field[i]. While it may be common to associate the term ‘rehabilitation’ with substance abuse and recovery, rehabilitation counselors work with diverse groups. Their goal is to help people such as the elderly, veterans, individuals with autism, personal, social or vocational difficulties to adapt, integrate into their communities, and lead independent lives. Today’s employer usually seeks well-trained candidates, and this usually involves a Master’s degree, and often the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) certification[ii]. If you are excited to potentially join the ranks of this fascinating profession, finding a graduate school should be on your priority list!

Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling: Basics

Essentially, earning a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling means about 2 years of full-time study as well as a period of supervised clinical practice. While each university or counseling school may have its own admission protocol, students are required to have a Bachelor’s degree unless they attend a school with a dual Bachelor’s-Master’s degree. The type of undergraduate degree you have is often the foundation for your graduate degree. For instance, if you have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and are interested in clinical rehabilitation counseling, you might then enroll in a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling. On the other hand, if you have a liberal arts degree or a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services, you might seek a Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling which tends to be more of an academic research degree and entails a thesis.

DID YOU KNOW? “Initially, rehabilitation professionals were recruited from a variety of human service disciplines, including public health nursing, social work, and school counseling. Although educational programs began to appear in the 1940s, it was not until the availability of federal funding for rehabilitation counseling programs in 1954 that the profession began to grow and establish its own identity[iii].”

Why Consider a Campus Rehabilitation Counseling Program?

Certainly, graduate students today have options. So why consider attending graduate school for your Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Campus programs are also becoming more convenient to the working professional; often classes are offered in the evenings or on week-ends.
  • Sometimes when you are really busy, it helps to have a schedule to help focus your available time, and the group aspect may be very motivational.
  • You will have opportunities for face-to-face interactions and networking opportunities with classmates, peers and faculty.
  • On-campus study enables you to participate in college life, and use facilities such as resource libraries, gym, laboratories and social services
  • Your program may entail learning the uses of assistive technology to help your client have a better quality of life plus diagnostic skills that need to be learned in person (on-campus)

Education and Training for Rehabilitation Counselors

While courses vary between universities, some of the themes incorporated into a Masters Degree program in Rehabilitation Counseling could include[iv]:

  • Counseling skills, theory, practices
  • Theory of human development
  • Ethics
  • Disability management
  • Understanding prescription drugs
  • How to work with individuals and groups
  • Screening for danger signs
  • Medical intake, assessment, treatment plan
  • How to integrate different populations into their communities
  • Research methodologies & how to apply research
  • Vocational counseling, work related assessments, career theory
  • Advocacy, outreach, public policy
  • Case management


In terms of accreditation, clinical rehabilitation counseling programs may be accredited by CACREP or CORE. These tend to have curriculums that follow the criteria for professionals working in this field.[v] Other graduate schools may be accredited regionally or nationally.

Certification and Licensing

Earning a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling is typically one of the criteria that needs to be met for state licensure and for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor certificate[vi]. Certification for rehabilitation counselors is often work-setting related, and licensing requirements vary by state. What you do want to know is that state licensing gives you the ability to work independently. In terms of certification, this is not necessarily required but may be advantageous in your job search.

Find a Campus-Based Rehabilitation Counseling Program

The two things to consider when looking for a graduate school for your Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling are location and accreditation. Coursework and practicum can be rigorous undertakings but also but also a time to perhaps explore studying in another city, state or country. Or maybe you love where you are and want to stay local. This is where a location search comes in handy; use the navigation to help refine your results for accredited graduate schools. Start browsing the sponsored program listings and make sure to contact the prospective graduate schools for more information.

sources: [i] |[ii] [iii] |[iv] |[v] |[vi] |

  • Offering two quality, competency-based online learning formats: FlexPath & GuidedPath
  • With FlexPath, you can earn your master’s degree in 12 months and under $11,000*
  • 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)

*Assumes accelerated pace. Price varies by your pace and transfer credits. Other fees may apply.

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