M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling

Do you enjoy helping people reach their full potential?
Degree Type Master of Science
Careers and Salary 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 vocational rehabilitation counselor, you’ll assist clients 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, 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.

Alumnus Gregory Applekamp

“The M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling program allowed me to attend school via distance learning so I could keep working."

We have the unique advantage of offering students either an on-campus or online delivery method. Choose the path that works best to meet your schedule and flexibility.

On-Campus Cohort

The on-campus delivery option for this program offers 60 credits designed to prepare qualified professionals in the field of Rehabilitation Counseling. The campus cohort is ideally designed for full-time students who want to complete their graduate degree in less than two years. By being at UW-Stout in person, you'll have access to our state-of-the-art facilities right on campus, like the Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute.  

Online Cohort

The online program 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 distant learning courses and all program requirements are identical to our on-campus cohort. The only time that online students are required to be on campus is for an initial, valuable three-day orientation.

Ranked Top 10 in the U.S.A.

Our program ranks among the top 10 rehabilitation counseling programs in the country by US News & World Report.

The program utilizes asynchronous learning methods, which means that you can participate in weekly learning assignments at a time that is most convenient for you. The university uses a course delivery system called "Learn at UW-Stout," and training is provided in how to access course materials. Students communicate regularly with the instructor and classmates via e-mail and online discussion forums. Most classes also require field-based activities, such as community site visits and projects involving your local rehabilitation service offices and/or employers. Practicum and internship experiences will be arranged in your home area on an individualized basis, 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:

  • On-campus cohort: March 15th
  • Online cohort: April 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