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Rehabilitation Counseling


The mission of the rehabilitation counseling master's degree program at Mississippi State University is to equip prospective counselors with the knowledge and skills necessary to deal effectively with a broad spectrum of issues surrounding the medical, psychological, and vocational effects of chronic impairment.

In an effort to help disabled individuals adapt to their life circumstances, which includes living in a society that marginalizes people who are "different", the rehabilitation counseling program produces professionals prepared to work in the continually evolving and expanding field of vocational rehabilitation.


1. Program graduates shall satisfactorily demonstrate the ability to practice the profession of rehabilitation counseling in a legal and ethical manner and show understanding of the history, philosophy, and structure of the rehabilitation delivery systems in the United States.

Tasks include the ability to:

  • Apply ethical principles and standards
  • Apply appropriate legal principles and utilize ethical decision-making skills in resolving ethical dilemmas
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history, philosophy, and legislation affecting rehabilitation and the scope of services of various service delivery systems
  • Apply the principles of disability-related legislation including the rights of persons with disabilities to independence, inclusion, choice and self-determination, access, and respect for individual differences.

2. Program graduates shall satisfactorily practice rehabilitation counseling with individuals and groups

Tasks include the ability to:

  • Conduct individual counseling sessions
  • Develop and maintain a counseling relationship
  • Establish individual goals and objectives of counseling
  • Assist an individual with crisis resolution
  • Facilitate an individual's independent decision-making and personal responsibility
  • Conduct group counseling sessions on adjustment and/or other vocational problems, when appropriate
  • Involve, when appropriate, the individual's family/ significant others in the counseling sessions
  • Recommend strategies to resolve identified problems that impede the rehabilitation process.

3. Program graduates shall satisfactorily practice rehabilitation counseling in rehabilitation planning and case management.

Tasks include the ability to:

  • Determine the adequacy of existing information for rehabilitation planning;
  • Integrate cultural, social, economic, disability-related, and environmental factors in planning
  • Plan a comprehensive individual assessment (e.g., personality, interest, interpersonal skills, intelligence, and related functional capabilities, educational achievements, work experiences, vocational aptitudes, personal and social adjustment, transferable skills, and employment opportunities)
  • Identify available personal and public resources with the informed choice of the individual to determine jointly, with the consumer, an appropriate rehabilitation plan
  • Facilitate with the individual the development of a client-centered rehabilitation and/or independent living plan
  • Establish working relationships with other service providers involved with the individual and/or the family, or client's advocate, including consumer involvement and choice
  • Determine mutual responsibilities with other service providers involved with the individual, family, or client's advocate, including consumer involvement and choice
  • Develop a knowledge base of community resources and refer individuals to these resources when appropriate
  • Assist individuals in identifying areas of personal responsibility including potential fiscal resources to obtain needed services
  • Serve as a consultant to other community agencies to advocate for the integration of individuals with disabilities within the community
  • Market the benefits and availability of rehabilitation services to potential consumers, employers, and the general public
  • Identify and plan for the appropriate use of assistive technology including computer-related resources.

4. Program graduates shall satisfactorily practice rehabilitation counseling by using knowledge of vocational and career development.

Tasks include the ability to:

  • Facilitate consumer involvement in determining vocational goals and capabilities related to the world of work
  • Utilize career/occupational materials and labor market information with the client to accomplish vocational planning
  • Explore client occupational alternatives and develop career plans
  • Understand career development theories and the importance of work to individuals
  • Identify the prerequisite experiences, relevant training, and functional capacities needed for client career goals selected
  • Determine and resolve job adjustment problems through the provision of post employment services.

5. Program graduates shall satisfactorily practice rehabilitation counseling through the identification and utilization of assessment information.

Tasks include the ability to:

  • Utilize existing or acquired information about the existence, onset, severity, progression, and expected duration of an individual's disability
  • Determine an individual's eligibility for rehabilitation services and/or programs including the need for services to prepare for, enter, engage in, or retain gainful employment
  • Evaluate the feasibility of an individual's rehabilitation or independent living objectives
  • Review assessment information to determine appropriate client services
  • Consult with professionals in other disciplines
  • Assess the unique strengths, resources, and experiences of an individual including career knowledge and interests
  • Interpret assessment/evaluation results to the individual and/or family member
  • Assess the individual's capabilities to make decisions
  • Determine an individual's vocational or independent living skills, aptitudes, interests, and preferences
  • Assess an individual's need for rehabilitation engineering/assistive technology services throughout the rehabilitation process.

6. Program graduates shall satisfactorily practice rehabilitation counseling in job development, placement, and job retention.

Tasks include the ability to:

  • Obtain and use labor market information
  • Identify and contact employers to develop job opportunities
  • Evaluate work activities through the use of job and task analyses
  • Modify and restructure jobs and use assistive devices, where appropriate
  • Consult with experts to increase the functioning of individuals
  • Educate prospective employers about the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities including providing technical assistance with regard to reasonable accommodations in conformance with disability-related legislation
  • Assist employers to identify, modify, and/or eliminate architectural, procedural, and/or attitudinal barriers
  • Review available data to determine potential person/job match
  • Teach appropriate job-seeking and job retention skills
  • Provide support services to facilitate job retention
  • Establish follow-up and/or follow-along procedures to maximize an individual's independent functioning through employment services.

7. Program graduates shall satisfactorily practice rehabilitation counseling by using information from rehabilitation research.

Tasks include the ability to:

  • Obtain and apply information from professional literature and research in rehabilitation counseling
  • Participate in agency or community research activities, studies, and projects.


Students seeking admission into the Master-of-Science degree Rehabilitation Counselor Education Program must have a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 system) in their Bachelors degree and on all graduate work already completed.

A maximum of 9 credit hours of graduate work from an accredited institution may be transferred into the counseling program with the Program Coordinator's approval.

Applicants for admission are also required to submit examination results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Scores should be at least 143 Verbal, 138 Quantitative, 3.0 Analytic and be no older than five (5) years of age. Students are also expected to provide official undergraduate degree transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a written statement of purpose for wishing to acquire a graduate education in rehabilitation counseling at Mississippi State University. All application forms and additional information may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies.

All students accepted into the graduate counselor education program at Mississippi State University are expected to possess a functional proficiency with basic computer applications such as word-processing (i.e., Microsoft WORD), email access (all students are issued an MSU email address), and internet-based navigation (i.e., search engines). There are student-accessible computers available at a variety of locations on-campus (i.e., Mitchel Library, Allen Computer Lab, etc.) and introductory training on a variety of computer-based applications is offered to students and faculty free of charge by the Media Center in Mitchell Library.


Major Required Courses Required Hours
COE 8083 Assessment Techniques in Counseling 3
COE 8013 Counseling Skills Development (pre-req: COE 8023) 3
COE 8023 Counseling Theory 3
COE 8043 Group Techniques and Procedures (pre-req: COE 8023, COE 8013) 3
COE 8063 Research Techniques for Counselors 3
COE 8073 Cultural Foundations in Counseling 3
COE 6903 Developmental Counseling and Mental Health 3
COE 8303 Family Counseling Theory 3
COE 8633 Psychosocial Rehabilitation 3
COE 8703 Principles of Clinical Mental Health Counseling 3
COE 8053 Practicum 3
COE 8730 Internship 6
COE 6373 Vocational Assessment 3
COE 8353 Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling 3
COE 8363 Psychological Aspects of Disability 3
COE 8373 Medical Aspects of Disability 3
COE 8383 Job Placement in Rehabilitation  3
Approved Electives 6
  Total= 60 hours

Rehabilitation Fieldwork - Practicum & Internship

All accredited graduate counseling programs contain two active dimensions within the learning experience. The first dimension involves the acquisition of the academic knowledge necessary to understand the various knowledge domains associated with counseling individuals and groups of individuals. The second dimension within counseling programs involves students acquiring the necessary experience to assist clients to perform effective problem-solving activities within their lives. Evaluation of each student's ability to train clients to effectively problem-solve is the focus of graduate fieldwork.

Graduate fieldwork involves two experiences within the rehabilitation curriculum (Practicum & Internship). Practicum is by its very nature an exploratory activity designed to investigate possible future professional employment settings that the graduate student may persure. Practicum involves performing professional counseling activity at one (or two) community agencies for a period of eight (8) hours per week (a total of 100 hours over a Fall or Spring semester). Students should also be aware that Practicum should be viewed as a pre-requisite for the more intensive Internship experience.

Internship is typically seen as THE cumulative application of graduate knowledge to graduate experience. Internship requires students to perform graduate-level, professional activities with actual clients in community agencies while under the supervision of professional counselors possessing advanced training in the agency's specialty area. The Internship, by accreditation standards, require a minimum of six hundred (600) hours of professionally supervised activity over a Fall or Spring 16-week semester.

Within the department, Practicums and Internships must be pursued and applied for by each student with the assistance of the Program Coordinator. The “Practicum & Internship Handbook” on the main department webpage provides students and supervisors with all the relevant information pertaining to fieldwork.

Graduate Rehabilitation Counselor Education Program

National Accreditation: This Master-of-Science degree program in rehabilitation counseling is accredited by the national Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) through the year 2025. This program has held national accreditation consistently since 1976.

Because the program is accredited by CACREP, students are eligible to sit for the national certification examination Certified Rehabilitation Counselor during their last semester of graduate work. Students may also pursue other national certification as a National Certified Counselor or with an additional 12 credit hours of specific coursework, the State of Mississippi Licensed Professional Counselor credential.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education with emphasis in Rehabilitation Counseling (COED)

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education

COE 8063 Research Techniques for Counselors 3
EPY 8214 Intermediate Educational and Psychological Statistics 4
EPY 9213 Multivariate Analysis in Educational Research 3
EPY 9263 Applied Research Seminar 3
HED 8133 Curriculum and Instruction in Higher Education 3
COE 9013 Counseling Supervision 3
COE 9023 Advanced Counseling Theory 3
COE 9033 Advanced Seminar 3
COE 9043 Advanced Group Work and Systems 3
COE 9053 Advanced Multicultural Counseling 3
COE 9083 Advanced Assessment Techniques for Counseling 3
COE 9000 Dissertation Research/ Dissertation in Counselor Education & Educational Psychology 20
COE 9740 Advanced Doctoral Practicum (300 clock hours) 3
COE 9750 Internship (600 clock hours) 6
Select one of the following   3
EDF 9443 Single-Subject Research Designs for Education  
EDF 9453 Introduction to Qualitative Research in Education  
HI 8923 Historiography and Historical Method  
Approved electives   3-15
Total Hours   81


Ph.D. students in counseling may also complete 12-18 hours in a minor area which would be considered elective hours.  For additional information about the Ph.D. degrees in counseling and in school counseling, see the departmental handbook.

Financial Aid

Financial aid for Master's-level rehabilitation counseling students is available in the form of funded loans, graduate assistantships, and a scholarship program. Information on bank loans or the graduate assistantship programs may be obtained from a faculty advisor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Foundations or via the Department of Student Financial Aid.


Research opportunities and assistantships are available for students in the nation's only National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision, as well as within the department of Counseling, Educational Psychology & Foundations Center for Counseling and School Psychology. Additional research opportunity exists in the field of assistive technology with the T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability.

Contact Information

Zaccheus Ahonle, Ph.D., CRC
Coordinator, Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation Counseling
Assistant Professor
Allen Hall, Room 508