M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling

Do you enjoy helping people reach their full potential?
Degree Type Master of Science
Careers & Salaries Graduate Degree Outcomes
Delivery On Campus or Online

UW-Stout's Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling is a counseling degree that prepares you to work with people of all ages who have physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities. As a rehabilitation counselor, you’ll assist clients and consumers to make decisions, reach their potential and optimize personal, social and economic independence.

Our program ranks among the top 10 rehabilitation counseling programs in the U.S., is fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and has excellent employment rates with 20% growth projected. As a graduate of this program, you will be eligible and prepared to take the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination. Graduates will also be eligible to apply for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential in Wisconsin and may be eligible for similar credentials in other states.

Rehabilitation counseling master’s program ranked one of top in nation

University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Master of Science in rehabilitation counseling has been ranked fourth best in the nation.
Continue Reading

Multiple Delivery Methods

We have the unique advantage of offering student’s multiple delivery methods including both on-campus and online delivery. Choose the cohort that provides the delivery methods that meet your schedule and flexibility.

Combined Cohort (on-campus & online options)

  • Two years, full-time participation (typically 4 courses per semester)
  • Attend classes on-campus or online
  • Live courses
  • Evening class times reduces interference with daytime obligations
  • No work experience required

The combined cohort offers a more traditional college experience that allows the student to choose the delivery method. Most courses in the combined cohort are delivered live which means there is a specified time and day the class meets.  Students have the flexibility to either be on-campus in the classroom or to join the class live via the internet during the specified class times. This allows students to receive live, face-to-face, dynamic instruction either by attending the physical classroom, or by connecting to the classroom in real time via the internet. Students who choose to attend online, can join class wherever they have adequate internet connection. Most courses are offered in the evening allowing students flexibility for other daytime obligations.

The combined cohort is designed for full-time students who want to complete their graduate degree in two years. Previous work experience in rehabilitation is not required for admission. Typically, four courses are offered each semester (including the summer session). This program offers 60 credits designed to prepare qualified professionals in the field of Rehabilitation Counseling.

Some courses will require field-based activities, such as community site visits and projects involving your local rehabilitation service offices and/or employers. You will also be required to arrange practicum and internship experiences in your home area or wherever available.

Online Cohort (online only)

  • Three years, part-time (typically 2 courses per semester)
  • Classes delivered entirely online
  • Flexible class delivery allows for balancing school, work, and personal life
  • Designed for professionals with work experience
  • Two years of related work experience required

The online cohort utilizes asynchronous online learning methods, which means that you can participate in weekly learning assignments at a time that is most convenient for you wherever there is an adequate internet connection. Training is provided in how to access course materials through the university’s course delivery system. Students communicate regularly with the instructor and classmates via e-mail and online discussion forums. The only time that online students are required to be on campus is for an initial 2 ½ day orientation. With exception to the 2 ½ day orientation, this cohort’s program is delivered entirely online.

The online cohort is designed for individuals who are currently working in the field of rehabilitation or have prior employment experience working with individuals with disabilities and wish to complete their graduate degree on a part-time basis. A minimum of two years related work experience is required for admission into the online cohort. Typically, two courses are offered each semester (including the summer session), allowing students to complete the online degree program in three years. The online cohort completes the same 60-credit curriculum and program requirements as the combined cohort.

Some courses will require field-based activities, such as community site visits and projects involving your local rehabilitation service offices and/or employers. You will also be required to arrange practicum and internship experiences in your home area, or wherever available, and can often be completed in your current place of employment.

Admission Requirements

General UW-Stout Graduate School Application

All prospective graduate students at UW-Stout must follow a standard application process through our Graduate School. Beyond that, each graduate program has specific requirements that must be met to be successfully admitted to the program:

Program-Specific Application Requirements

Please submit the following to apply to the M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling program:

  • Program Application [PDF]
  • Current Resume
  • Written Statement
  • Three letters of reference or Reference Questionnaires
    • References should be professionals or faculty that can attest to your professional or academic skills.

For the online cohort, a minimum of two years related work experience is required.

Please submit all materials to the Department of Rehabilitation and Counseling.

Application Deadline: February 15th

Students are admitted in the fall semester each year. Applications received after the deadline may be considered based on available openings in the program.

Career Opportunities

Rehabilitation counselors work with a wide variety of individuals who experience physical, cognitive, developmental, psychological or emotional disabilities or other types of chronic illnesses. The goal of the rehabilitation counseling process is to facilitate independence and self-determination leading to positive vocational and psychosocial adjustment of persons with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors provide individual and group counseling, vocational assessment, case management, service coordination and consultation services.

Employers Positions
Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Programs

Centers for Independent Living

  • Community-Based Rehabilitation Facilities
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Corrections
  • Disability Insurance


Disability Organizations
  • Disability Management Programs
  • Disability Services at Universities and Colleges

  • Hospital Settings
  • State/Federal Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies
  • Supported Employment Programs
Transition Services in Secondary School Settings

Vocational Assessment Programs
  • Worker's Compensation

  • Agency Manager
  • Assistive Technology Specialist
  • Case Manager
  • Client Assistance Program Manager
  • Community Program Manager
  • Government Benefits Interviewer
  • Independent Living Program Coordinator
  • Job Coach
  • Probation and Parole Officer
  • Program Managers
  • Rehabilitation Consultant
  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • School-to-Work Transition Counselor
  • University or College Disability Services Specialist
  • Veteran Administration Counselor
  • Vocational Evaluator
MSVR Advisory Board

2018 MSVR Advisory Board

  • Daniel Kelsey, Program Director
  • Cayte Anderson, Executive Director, Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute (SVRI)
  • Lindsey (Baker) Hanson, Workforce Development Supervisor, MN State Services for the Blind
  • Eric Batterson, Return to Work Consultant, Mayo Clinic
  • Dean Berlin, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Veteran's Administration
  • Colleen Etzbach, Program Director, BS Rehabilitation Services, UW-Stout
  • Lynda Hinrichs, Staff Development Director, MN Voc. Rehab. Services
  • Debra Homa, CEHHHS/Rehabilitation and Counseling, Chair
  • Kara James, Senior Assistant Director, Disability Resource Center, Purdue University
  • Kyle Kleist, Center for Independent Living for Western Wisconsin, CEHHHS/Rehabilitation and Counseling
  • Ben Luer, Resource Counselor, Western WI Center for Independent Living
  • Alyssa Perra, MS Voc Rehab Student, UW-Stout
  • Christine Peterson, Program Director for School Psychology, UW-Stout
  • Betty Reinke, Retired-Executive Vice President, Career Development Center (CDC)
  • Sara Ruckman, Employment Counselor, Wisconsin Job Service
  • Tricia Thompson, Family Advocate, The Waisman Canter (PROMISE Grant)
Online Student Orientation

Orientation is usually held during the last week of July or the first week of August. All students are required to participate in the orientation prior to beginning online courses.

You will meet your instructors and classmates in person, become acquainted with university resources that you can access online, learn about university policies, and be introduced to available technical support. You will build collaborative online skills and learn the technology and basic skills necessary to succeed in a graduate-level online program. Past students have found this intensive orientation to be essential to their online learning, as well as in forming the necessary relationships with classmates and faculty that have helped them succeed in the program.

Program Objectives
  1. Develop and demonstrate an identity as a rehabilitation counseling professional.
  2. Integrate rehabilitation philosophy and principles of independence, integration, choice, self-determination, empowerment, access and respect for individual differences into rehabilitation counseling planning and service provision.
  3. Demonstrate ethical behavior and ethical problem-solving consistent with the code of ethics for rehabilitation counseling professionals.
  4. Utilize disability-related legislation, public policy, and attitudinal and access barriers to advocate for and with persons with disabilities and their families.
  5. Identify the influences and functional impacts and implications of chronic illness and/or disability across human development and lifespan.
  6. Evaluate environmental, social and economic influences that create barriers for persons with disabilities.
  7. Appraise psychosocial, cultural and diversity issues that may affect the rehabilitation process.
  8. Formulate counseling techniques to promote rehabilitation counseling and philosophy to chronic illness or disability adjustment.
  9. Analyze jobs, employment trends and career opportunities to assist in rehabilitation planning and service provision.
  10. Apply research findings to improve services to persons with disabilities.
  11. Integrate vocational assessment in the rehabilitation planning.
  12. Identify community resources and other services which promote independence.
Earn While You Learn

Graduate Assistantships

Gain valuable professional experience while enjoying paid employment as a graduate student at UW-Stout.

Request Information

Hidden Fields