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


New Options to Complete the Degree!
Starting Fall 2014, there are four options for completing the degree:

The four options are:
• Take your courses at the Scotch Plains campus if you live in Northern or Central New Jersey or the New York City area.
• Take your courses at the Stratford campus if you live in Southern New Jersey or the Philadelphia area.
• Take the degree entirely on-line.
• Take a combination of on-campus and on-line courses.

The degree can be completed on either a full time or part time basis.

Program Overview

The M.S. degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Track is offered by the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions in the Rutgers School of Health Related Professions (SHRP).  Degree studies focus on educating students to be proficient providers of counseling services who are prepared to work competently, creatively and collaboratively with and within the community in an environment of diversity so that people in the community including individuals with disabilities are empowered to pursue career and other personally important goals with success and satisfaction.  SHRP as a leader in health professions education is ideally suited to provide this program.

The M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling, Community Counseling Track is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in the area of Community Counseling.  CORE describes a Rehabilitation Counselor as a counselor who possesses the specialized knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to collaborate in a professional counseling relationship with people who have disabilities to achieve their personal, social, psychological, and career goals.  Community counselors consider both the individual and the community to be clients.  They provide direct and indirect services to both the community and the client.  

Note:  The Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions has opened two new tracks in the M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling.  These tracks are Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Career Counseling.  Both new tracks require 60 credits to complete the degree.  Information about curriculum requirements for all tracks is available in the section on curriculum.

All tracks in the M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling are designed to enhance the career advancement of experiences people already working in the human services field as well as prepare people to enter the fireld.  Highly qualified personnel are needed to provide couseling services to individuals with disabilities in community settings.  Professionals with graduate degrees in this area are in high demand in New Jersey and the surrounding region as well as nationally.  Employment settings include community-based agencies, state and federal government agencies, the insurance industry, and private practice.

The Clinical Mental Health Couseling track is accredited by CACREP.  The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track is currently accredited under the 2001 standards for Community Counseling programs as a Community Counseling program.  The accreditation runs through March 31, 2018.  The CACREP 2009 standards for Clinical Mental Health Couseling programs.  We intend to seek accreditation for this track as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling program when it comes up for reaccreditation for the Career Counseling Track.

No new students will be admitted to the Community Counseling Track after the fall semester, 2013.  The Community Counseling Track will remain open to students currently enrolled in this Track.  Students applying for the spring 2014 semester and thereafter will be considered only for one of the new tracks.  This change is in concert with CACREP accreditation under which the Community Counseling specialization is no longer available.  The Community Counseling Track remains CACREP accredited. 

The Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions also offers a M.S. degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation.   This 36 credit degree, available only on-line, focuses on the study of Leadership.  This degree is designed for individuals interested in careers in supervision and management, research or teaching in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation.  This is not a counseling degree and thus does not seek CACREP or CORE accreditation.  For additional information about the M.S. in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Leadership Track, contact Dr. Amy Spagnolo, Program Director, at (908) 889-2544 or by e-mail at

M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling, New Tracks:

Note:  Effective with students starting their studies in Spring, 2014, the M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling will offer two Tracks: one in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the other in Career Counseling.  Both tracks require 60 credits to complete the degree.  Students will no longer be accepted for the Community Counseling Track.

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, guide 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 Career Counseling?

Career counselors help people with the process of making career decisions so that they can choose a career or an educational program.  Career counselors work with people at various stages in their careers.  Examples are working with students to choose a college major and identify jobs that major might qualify them for, assisting people already in the workforce to make their careers more successful and satisfying, and counseling individuals about making a career change to enter a new profession.  Career counselors typically provide a variety of services including helping clients to evaluate their interests, skills and abilities; guiding clients through the decision making process to develop career goals; assisting clients to plan and implement a job search campaign; counseling clients on how to advance their careers and resolve problems in the workplace, and working with clients to select, gain admission to, and successfully complete educational programs to obtain the necessary degree or credentials for the client’s desired career goals.

Students in both tracks complete a common core of 13 courses (39 credits).  This course work provides students with a strong foundation in content areas such as theories of counseling, techniques and methods for counseling individuals and groups, human growth and development and the impact of disabilities, and ethical and legal standards of the profession.   Additionally, all students complete a practicum of at least 100 hours including 40 hours of direct service and an internship of at least 600 hours including 240 hours of direct service.  The practicum and internship are completed in agency settings consistent with the student’s choice of specialization.  These clinical experiences total 9 credits.  Students will take either the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track or the Career Counseling Track.  Each track consists of 12 credits.  The curriculum including the specialized course work for each new track is presented in the following section.




Course Number

Course Title


Core Counseling Courses – 39 credits

Common Counseling Core

PSRT 5102

Counseling Techniques I



PSRT 5323

Theories of Counseling and Personality



PSRT 5103

Human Growth and Development



PSRT 5242

Group Methods



PSRT 5313

Foundations of the Counseling Profession



PSRT 5315

Evaluation and Assessment



PSRT 5320

Social and Cultural Diversity Issues



PSRT 5201

Career Development Theory



PSRT 5030

Statistical and Research Methods



PSRT 5310




PSRT 5132

Medical Aspects of Disability



PSRT 5123

Community Counseling and Resources



PSRT 5403

Career Counseling and Consultation


Clinical Practice - 9 credits

Clinical Experiences

PSRT 6011

Practicum in Counseling



PSRT 6012

Internship in Counseling


Specialized Courses – 12 credits: Choose one Track

Clinical Mental Health Counseling 


PSRT 5101

Seminar in Principles and Practices of Psychiatric Rehabilitation




PSRT 5252

Addictions and Mental Illness



PSRT 5051

Seminar in Evidence-based and Promising Practices 




Course related to clinical mental health counseling



Career Counseling Track

PSRT 5211

Program and Organizational Development



PSRT 6000

Fundamentals of Clinical Supervision




Courses related to career counseling


Total Credits



Course Schedules and Locations:

Students may complete the degree on either a full time or part time basis. The degree can be completed in two years of full time attendance or three years of part time attendance.  Students attend classes three semesters a year: Fall, Spring and Summer.  Students may start in any semester, but are encouraged to start in the fall or spring semester.  On-campus classes are held in the afternoon and evening.  A typical 15-week semester class meets once per week for three hours.  In many cases, students are able to schedule two classes in one day with one afternoon and one evening class.  Students must attend in the summer semester as certain required courses are offered only in the summer.

Classes are offered online and at two campuses, with convenient parking and access to public transportation:

Scotch Plains Campus - Located in suburban Union county, this campus is convenient to students in Northern and Central New Jersey, as well as New York.

Stratford Campus - Located in suburban Camden County at Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, this campus is convenient to Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia area.




Questions about the degree at the Scotch Plains Campus:
Janice Oursler, Ph.D., NCC, CRC, Program Director
Telephone: (908) 889-2462 or e-mail:
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

School of Health Related Professions

Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions
1776 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

Questions about the degree at the Stratford Campus:
Almaz "Mimi" Getachew, PhD, CRC
Telephone: (856) 566-2785 or e-mail:

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

School of Health Related Professions

Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions 
University Educational Center- Suite 2105
40 East Laurel Road, Stratford, New Jersey 08084






Rutgers School of Health Related Professions



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