A Closer Look at a Career as a Rehabilitation Counselor
According to the 2016 statistical findings of the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), there was a total of 240,682 work-related injuries, severe enough for those injured employees to take a leave from their work. The most common age group who suffer work-related injuries belong to the 50 to 54 age group.
This shocking number should bring into focus that more efforts be completed to raise awareness of the importance of health and safety in the workplace. Of course, employees who are injured in their work environments must be provided with the necessary support they need, and this is where rehabilitation counsellors are needed. This may be a rewarding career if you like helping people get back on their feet and, more importantly, deal effectively with their circumstances and provide support and advice on how to maintain a good quality of life.
Rehabilitation Counsellor – What You Need to Know
On top of the list of the job mandate of a rehabilitation counsellor is to conduct evaluations of the patient’s needs and abilities and assessment of overall health. The rehab counsellor also helps patients set treatment goals. Most of the time, they would collaborate with other healthcare providers such as doctors and ask for support, as well as obtain additional input and recommendations.
Rehab counsellors are also responsible for monitoring the progress of a treatment plan and must leverage their critical and analytical thinking skills to determine if adjustments are necessary. In some cases, they are also tasked to help find resources for the patients, such as mobility aids like walkers, wheelchairs, etc. Once the patients are assessed to be 100% fit to work, they can be rehired or re-employed by their original company. In some cases where the patients’ capabilities are limited due to the workplace injury sustained even after the rehabilitation period, they may have to undergone further rehabilitation, and so the rehab counsellor will be tasked to provide support so the patients can find alternate employment.
Not all rehabilitation counsellors work solely with patients who’ve suffered a workplace injury or sustained a temporary disability due to employment hazards, however. Some also work with patients with existing injuries or disabilities, and it’s up to the rehab counsellors to provide them support for job training for future job placement opportunities, if possible. Rehabilitation counsellors are often under the employment of rehabilitation centres or injury services providers.
According to PayScale.com, a rehabilitation counsellor can earn between $36,007 up to $70,179 per year.
To launch a career as a rehabilitation counsellor, one must obtain a master’s degree in counselling or any related field, which typically includes integrated academic training programs in health sciences, psychology, and practical field experience. It’s a requirement to obtain relevant certification and licensing.
To be successful in this career, rehabilitation counsellors must have finely tuned communication skills and advanced problem-solving abilities. In addition, they have to possess a talent for providing a supportive and diplomatic approach to people’s problems and have the ability to work effectively with individuals from all walks of life.
Pros and Cons
An advantage of being a rehabilitation counsellor is being able to work directly with people and help them with their goals of re-employment or job placement. It is a rewarding career as they are making a positive difference in the lives of individuals.
A disadvantage though is facing the possibility of frustration when the support services provided are not enough. Sometimes rehab counsellors hit a wall as some patients’ injuries or disabilities may be so severe that their job opportunities are relatively limited and thus the potential for re-employment or job placement is extremely low. It’s this scenario when rehab counsellors must remain steadfast to their goals, while continuing to provide motivational counselling.