Rehabilitation Counselor

Job Description


Rehabilitation counselors assist people with various disabilities become more independent in their lives. They create rehabilitation programs that boost confidence, teach skills that allow them to live independently, and develop useful job skills.

They use a wide range of techniques to gain information about the patient, including direct interviews, researching medical records, reading educational histories, and speaking with physicians, occupational therapists, and psychologists to develop an individually tailored plan.




Rehabilitation counselors assist people who have disabilities from a wide range of causes, including physical issues, mental and emotional issues, substance abuse problems, social problems, people with depression, chronic pain, and learning issues, birth defects, serious injuries, diseases and other ailments, combat wounds, or the damage inflicted by workplace or vehicular accidents.

They identify the person's strengths and weaknesses and use these to create a comprehensive, goal-intensive plan that helps with treatment, job placement, and beneficial personal and vocational advice.

Their responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Assessing psychological, medical, and vocational needs

  • Developing treatment plans

  • Counseling patients

  • Interpreting diagnoses

  • Consulting with other health professionals

  • Assessing capacity for independent lifestyle

  • Counseling patients

  • Helping career planning

  • Working with employers to identify and modify work tasks

  • Setting goals to build confidence and improve disability

Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals to teach them how to take on tasks one small step at a time and instill confidence which facilitates development and rehabilitation.

They have to be able to adapt their knowledge for many different circumstances since they help treat a wide range of disabilities. 




A rehabilitation therapist needs to be skilled in many areas as they work with a wide range of people with different disabilities.

They must be able to tailor their skills for each individual and adapt and learn with each new client. They must be sensitive to patient needs and very service oriented.

Among their skills are the following:

Active Listening

Must give full attention to what others are saying and respond in a constructive, helpful way.

Social Perceptiveness

Understanding the reasons people make the decisions they do and how their behavior is affected by circumstances.


Be able to understand people and relate with them emotionally.


Must be able to convey information effectively and speak with people in a non-abrasive way. 


Keeping an eye on clients and gauging improvements or failures and correcting them.

Critical Thinking

Identify strengths and weaknesses, come up with alternative plans and solutions.


Plan with other healthcare professional proper treatment plans. Adjust your plans to other plans.


Must have a natural desire to improve the lives of others.


Convince others to change their ways of thinking and lifestyles.

Problem Solving

Work with individuals to develop treatment plans specific to them and adjust as necessary if it doesn't work.


Must be able to teach individuals how to learn new skill sets and develop new lifestyles.


Working Conditions


Rehabilitation counselors typically work on a standard schedule of 40 hours per week, since emergency services are not usually needed.

However, the counselor must be prepared for flexible scheduling to fit their work in around the clients' schedule.

Substance abuse counselors, behavioral disorder counselors, and independent self-employed specialists often work in the evening.

Those working in family or marriage counselors often work weekends to fit the busy schedule of clients' employment and school demands.



Salary Outlook