Is becoming a rehabilitation counselor right for me?
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How to become a Rehabilitation Counselor
Educational requirements are, at minimum, college-level community rehabilitation training, but in the U.S., a master's degree is usually preferred. Workers with a Master's in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies will have a much greater range of employment options and better wage expectations. In Canada programs are offered for a one-year or two-year diploma or certificate for entry-level positions. Strong marks in English language arts and social studies are an entrance requirement, and additional training can include topics like Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Standard First Aid and CPR certificates, criminal and child welfare checks, and health immunization records are also prerequisites of employment in most countries. A period of supervised internship is also necessary.
Loving people and having a desire to help others are important qualities for this type of work. An interest in development of innovative approaches and creative problem solving will contribute to employment success. Advocating for client rights and for the rights of disabled people in general is also an important part of the job, and the counselor must be able to work independently or as part of a team of professionals. Other personal characteristics include:
- empathy and respect for individuals they are working with
- a positive and enthusiastic attitude, able to motivate people
- good communication skills, good listening abilities