Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling 

The International Rehabilitation Counseling Consortium, describes a Rehabilitation counselor as one who "possesses the specialized knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to collaborate in a professional relationship with people who have disabilities to achieve their personal, social, psychological and vocational goals."

The American Counseling Association defines Professional Counseling as "a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals."

Our program is uniquely situated to prepare a hybrid professional encompassing both mental health and rehabilitation counseling skillsets, expanding employment and career options for all graduates.

Visit the Program Objectives and Outcomes section to learn more about how our program prepares students to work in these fields.


Through Virginia Commonwealth University’s M.S. in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program, graduates become qualified for a wide range of employment opportunities, including:

  • community services and crisis intervention
  • job placement
  • private practice
  • hospital-based counseling and consultation
  • disability services
  • college counseling centers
  • outpatient or inpatient addictions counseling
  • vocational rehabilitation
  • career counseling centers
  • and many more...

For more information, Commissions on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification released a salary report (2021) on occupations and wages for certified rehabilitation counselors.

Roles and Responsibilities

Acquiring your education and training is just the start; understanding what is expected of you is a major step in becoming a counselor. The foundation of the counseling profession is to assist individuals to become and/or remain self-sufficient, productive citizens within the community of their choice. Counselors help persons  respond constructively to societal and personal challenges, plan careers, and find and keep satisfying jobs.


Rehabilitation and mental health counseling involve more than classroom work and training — we encourage our students to embrace a philosophy that is interdisciplinary and inclusive.

Counseling is an empowering process in which persons exercise control over their lives. Basic philosophical underpinnings of the counseling profession include the concept of the holistic nature of people, wellness, and equality of opportunity.

Holistic nature of people - Counseling focuses on the whole person, within an ecological context, instead of solely on limitations or deficits. A holistic and ecological perspective includes the physical, mental and emotional aspects of the person as well as the relationship to his/her family, schoolwork and the total environment. 

Wellness - Wellness is a state of physical, mental and emotional health.  Even though an individual may experience severe illness and/or disability, the characteristics of optimum health and wellness are promoted.

Equality of opportunity -  All individuals have the right to access all of society's opportunities and benefits. Counseling supports individuals to participate in a meaningful way in society, including though employment.