Rehabilitation Counseling

Western Michigan University offers two "tracks" in rehabilitation counseling.  The generalist rehabilitation counseling (CERM) program and the rehabilitation counseling/teaching (RCTM) program.

Rehabilitation Counseling (CERM) Generalist Degree

The Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology's rehabilitation counseling (CERM) option is a 53-credit-hour program designed to prepare generalist rehabilitation counselors for employment in vocation rehabilitation settings serving persons with disabilities. Western Michigan University's rehabilitation counseling program incorporates course work in small 'n' research design and analysis, services for persons with disabilities, computer technology in rehabilitation, job development and placement, psychosocial aspects of disability, medical and functional aspects of disability, and foundations of rehabilitation counseling. The program includes a 600-hour supervised rehabilitation counseling internship in a vocational rehabilitation employment setting. The average amount of time to complete the rehabilitation counseling program is two years. This option leads to eligibility for licensure as a professional counselor in the State of Michigan and eligibility for national rehabilitation counselor certification (CRCC).

Rehabilitation Couseling/Teaching (RCTM) Dual Degree

The rehabilitation counseling program is also offered in conjunction with the Master of Arts in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy as a dual Master of Arts degree program in rehabilitation counseling /teaching (RCTM). The rehabilitation counseling/teaching (RCTM) dual degree program is a 76-credit-hour program. The rehabilitation counseling/teaching degree program prepares a dually competent practitioner who is able to provide both rehabilitation counseling and vision rehabilitation therapy. This degree option has two cohort time options to complete the program.  Students may elect the compressed cohort schedule to complete the degrees in two years and one semester; or, the extended cohort sequence to complete the degrees in three years and one semester.  The program includes a 600-hour supervised rehabilitation counseling internship in a vocational rehabilitation employment setting and a 600-hour supervised vision rehabilitation therapy internship in a blind rehabilitation setting. This option leads to eligibility for licensure as a professional counselor in the State of Michigan; eligibility for national rehabilitation counselor certification (CRCC); and, vision rehabilitation therapist certification.

Mission and Objectives

Rehabilitation Counseling/Teaching Program Mission Statement
It is the mission of the Western Michigan University Rehabilitation Counseling (CERM)/Teaching (RCTM) Programs to promote quality rehabilitation services for, and with, individuals with disabilities by preparing qualified rehabilitation counseling personnel through:

  • Applying an Evidence-Based Practice training approach
  • Focusing clinical preparation on well-established and promising practices
  • Fostering a culturally competent and globally engaged client/consumer/employer centered perspective
  • Promoting student oriented mentorship and leadership opportunities
  • Conducting discovery oriented employment, disability, and rehabilitation research to advance the profession
  • Providing professional, student-centered, and consultation services to rehabilitation agencies, facilities, and associations.

Rehabilitation Counseling (CERM) and Rehabilitation Counseling Teaching (RCTM) Programs Objectives
Objectives supporting the RC/RCT Program Mission are to:

  1. Prepare rehabilitation counselor (CERM)/teachers (RCTM) who subscribe to the basic philosophical tenets of rehabilitation, including the value and worth of all individuals, a belief in human dignity, the right of all individuals to live as independently as possible, to engage in gainful employment, and to have full participation in society.
  2. Prepare competent professionals in rehabilitation counseling (CERM)/teaching (RCTM) with skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for delivering rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities.
  3. Prepare rehabilitation counselor (CERM)/teachers (RCTM) who embrace professionalism by: a) adhering to the Codes of Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors and Teachers; b) engaging in activities that foster the advancement of the rehabilitation counseling (CERM)/teaching (RCTM) profession; and, c) updating/maintaining skills through life long learning and service to the rehabilitation profession.
  4. Prepare rehabilitation counselors (CERM) with expertise in blindness or low vision services (RCTM).
  5. Utilize experiential and innovative instructional strategies to maintain high quality personnel preparation programs in rehabilitation counseling (CERM)/teaching (RCTM).
  6. Facilitate a diverse learning environment through recruitment of representative populations within each cohort of students.
  7. Emphasize diversity and multicultural issues in CERM/RCTM program offerings.
  8. Engage in ongoing program evaluation and improvement to respond to the ever changing evolution of applicant, student, legislative, profession, employer, and consumer demands.
  9. Utilize a collaborative, constituent-based cooperative approach for CERM/RCTM program management which includes contributions of; students, faculty, department representatives, rehabilitation community representatives, and the CERM/RCTM Program Advisory Board.
  10. Promote the practice and profession of rehabilitation counseling (CERM)/Teaching (RCTM) by emphasizing the vocational aspects of rehabilitation service delivery within the context of human development.
  11. Meet the demand for qualified rehabilitation counseling (CERM)/Teaching (RCTM) personnel in public and private rehabilitation systems, with emphasis in systems serving individuals with blindness or low vision.
  12. Pursue internal and external student and research based funding to support personnel development and advancement of the profession.
  13. Facilitate student acquisition of a strong conceptual and working knowledge of the foundations and principles supporting rehabilitation counseling (CERM)/teaching (RCTM).
  14. Establish and maintain professional and student centered research/services with local, state, regional, national, and global rehabilitation entities.
  15. Maintain the high standard of professional education in rehabilitation counseling (CERM)/teaching (RCTM) as established by the CORE and ACVREP accreditation bodies.
  16. Engage life-long learning approach to rehabilitation service delivery.

Admissions

Application for the Masters of Arts in rehabilitation counseling and dual Master of Arts degrees in rehabilitation counseling/teaching is made through the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. Upon completion of the rehabilitation counseling/teaching program, the individual earns a Master of Arts in Counselor Education: Rehabilitation Counseling and a Master of Arts in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy.

The rehabilitation counseling programs admit approximately seven to 10 students per annual cohort, with a majority of admissions occurring in the fall semester. Some spring semester admissions are permitted pending special approval of the RC/RCT admissions committee.

Admission Requirements and Procedures

Admission is based upon content submitted in the application packet; undergraduate academic record; career goals; related experience; interpersonal and communication skills; and, an interview. In most cases, the admissions committee conducts panel interviews. The panel consists of representatives from the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies, Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, and other rehabilitation community related organizations. Interviews are generally 45 minutes to an hour long.

For the Rehabilitation Counseling program application, click here.
For the Rehabilitation Counseling/Teaching program application, click here.

The "Start or Continue your Application" button appears at the end of each program page. For specific technical questions or assistance completing the application, please contact: Office of Admissions at (269) 387-2000 - for domestic application changes or International Admissions at (269) 387-5865 for international application changes. If you have program or application content specific questions, please contact Jennipher Wiebold.

Upon admission, an applicant is assigned an advisor who will assist in preparing a Program of Study.

If you have any questions about the admissions process or the timing of your application material, please contact Dr. Jennipher Wiebold, RC/RCT program coordinator, at for support and guidance through the admissions process.

Accreditation

The rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counseling/teaching (also known as rehabilitation counseling specializing in blindness and low vision) graduate level programs are fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education for the 2008 to 2017 cycle.

Student Retention Rates
YearAdmittedEnrolled% Cohort  Representation of Diversity*Average GPA at Time of GraduationGraduated
2010-2011   16 94% 3.62 4
2011-2012   16 95% or higher 3.72 4
2012-2013   20 95% or higher 3.69 4
Fall 2013 - Spring 2014 6 20 95% or higher 3.70 5
Fall 2014 - Spring 2015 4 14 95% or higher 3.54 3
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 7 11 90% 3.88 4
Fall 2016 - Spring 2017 5        

*Diversity defined as race, ethnicity, gender, and disability.

Employment rates and settings

Program alumni from years 1994 through 2016 are employed across the country and abroad in a variety of public and private rehabilitation settings; including, but not limited to:  State-Federal Vocational Rehabilitation system; private, nonprofit and for profit agencies; or with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The overall employment rate for graduates of the rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counseling/teaching program is 95 percent or higher.

Assessing Student Learning Across CORE Knowledge Domains

TK20 is a data management system that manages and reports the rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counseling/teaching program's assessment and program evaluation data. TK20 tracks student learning outcomes through the recent implementation of Syllabus templates, signature assignments, and rubrics in the core counseling courses.

In addition, rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counseling/teaching students are required to participate in an annual review of student performance. The annual review occurs in March and April of each year. The annual review assures student progress by addressing milestones such as GPA, pre-requisite completion and course sequencing, professional identity development, and overall student development. In addition, students work closely with their academic advisor to assure timely progress through the program of study. Each student meets a minimum of one time per semester with their academic advisor. Further assessment of student learning occurs across the CORE knowledge domains during the CECP 6120 Counseling Practicum and CECP 6130 Field Practicum courses. Students must successfully demonstrate all knowledge domains to successfully complete these clinical courses. Students are required to complete the CRC exam.

Program resources and management

The rehabilitation counseling programs are supported by an academic year-appointed associate professor and program coordinator who is a certified rehabilitation counselor. The rehabilitation counseling faculty, including the program coordinator, is equivalent to three full-time faculty members. The overall 2015-2016 academic year instructor to student ratio is 1:4.

The program coordinator manages the program internally in conjunction with the RC/RCT Management Committee. The RC/RCT Management Committee is composed of rehabilitation counseling program related faculty members, administrators, and a student representative. The rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counseling/teaching programs also support an advisory committee with representatives from Federal and state vocational rehabilitation agencies as well as private nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Members of the advisory committee also serve on the admissions committee.

Available scholarships

Students in the rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counseling/teaching (specialization in blindness and low vision) programs are eligible to receive funding through U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration Long-Term Training Grants in Rehabilitation Counseling. The Long Term Training Grant in Rehabilitation Counseling with an emphasis in employer relations was funded in the amount of $999,782 for the 2014-2019 grant cycle pending annual performance review assessments and continuation funding. This grant provides academic course tuition funding for those students that are committed to: a) rehabilitation counseling with an employer relations training emphasis; and, b) make a formal commitment to attain and maintain employment as rehabilitation counselors in the state/federal vocational rehabilitation system.

Since 2000, the rehabilitation counseling and rehabilitation counseling/teaching programs have yielded approximately $3.3 million in grant support to fund the training of future rehabilitation counselors.

2015-2016 Estimated Cost of Program Attendance
   In State Tuition and Fees Out of State Tuition and Fees
Rehabilitation Counseling (CERM)

53 Credit Hours
 $30,414.93  $61,810.22
Rehabilitation Counseling/Teaching (RCTM)  - 76 Credit Hours

Compressed Cohort - 2 yr 1 semester
 $43,536.06  $88,598.74
Rehabilitation Counseling/Teaching (RCTM)  - 76 Credit Hours

Extended Cohort - 3 yr 1 semester
 $44,921.56  $89,984.24

For more detailed information about the rehabilitation counseling/teaching programs, please visit:
Rehabilitation counseling/teaching program information

Elective study in CECP