Rehabilitation Counseling and Teaching

The rehabilitation counseling/teaching program is a 76 hour program co-sponsored by the Department of Blind and Low Vision Studies and the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology at Western Michigan University. It prepares graduates to provide a full range of vocational rehabilitation counseling services to individuals with cognitive, physical, psychiatric and sensory disabilities.

Typically, rehabilitation counselors/teachers:

  • Provide training in specialized methods or adaptive techniques for communications, activities of daily living and recreation.
  • Facilitate training and access to assistive technologies.
  • Assist consumers with career development and choices.
  • Foster acquisition of work-related skills.
  • Modify jobs.
  • Develop jobs.
  • Facilitate placement into employment.

Rehabilitation counseling/teaching graduates receive two Master of Arts degrees:

  1. Counselor education in rehabilitation counseling
  2. Counselor education in vision rehabilitation therapy

The program is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education and approved by the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the blind and visually impaired.

Graduates are eligible to become certified rehabilitation counselors through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification and certified vision rehabilitation therapists through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals. Graduates are also eligible for Michigan licensure as professional counselors.

  • Mission

    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
  • Objectives

    The Rehabilitation Counseling (CERM) and Rehabilitation Counseling Teaching (RCTM) Programs 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 counselors (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
      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 that 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.