Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling
Do you want to make a difference in the lives of those with disabilities? UNC’s Rehabilitation Counseling program will provide you with the education and training to join a rapidly growing field. You will graduate as a rehabilitation counselor, qualified to help people deal with the personal, social, psychological, medical and vocational effects of disabilities. UNC offers the only CACREP accredited graduate program in rehabilitation counseling in Colorado. In 2023, U.S. News & World Report ranked UNC's program #13 of the best rehabilitation counseling programs in the country.
You will receive specialized training in:
- Social, psychological and medical aspects of disabilities
- Vocational assessment and job placement of people with disabilities
- Rehabilitation counseling theories and techniques
- Improving the quality of life for people with disabilities
- Evaluating research in the field of human rehabilitation
“I started working in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2012, just a few days after commencement.
UNC’s Rehabilitation Counseling program built essential knowledge through interactive
learning and research that helped me to be successful in the workforce. Through two
years in the program, I learned how my passion for helping others can be transformed
into a career choice in an exciting and rewarding field.”
David Herbstman, Rehab Counseling 2012
Following completion of this 60-credit program, you’ll be a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) and also eligible for licensure as a professional counselor (LPC). Students typically complete this degree in two academic years, including one summer. The program’s unique hybrid format allows students to complete classes on-campus and/or online, and students can complete the degree completely remotely, if needed. During the academic year 2022-2023, 5 students graduated from the program, 100% of UNC graduates passed the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam, the job placement rates for graduates actively seeking employment was 100%, a 100% retention rate was achieved, and 100% of students successfully completed the program. Students completed the program in an average of 2.5 years.
Students from a variety of backgrounds and with undergraduate degrees in sociology, nursing, speech therapy, human services, and criminal justice, among others do well in this program. In addition to coursework, you will participate in supervised clinical experiences working with individuals and their families as part of a practicum and internship.
Employment of rehabilitation counselors is projected to grow 11 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations, with the rehabilitation needs of groups, such as veterans and people with disabilities. UNC’s rehabilitation counselors have historically been avidly recruited regionally and nationally.
- State rehabilitation agencies
- Mental health centers
- Insurance companies
- Independent-living centers
- Correctional facilities
- Private practice
The Learning Experience
Small class size and the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring and supervision are two of the aspects of the program that contributes to student success. The program currently has twenty nine students with an average of 8 students graduating every year. The program includes participation in a supervised practicum and off-campus internship with a community service agency. Students have completed internship activities at the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans Administration, Bayaud Enterprises, to name a few.
You will participate in weekly supervision sessions as well as professional development activities. This experience provides you with an opportunity to apply the theoretical concepts and skills learned in your academic program and supplement that knowledge with practical experience. The supervised internship allows you to make the transition from the university setting to the actual work setting and therefore adapt more realistically to professional life.
“The internship experience is vital and invaluable for success as a new rehabilitation
counselor. I am still referring back to my internship experience as I have grown in
this profession. The structure of the classes and the relationships with the professors
also promote success for all students. I like that I am really making a difference
and I can see the positive outcomes. In my job I get to see my clients in the beginning
of their process and the struggles they may be having. At the end I get to see my
clients lives changed for the better.”
Kelly Dieter, Rehab Counseling 2012
Program Mission and Objectives
The goal of the Rehabilitation Counseling Master's Degree Program at the University of Northern Colorado is to provide graduate students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary to function as rehabilitation counseling professionals.
The mission of the program is to educate master's students in the area of rehabilitation counseling to assist and support individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses to achieve maximum potential, meaningful employment, and full community integration. In doing so, the program focuses on encouraging students to pursue a life-long commitment to learning, critical thinking skills, creative problem solving, and an appreciation of the skills and abilities of individuals with disabilities.
- Develop an understanding of psychosocial, cultural, and diversity issues that impact rehabilitation counseling
- Demonstrate ethical behavior and ethical problem-solving skills.
- Evaluate barriers in the environment and social and economic influences that create barriers for individuals with disabilities.
- Effectively utilize counseling theories and techniques to serve individuals with disabilities and chronic illnesses.
- Master methods of inquiry to acquire a deeper understanding of the discipline.
- Utilize current research to improve services for individuals with disabilities and chronic illness.
- Acquire knowledge and skills necessary for careers in rehabilitation counseling, vocational evaluation, and/or advanced scholarly work.
All graduate students pursuing a masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling must complete an off-campus internship experience. Obtain an internship manual from Dr. Erin Moser which delineates the philosophy and objectives of the Rehabilitation internship program, the policies and procedures, and the forms, records and reports to be submitted.
The knowledge obtained in the classroom and practica will be synthesized during the internship experience. In conjunction with the synthesis and evaluation of knowledge, the major purpose of this internship is to aid the student in applying and personalizing this wide variety of information. At the successful completion of the academic program and the internship, the student should be able to function as a professional.
The student, the agency, and the university all benefit from this experience. The agency professional and university faculty must work together if this experience is to be maximized. Every professional should be interested in the recruitment and professional preparation of talented future practitioners. The internship is one area in which all cooperate in making a valuable contribution to the preparation of tomorrow's leaders in Rehabilitation Counseling.
This experience provides the student with an opportunity to apply the theoretical concepts and skills learned in their academic program and supplement that knowledge with practical experience. The supervised internship allows the student to make the transition from the university setting to the actual work setting and therefore adapt more realistically to the professional life he/she is about to enter.
Admission and Enrollment (Matriculation) Requirements
You must hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of the most recently completed degree. The program uses a rolling admissions process with applications reviewed as they are received. In addition to the academic requirements, students should have a desire to help people, want to work with people, have an open mind in how they view people and their problems, be quick-thinking and resourceful and very importantly, be willing to challenge themselves.
Rehabilitation Counseling graduate students are required to follow the Graduate School’s enrollment requirements, which can be found in the graduate catalog. A graduate student is considered half-time when registered for 5 credits and full-time when registered for 9 credits.