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Rehabilitation Counseling

The mission of our rehabilitation counseling emphasis area is to prepare rehabilitation counselors with knowledge and skills to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities. 

The Rehabilitation Counseling (51-60 credits) emphasis in the Counselor Education (M.Ed.) Master’s Program at Penn State is accredited by Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in Rehabilitation Counseling. This emphasis prepares students for employment in vocational rehabilitation settings such as State Vocational Rehabilitation, Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, Vocational Rehabilitation within the Veterans Administration, Workers Compensation Rehabilitation, Human Resources Settings, Forensic/Private-for-Profit Rehabilitation and in settings that provide career services for people with disabilities.

As one of the earliest rehabilitation counseling programs which started in 1958, Penn State has a distinguished history of producing a well-trained workforce serving people with disabilities. We have consistently been ranked as one of the top programs in the nation and, according to the most recent survey by U.S. News & World Report, our program is ranked 6th nationally with 5 faculty members with expertise in rehabilitation who have won national awards for their teaching, research and service to the profession. For funding options see below

Coordinator: Dr. Allison Fleming,,  (814) 863-2285

 The purposes of the rehabilitation counseling emphasis areas are to:

  • Provide didactic and clinical experiences that prepare students to implement a wide range of interventions to improve the functional, psychological, social and vocational outcomes for people with chronic illness, mental health and/or other disabling conditions (sensory disability, traumatic brain injury, amputation, substance abuse, developmental disability, physical disability).
  • Prepare students to be eligible to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to specialize in vocational aspects of rehabilitation counseling, employment settings, workers compensation and private-for-profit rehabilitation facilities.
  • Prepare counselors to develop effective advocacy skills and provide preventative and developmental strategies to address barriers in the physical and social environment that can limit the civil and human rights of their clients.

Our well-rounded program is attained through emphasis on:

  • Holistic development of individuals with chronic illness, mental health and/or other disabling conditions with a primary focus on empowering individuals to select and implement vocational goals that are congruent with individual values, beliefs, and lifestyles.
  • Understanding the medical aspects of living with a range of chronic illness and disability, and the impact on vocational development and employment opportunities for people with a range of disabling conditions.
  • Client assessment, planning, and service delivery that includes synthesis of all major areas of client information; rehabilitation plan development; knowledge of service delivery; identification of community resources; and vocational assessment.
  • Exploring psychological, social, and cultural factors that can impact client outcomes and development of the multicultural clinical and advocacy skills needed to realize improved outcomes.
  • Incorporating counseling theory, skills and techniques into experiential learning modes including role-playing and genuine counseling situations through supervised practicum at the Dr. Edwin L. Herr Clinic and supervised internship in a counseling setting related to the student's primary interest area. 
  • Click here for a sample curricula sheet


Financial Support

Students are eligible to apply for funds from the Ralph and Pat Pacinelli Endowment.

Frequently Asked Questions