What is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor?

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vocational rehabilitation counselor

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” That sentiment is as true today as it was a century ago.  

Work is a vital part of life. Work gives us purpose, it gives us dignity, it is often how we identify ourselves – “I’m a carpenter,” or “I’m an artist.” Indeed, the importance of work in our lives cannot be overstated. For many, work is what gives us reason to get out of bed at the beginning of the day.

It follows, then, that when someone very much wants to work but cannot do so because of a physical or mental disability, the result is frustration, sadness, social isolation, and a lost sense of purpose in life. That is why we have a need in our society for a vocational rehabilitation counselor.  

Vocational rehabilitation counselors assist those with disabilities find and thrive in gainful, purposeful employment. For many, many people it is literally a lifesaver. 

In this article, we will discuss the basics of vocational rehabilitation counseling, what the counselor’s duties entail, and what skills you should look for in a good vocational rehabilitation counselor.  

If, after reviewing this article you have additional questions or need a vocational rehabilitation counselor yourself, then we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS.  

We are one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.

What Is Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling?

One of the greatest steps forward for many Americans was the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  That law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for workers who are just as capable as non-disabled employees, provided they receive a little extra assistance to do their jobs.

Vocational rehabilitation counselors help people obtain employment for those who might not otherwise be able to do so and assist with helping workers request reasonable accommodations under the ADA.  

Vocational rehabilitation counselors work with a diverse population, from individuals who have suffered the loss of limb, to those who suffer from a mental or psychological disability, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Asperger’s syndrome.  

Specifically, vocational rehabilitation counselors will be able to help find employment for those with limitations such as:

1. Vision and hearing loss;
2. Learning disabilities;
3. Speech and communication limitations; and
4. Social and emotional disorders.

In that vein, vocational rehabilitation counselors are adept at assessing how a person’s disability affects his or her work performance, and what support systems can be used to minimize the impact a disability has on the person’s ability to work.

What Are the Main Duties of a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor?

Helping people find meaningful work despite disability is a challenging but rewarding profession. For vocational rehabilitation counselors to help others, they normally need to do the following:

1. Evaluate the individual’s abilities and limitations;
2. Assist individuals in setting employment milestones, and goals for independent living;
3. Coordinate any required training and therapy;
4. Help with job training and placement, including helping with job applications and giving mock interviews to maximize the chances of someone getting hired;
5. Advocate when an individual is faced with employment discrimination;
6. Give guidance on how to use work to maximize an individual’s independence.

What Skills Are Most Important for a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor? 

If you are disabled, or if you have a family member who is disabled, then you will likely benefit from working with a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Yet, you will want to make sure that you can determine whether a vocational rehabilitation counselor is a good fit for you or your family member.  

To that end, you will want to look for the following skills and qualities (in addition to the appropriate credentialing in the field) in a vocational rehabilitation counselor:

1. Strong interpersonal skills. The most important part of a vocational rehabilitation counselor’s job is helping people with disabilities. Thus, counselors must be compassionate, be good listeners, and have appropriate patience with those who may need a little extra time to accomplish tasks.
2. Empathy. The desire to help people is the mantra of a good vocational rehabilitation counselor. With that, there is a need to be able to empathize with those faced with a disability.
3. Problem-solving abilities. Vocational rehabilitation counselors need to be problem solvers, with a “where there is a will, there is a way” attitude. When faced with a person’s limitations, a counselor’s job is to see the opportunities available despite the limitation.     

In sum, vocational rehabilitation counselors can help turn a disabled person’s life around by helping them obtain gainful employment. If you want to work through you have a disability, a vocational rehabilitation counselor can help.

OAS Will Provide You With a Vocational Counselor

The vocational experts at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) have over forty years of experience providing vocational services for those who are underemployed, unemployed, and disabled.

OAS also specializes in working as an expert for plaintiff or defense attorneys in order to assist in objectively documenting the economics in a case, and in acting as a vocational expert at SSDI hearings. From the initial referral to the trial testimony, OAS works with the retaining attorney so that the vocational assessment of the case can be objectively and efficiently presented. 

We strongly believe in the importance of a clear and understandable presentation of the facts. OAS is the leading provider of Vocational Expert and Life Care Planning Services for Plaintiff and Defense attorneys. 

Further, the company assists attorneys in evaluating earning capacity in divorce cases and documenting the damages in cases where an individual has been severely injured by providing objective findings on how the injuries affect a persons’ ability to work and earn money, as well as the cost of care required in catastrophic injuries.

OAS is your Vocational Expert & Life Care Planner Nationwide, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California.  

Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.