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Historical Perspective

Following the industrial revolution of the 1920’s and World War II in the 1940’s, the rehabilitation process and the rights of persons with disability emerged as a critical issue in federal legislation with the passing of the Rehabilitation Act of 1954. As part of this legislation, federal funding was provided to educational programs to fund the training of professionals with an expertise in rehabilitation, and thus the rehabilitation counseling profession began to grow and establish its own identity. Historically, rehabilitation counselors primarily served adult workers with disabilities. Presently, rehabilitation counselors (RCs) are recognized as a specialization within the counseling profession who can also work with children and aging populations focusing on independent living and quality of life issues.

Rehabilitation education has a long standing commitment to educate and train s
tudents with the necessary skills to work effectively with people with disabilities. There are rehabilitation program options from the undergraduate through the doctoral level. Nationally, there are approximately:

55 undergraduate rehabilitation programs
90 graduate programs
30 doctoral rehabilitation programs

LSUHSC Department of Rehabilitation houses an undergraduate and a graduate rehabilitation program. We are currently ranked 14th in the nation among graduate and doctoral level programs.

Roles and Responsibilities

Rehabilitation counseling is a specialized segment of the counseling profession which focuses on working with persons with disability. This specialized knowledge of disabilities, chronic illness and environmental factors differentiates rehabilitation counselors (RCs) from other types of counselors. RCs work directly with persons with a disability to support the movement from medical, psychological, educational, social and economic dependence to independence. RCs often collaborate with a variety of health and human service professionals, including, physicians, nurses, therapists, attorneys, case managers, social workers, and employers, to help persons with disability reach independent living goals and improve the quality of life.

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 adjustments 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

Important Links and Resources

Council on Rehabilitation Education
American Counseling Association
National Rehabilitation Association
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination

                               Department Homepage

                         THE PROFESSION

Employment Outlook

There are an estimated 54 million Americans who have physical, mental, or psychological disabilities that restrict their living activities and prevent them from obtaining or maintaining jobs, therefore the employment outlook for the profession is excellent. Recent studies project a future shortage in the number of counselors who can provide assistance to persons with disability.

Overall employment of counselors is expected to “grow faster than the average” (21%-35%) for all occupations through 2012, and job opportunities should be very good because there are usually more job openings than graduates of counseling programs. In addition, numerous job openings will occur as many counselors retire or leave the profession.

Under managed care systems, insurance companies are increasingly providing for reimbursement of counselors as a less costly alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists. Also, legislation is pending that may provide counseling services to Medicare recipients.

The number of people who will need rehabilitation counseling is expected to grow as the population continues to age and as advances in medical technology continue to save lives that only a few years ago would have been lost. In addition, legislation requiring equal employment rights for people with disabilities will spur demand for counselors, who not only will help these people make a transition into the workforce, but also will help companies comply with the law. Employment of mental health counselors will grow as the Nation becomes more comfortable seeking professional help for a variety of health and personal problems. Employers also are increasingly offering employee assistance programs that provide mental health and alcohol and drug abuse services. More people are expected to use these services as society focuses on ways of developing mental well-being, such as controlling stress associated with job and family responsibilities.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition, Counselors, on the Internet at

Licensure and Certification

Certification and licensure of rehabilitation counselors help protect the public and provide a means of identifying those individuals who possess the minimum training and meet supervised work experience standards established by professional groups and governmental agencies.


Licensing bodies are authorized through state legislature.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). A counseling license is a credential authorized by a state legislature that regulates the title and/or practice of professional counselors. Rehabilitation counselors are eligible for LPC in nearly all states (including Louisiana) that regulate counselors; licensure requirements include passing an examination, acquiring needed supervised counseling experience, and, in some states, completing specified coursework.

Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor (LRC). Three states in the U.S. have authorized the licensure of rehabilitation counselors through state legislature, Louisiana, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Hawaii to provide regulation of the practice of vocational rehabilitation counseling and to provide regulation of the use of the title LRC.

Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC).


Certifications are authorized through independent bodies. RCs are eligible for a variety of certifications:

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), an independent credentialing body incorporated in 1974, certifies rehabilitation counselors throughout the United States and in several other countries who meet educational and work experience requirements, pass an examination, and maintain certification by completing 100 hours of acceptable continuing education credits every 5 years.

Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC).

Other Certification Options

Certified Case Manager (CCM)
Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS)
Certified Vocational Evaluator (CVE)
National Certified Addiction Counselor (NCAC)
National Certified Counselor (NCC) and National Certified School Counselor (NCSC)

LSUHSC Department of Rehabilitation Counseling meets the accreditation standards for CORE, deeming students eligible to sit for the CRCC exam. Upon graduation, students meet the curriculum requirements for LPC and LRC in Louisiana. Currently, students have been successful in pursing a variety of credentialing options based on the student's area of interest. The Department of Rehabilitation Counseling is not responsible for ensuring that students are eligible for licensure and certification, however. It is the student’s responsible to identify the educational and experiential requirements for desired licensure and certification application eligibility. The LSUHSC Department of Rehabilitation Counseling will make all efforts to meet the individual needs of each student (i.e., fieldwork placement with a certain disability population).

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