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Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling,
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track
Community Counseling Track


Careers in Counseling

Why Select a Career in Counseling?

Counseling as a career is an excellent choice for high energy people who want to make a very real difference in people’s lives. A career in counseling offers many exciting opportunities such as:

  • Feeling the deep satisfaction of making an impact on the quality of many people’s lives, including your own.
  • Working in a creative, compelling, professional environment infused with passion, idealism, and realism.
  • Knowing that the goal of your work is empowerment and involves working with individuals and the community to facilitate the process of choosing, getting and keeping roles that your clients value in the community.
  • Achieving your potential while empowering others to reach theirs.
  • Enjoying long-term career growth potential with competitive salaries and benefits.
  • Counseling is a career in high demand with growth expected to be faster than average over the next several years.

What is Mental Health Counseling?

Mental health counselors help people manage or overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with relationships.  Mental health counselors use a variety of techniques in their work with clients and typically provide a variety of services.  Examples of what mental health counselors do include encouraging clients to discuss their experiences and process reactions to them in order to adjust to changes in life, guiding clients through the process of making decisions about their future, counseling clients about developing strategies and skills to change their behavior or cope with difficult situations, and coordinating services with other professionals such as psychiatrists.  While some disorders can be overcome, many others need to be managed.  Mental health counselors work with clients to develop strategies and skills to minimize the effects of their disorders or illnesses including developing and implementing strategies to encourage wellness.  Our program emphasizes approaches based on cognitive behavioral counseling.  This goal-oriented approach focuses on helping clients to understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and replace them with positive, life-enhancing ones as well as teaching clients to eliminate unwanted behaviors and replace them with more productive ones.

What is Rehabilitation Counseling?

Rehabilitation Counselors are counselors who possess the specialized knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to collaborate in a professional counseling relationship with people who have disabilities including psychiatric, development, or physical disabilities to achieve their personal, psychological, career and social goals.  Rehabilitation counseling is a specialization within the field of counseling that provides an effective process to assist individuals with disabilities to choose, get and keep roles they value in the community.  Among the roles individuals are interested in attaining and maintaining are worker, student, independent community resident, and member of a social network.  Through the counseling process, individuals are assisted in the process of finding or renewing purpose and meaning in life as they gain or regain roles they prefer and value in the community.  Rehabilitation counselors are prepared to help people of all ages with psychiatric, physical, or developmental disabilities to discover their potential as independent, self-sufficient citizens in the community.  Rehabilitation counselors work as advocates for their clients and also within the community to bring about change.

What is Community Counseling?

Community Counselors work with individuals, groups, families, and sometimes communities. In addition to counseling with individual clients, Community Counselors may work toward the prevention of problems in the community, for example, by helping to assess community needs and set up prevention programs. They are advocates, both for their clients and for social change which helps the community as well as the individuals receiving services.  Community Counselors can provide a variety of services including counseling, support, evaluation, consultation, teaching and research to help people lead more productive and satisfying lives.  Community Counselors use a combination of direct services and environmental interventions to assist clients in the community.  They are aware of the individual’s interaction with the community environment including the person’s family and social system. Change may be sought in either the individual or the surrounding community, or both, in efforts to prevent and/or remediate problems.  In addition to clients, Community Counselors often work with other professionals, community leaders, peer advocates, and others in the community who are part of the individual’s social network. 

Employment Opportunities in Counseling:

Master’s level counselors find employment in many settings including community agencies, state and federal government agencies, the insurance industry, and private practice.  They provide individual or group counseling and also frequently work with families of individuals seeking services.  Counselors with a specialization in rehabilitation counseling work with individuals who may have psychiatric, physical, or developmental disabilities.  Currently, there is high demand in New Jersey, the surrounding regions and nationally for master’s level rehabilitation counselors.  This high demand is due to a number of factors.  Some 20% of Americans have one or more disabilities, and 70% of people with disabilities are unemployed. This creates a great demand for counselors who can help in preparing for career and other life goals. Additionally, many of the social and physical barriers that once restricted people with disabilities have been overcome.  Technology has provided a wealth of new options.  More professional services including counseling are needed so that people with disabilities can take advantage of these opportunities. 

Rutgers School of Health Related Professions



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