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Career and Education Opportunities for Rehabilitation Counselors in Chicago, Illinois

For those living in the Chicago, Illinois area, there are many career and education opportunities for rehabilitation counselors. There are currently 3,900 working rehabilitation counselors in Illinois; this should grow by 22% to about 4,740 working rehabilitation counselors in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for rehabilitation counselors, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.9% over the next eight years. In general, rehabilitation counselors counsel individuals to maximize the independence and employability of persons coping with personal, social, and vocational difficulties that result from birth defects, illness, or the stress of daily life.

Income for rehabilitation counselors is about $15 per hour or $31,320 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally, their income is about $14 per hour or $30,930 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as rehabilitation counselors in Illinois earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy nationally. Jobs in this field include: program coordinator, work counselor, and employment case manager.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a rehabilitation counselor, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. The most common level of education for rehabilitation counselors is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a rehabilitation counselor if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation Counselor video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, rehabilitation counselors counsel individuals to maximize the independence and employability of persons coping with personal, social, and vocational difficulties that result from birth defects, illness, or the stress of daily life. They also coordinate activities for residents of care and treatment facilities.

Rehabilitation counselors monitor and record clients' progress to insure that goals and objectives are met. They also ready and maintain records and case files, including documentation such as clients' personal and eligibility data, services provided, narratives of client contacts, and relevant correspondence. Equally important, rehabilitation counselors have to participate in job development and placement programs, contacting prospective employers, placing clients in jobs, and evaluating the success of placements. They are often called upon to talk with physicians and other professionals to evolve and implement client rehabilitation programs. They are expected to maintain close contact with clients during job training and placements to deal with problems and evaluate placement adequacy. Finally, rehabilitation counselors analyze data from interviews, educational and medical records, consultation with other professionals, and diagnostic evaluations to gauge clients' abilities and eligibility for services.

Every day, rehabilitation counselors are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for rehabilitation counselors to collaborate with community agencies to determine facilities and programs for persons with disabilities. They are often called upon to design and maintain relationships with community referral sources. They also direct case service allocations, authorizing expenditures and payments. Somewhat less frequently, rehabilitation counselors are also expected to maintain close contact with clients during job training and placements to deal with problems and evaluate placement adequacy.

Rehabilitation counselors sometimes are asked to locate barriers to client employment, such as inaccessible work sites and transportation problems, and work with clients to evolve strategies for overcoming these barriers. and design rehabilitation plans that fit clients' aptitudes and career goals. And finally, they sometimes have to collaborate with clients' families to execute rehabilitation plans such as behavioral and employment goals.

Like many other jobs, rehabilitation counselors must be reliable and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Career Advisor. Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
  • Health Education Specialist. Promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies and environments. May also serve as a resource to assist individuals, other professionals, or the community, and may administer fiscal resources for health education programs.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist. Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of professional services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.
  • Mental Health Counselor. Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. May help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; suicide; stress management; problems with self-esteem; and issues associated with aging and mental and emotional health.
  • Substance Abuse Specialist. Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Rehabilitation Counselor Training

Illinois Institute of Technology - Chicago, IL

Illinois Institute of Technology, 3300 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60616. Illinois Institute of Technology is a medium sized school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,404 students and an admission rate of 57%. Illinois Institute of Technology has a master's degree program in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling/Counselor which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Disability Management Specialist: A CDMS designation communicates professional credibility.

For more information, see the Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission website.

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor: The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) sets the standard for quality rehabilitation counseling services in the U.

For more information, see the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification website.

Certified Workforce Specialist: Candidates must pass all four (4) WPDP competencies exams (History of Workforce Development, Business & Jobseeker Specialist, Unemployment Insurance Specialist, and Labor Market Information Specialist).

For more information, see the International Association of Workforce Professionals website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.