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M.S. in Clinical Rehabilitation
and mental health counseling

Frequently Asked Questions

What is rehabilitation counseling?

Rehabilitation counselors are counselors first. Their specialization is inherent in our history. We were established in 1920 to meet the needs of returning Veterans who needed assistance in adjusting to returning home from combat. We have expanded to work with people with disabilities and disadvantaged backgrounds. This includes working with adolescents and adults who have substance use disorders, mental health disorders and physical disabilities.

Can I become a licensed professional counselor with the degree?

Licensure as a professional counselor differs from state to state. Our graduates have become licensed in West Virginia and other states. We offer the courses we know are needed for application licensure.

What is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor?

Our students can apply for national certification as a rehabilitation counselor (CRC) in their final semester (or after graduation). The CRC is the premier credential among rehabilitation counselors, ensuring certificants are of good moral character, meet nationally accepted standards of quality in their practice, and have the requisite educational and professional background. The CRC credential can lead to job placements, job advancement, salary advancement, and both medical and non-medical referrals.

Where can I find employment?

Our graduates are working mental health centers, substance abuse treatment centers, vocational rehabilitation agencies, Veterans’ Administration offices and centers, and in private practice. One of our graduates said “It’s one degree with unlimited possibilities for your career.”

What is the employment outlook?

YAHOO announced two professions that are seeing additional demand during our current economic time – career counseling and mental health counseling – two areas for which rehabilitation counselors are uniquely prepared. In addition, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) and the Occupational Outlook Handbook has said the following:

  • Employment of rehabilitation counselors is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for rehabilitation counselors is expected to grow with the increase in the elderly population and with the continued rehabilitation needs of other groups, such as veterans and people with disabilities. 
  • 54 % of the 57 Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment offices in the Veterans Affairs Department don’t have enough counselors, & 40 % need more employment coordinators.
  • Public vocational rehabilitation agencies will be hiring 32,000 more counselors by 2016.
  • The job outlook for mental health counselors, 2014 to 24, is for 19% growth (much faster than average. Growth is expected in both occupations as more people have mental health counseling services covered by their insurance policies. 

What technical competencies are expected of me?

Whether a student is in an e-campus or on campus course, technical competence is required for success in our program. We use technology and recognize that counselors of today and the future need to be competent in its use.

The instructors who design the courses are responsible for pedagogical strategies and the design of the materials in the courses. As they provide instruction, they are accountable for having the knowledge and developing effective strategies for delivering that knowledge and skill development. Our students, as online learners, are in charge of selecting learning strategies appropriate to their goals and preferences. Do you prefer to read the lectures or listen? Do you review the material more than once, taking notes as you go along? You will need to find your resources to complete the assignments, using those provided by the instructor and university but also locating other resources on your own.

You also are required to build up social interaction in your community, among your fellow students and with the instructor to build on what you are learning. You have to manage your own learning, there may be no specific time to be in class so you must implement time management strategies. We expect students to be online interacting in discussion sessions throughout the course of each class period or module that lasts one week.

Students must also exhibit digital competency, the ability to locate, select and evaluate online information – as well as be able to utilize software, hardware and communication tools. You will be communicating virtually, which is different than the way we often communicate in our familiar face-to-face world. Our students report rich interactions with their peer and we find responses are often more thoughtful because you have time to contemplate your response to an instructor or student. Consider this an opportunity to develop your critical thinking and communication skills – crafting thoughtful arguments and well-researched responses. It provides you a way of developing the intellectual component of your interactions with others.

For more information, review Talent competences in the New eLearning Generation

What kind of technology do I need?

West Virginia University strongly encourages all students to use computers in their studies and course work. It is required for those engaged in our e-campus program and courses. Students are further encouraged to purchase for their use while at the University. It is less expensive than renting and more available than those in libraries and work sites. Recommendations from our Office of Information Technology