Online Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Programs

Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Programs: Overview

Online Rehabilitation Counseling Programs provide a focused area of study within the larger context of behavioral health and human services. As a discipline, rehabilitation counseling is devoted to the therapeutic support of people who have disabilities. Graduate programs support this through the study of counseling research and top techniques related to various disabilities and their effects on daily life.

Students who pursue a rehabilitation counseling degree online might take courses that address the medical, emotional, and environmental impacts of disability. Those who want to follow other avenues, but still in an assistive capacity, might consider related best programs in mental health counseling, social work, and rehabilitation science.

 Grad Programs in Rehabilitation Counseling Online

Rehabilitation Counselors are mental health professionals that work with disabled people, helping them overcome personal obstacles and live independently. Their unique skill set includes an in-depth grasp of what people face when they are disabled. As counselors, they assess a client’s situation and come up with strategies to help them manage, overcome, or adapt to challenges. Some rehabilitation counselors may also get involved with advocacy, to encourage policies that benefit disabled populations.

For instance, they might help someone with limited mobility learn to navigate a transportation system so that the person can run errands or keep their job. At heart, a Rehabilitation Counselor’s goal is to help groups such as the elderly, veterans, the unemployed, and students live independent lives despite their obstacles.

Popular Schools with Online Counseling Psychology Programs – Degrees

ProgramInstitutionDegree Awarded
Rehabilitation CounselingUniversity of KentuckyMRC
Rehabilitation CounselingWestern Washington UniversityMRC
Rehabilitation CounselingUniversity at BuffaloMRC
Rehabilitation Counseling and Human ServicesUniversity of IdahoMS
Vocational RehabilitationUniversity of Wisconsin – StoutMS
Rehabilitation Counseling ProgramUtah State UniversityN/A
Rehabilitation Counseling Masters Program; Certificate Program in Rehabilitation CounselingUniversity of Arkansas – Little RockN/A
Graduate Certificate in AddictionsPurdue University GlobalN/A
MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling – Forensic CounselingWalden UniversityN/A
MA Clinical Mental Health CounselingAntioch UniversityAM
MA: Addictions CounselingLiberty University OnlineN/A
MS – Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CACREP-accredited)Capella UniversityMS

Why Earn a Rehabilitation Counseling Degree Online?

Many online rehabilitation counseling programs mirror the quality of a university’s on-campus programs, while still meeting the needs of busy adults. They usually do this through a flexible format. For instance, some schools coordinate with students to allow them to complete practicum, fieldwork and internships within their local community. And, while coursework is delivered over the Internet, there may not be set log in times; this arrangement could provide a convenient alternative to set class times.

Attending rehabilitation counseling programs online might allow you to apply what you learn to your current career, or help you develop skills to transition into a new occupation. For instance, you might fine-tune your ability to listen actively, assess clients, and think through treatment strategies given the insight into new research and multiple theories and techniques.

Types of Online Rehabilitation Counseling Programs

Online Rehabilitation Counseling Programs may be available at the Masters, Doctorate and Graduate Certificate Levels.

Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling Online Programs

Online rehabilitation counseling masters programs are common as they may provide the course of study necessary to pursue a career as a licensed or certified rehabilitation counselor. While state regulations vary, licensure is dependent on several things. To qualify, students often must have a relevant masters degree and about 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical practice. Another common requirements for licensed counselors is to pass pass a state-recognized exam.i

Some programs may even allow you to pursue a more focused path. For example, students interested in helping disabled people find and maintain gainful employment may want to earn an online vocational rehabilitation counseling masters degree.

Doctoral Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Online

Online doctoral programs in rehabilitation counseling may highlight mental health research or, prepare students for leadership. Furthermore, they might provide current counselors with added expertise to help them refine a clinical area of focus. For those who prefer a shorter program that may target a therapeutic intervention, a graduate certificate might be a worthwhile endeavor.


Rehabilitation counselors are the only professional counselors educated and trained at the graduate level specifically to serve individuals with disabilities.ii

Online Master Degree Programs in Rehabilitation Counseling

An online Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling degree program typically provides the core skills and theory that may prepare students to pursue a career as skilled Rehabilitation Counselors. Some online Rehabilitation Counseling Masters degree programs may be offered in a part-time, 100% online format. In these programs, a student who took two courses per semester (fall, spring, and summer) might complete their degree in less than three years.

Applicants to some programs usually need a bachelors degree in a related field (BA or BS). Material such as a minimum GPA, personal essay, and reference letters are usually needed, however GRE scores might not be a factor.

Online MSW in Addiction Counseling

An online Master of Social Work may prepare students to fulfill state requirements of licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). Clinical social workers help people solve problems and cope with lifespan issues. They also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.

Applicants to online Social Work programs usually choose a program that aligns with their current education.

The traditional MSW is oriented to students who hold an undergraduate degree, but it is not in social work. The path to an MSW typically includes more than 1,000 hours of field education.

An advanced Standing MSW is typically a 37-credit program that is designed for applicants who have their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). Full-time students might expect to complete this type of degree in about one year.

Some online MSW programs offer tracks where students might focus their studies in areas such as families and children, mental health, military, substance abuse, or community. This means that aside from graduate-level social work courses, students take courses that relate to their major. Usually, the area of emphasis mirrors a population they hope to engage with.

Online PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling

An Online PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling is a research-based degree. It is often designed for counselors who want to enhance their ability to lead, teach, or research. Applicants tend to need a masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from a CORE-accredited program in order to apply. Or, in some universities, they must have completed basic coursework in counseling theories, principles of rehabilitation, or the medical and psychosocial aspects of disability. Also, they must have finished their counseling practicum and internship.

While PhD students often have to identify an area of study for their independent research (dissertation), their course of study is often rigorous and may include several key topics. These revolve around core counselor courses, core rehabilitation courses, and doctoral seminars that span educational psychology and instruction methods. Subjects may include:

  • Advanced Research on Disability and Human Behavior
  • Cultural and Diversity Issues in Mental Health Treatment and Research
  • Professional Issues in Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Advanced Career Counseling and Vocational Development

Online PhD in Rehabilitation Science

An online PhD in Rehabilitation Science is a research-based degree. Rehabilitation Science is a multi-faceted field that focuses on human function and disability. PhD programs in Rehabilitation Science often cover basic and applied research from the health sciences, social sciences, engineering, and related fields. As a result, they may appeal to students with a background in physical or occupational therapy.

In fact, applicants typically need a background in one of these disciplines: occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language pathology, rehabilitation counseling, prosthetics & orthotics, medicine, nursing, engineering, or other fields related to rehabilitation science.

Online PsyD in Mental Health Administration

An online Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Mental Health Administration is a professional practice degree that may prepare students to take a proactive stance in service delivery. While devoted to independent research, students might also be required to take courses and seminars. Some of these might explore the psychology of leadership and the biological bases of behavior. Other courses could cover adult psychopathology, treatment, and ethical leadership.

Online Rehabilitation Counseling Course Topics

Online Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling programs tend to provide both a theoretical and clinical knowledge base. Coursework often covers basics such as how to interview, make a diagnosis, and help clients set goals. Also, a course of study might take a deeper look at trauma, and psychiatric disabilities. Students might also acquire the therapeutic techniques to address specific types of clientele. Public offenders, addicts, troubled youth, and the blind are several examples.

Also, a course of study might help future counselors grasp some of the more administrative aspects. This includes things such as caseload management, vocational placement, and community liason. Aside from their courses, students usually take part in counseling internships and may be required to write a final thesis. While each school may have unique courses, this general sample may give you some insight into other topics that may be covered.

Online Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Certificate

An online graduate certificate in Rehabilitation Counseling might address a specific therapeutic modality. Often designed around the busy lives of human services professionals, some programs entail about 12 credits. Applicants may need some work experience, along with a bachelors degree and possibly, related prerequisite courses.

As a stand-alone program, a graduate certificate might enhance credentials and offer new techniques. For instance, a graduate certificate in horticultural therapy might explore the use and impact of healthcare gardens.

List of Online Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Programs

Online Rehabilitation Counseling Program Names

Degree Awarded

Online MSW in Addiction Counseling

MSW – Masters in Social Work

Online PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling


Online PhD in Rehabilitation Science


Online PsyD in Mental Health Administration


Online Rehabilitation Counseling Certificate

Graduate Certificate

Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling Online

M.S. – Masters

Online Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Masters

MS – Masters

Rehabilitation Psychology Career Outlook

Per the BLS, employment of rehabilitation counselors is anticipated to grow by 9 percent from 2014 to 2024.i This means that there should be a need for professionals who have the skills to work with disabled veterans, autism spectrum disorders, substance abuse, and learning disabilities.

Find Accredited Online Rehabilitation Programs

Online Rehabilitation Counseling programs may be found at regionally-accredited universities and online graduate schools. Individual programs may be professionally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) or by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).


Top Salary Metro Areas in the United States: Rehabilitation Counselors
Metro AreaAnnual Mean SalaryEmployment
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ$61,08030
Olympia-Tumwater, WA$61,010170
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX$55,9200
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA$55,420300
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL$53,99080

Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor?

The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) is a credential designed for rehabilitation counselors who have meet the strict standards of the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). While there are different eligibility requisites, one is to graduate from a Master’s in Rehabilitation Counselor Education (RCE) program accredited by CORE, or, from a Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (CLRC) program dually accredited by CORE and CACREP. In addition, individuals must have completed a rehabilitation counseling internship of 600 hours supervised by a CRC.ii

What Is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor?

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors focus on employment issues. Online rehabilitation programs tend to provide coursework in career development. However, there are also specific requirements called “core competencies” that address the skills required to provide this type of counseling to disabled clients.iii These might be highlighted in an online Master of Science degree in Vocational Rehabilitation.

For instance, the course of study might address job placement, interpersonal skills, and life care planning. Also, courses could cover sign language, rehab for the older disabled worker, and work adjustment services.

[i] | [ii] | [iii]

Top 17 Online Graduate Schools with Counseling Psychology Programs – Programs

  • Offering two quality, competency-based online learning formats: FlexPath & GuidedPath
  • Online degrees in business, counseling, education, health administration, human services, information technology, nursing, public health, psychology and social work.
  • 97% of alumni agree FlexPath provided the flexibility they needed to pursue their degree (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2017)
  • Purdue University Global

  • Walden University

  • Antioch University

  • Liberty University Online

  • Capella University

  • University of the Southwest

  • Wake Forest University

  • Our Lady of the Lake University

  • Lasell University

  • UMassOnline

  • Western Washington University

  • University of Kentucky

  • Thomas University

  • Auburn University

  • Montana State University - Billings