If a person is injured on the job, he or she often needs help in returning to work and often seek a vocational rehabilitation counselor to lend him/her a hand. It is probably the reason why the demand for vocational rehabilitation counselors is increasing day by day. 

The Crux of a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Job

In simple words, a vocational rehabilitation counselor counsels people to maximize their potential by helping them fight off personal, physical, social, mental, financial emotional and other difficulties. He or she also helps a person to recognize their strengths and boost them to overcome any weaknesses. A vocational counselor would always design a customized vocational rehabilitation plan based on your needs and will help you implement it until all the desired career goals have been achieved. 

The help can be offered via various means like transferrable skills analysis, training guidance, interview preparation and job placement assistance.  In addition to the professional, the personal lives of a client can also be taken care of. For instance, a vocational counselor might coordinate with the medical team of a client to ensure that he or she is ready for the job. 

Benefits of Working as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

High Job Satisfaction

In a survey, about 74% of vocational rehabilitation counselors stated that they thought their job offered them satisfaction. As job satisfaction is often the reason for people to take up a job, vocational rehabilitation is a good career option for people who want to go home after helping a person change his or her life. 

High Meaningfulness of Job

In the survey, about 91% of vocational rehabilitation counselors said that they thought their job was meaningful because it allows them to help make someone else’s life better. 

Other Benefits

Other benefits of taking up this job include respect in society and playing a small role in changing society for better. Also, when you help an individual to return to work, you do a small bit to help boost the employment and the economy as well. 

How to Become a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

  • If you want to be a competent vocational rehabilitation counselor in CA, you can start by completing a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields- rehabilitation and disability studies, psychology, behavioral or social science.
  • If you want to do masters too, you can sign up for a masters’ degree in rehabilitation counseling. 
  • It would also be good if you clear any rehabilitation counseling exams to get licensed and certified. 
  • Additional counseling certifications can also help build and enhance your reputation.
  • If you want to stay relevant, make sure you keep up with the latest trends of vocational rehabilitation.

The Key Responsibilities of a Vocational Counselor

If you work as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, you will need to do the following:

  • Maintain files on all the clients with pertinent documentation
  • Create plans that fit client needs after doing thorough assessments
  • Being there for the clients to offer support and guidance even when the client is undergoing training or re-educating. 
  • Coordinate with the medical team of an individual to ensure the overall recovery and personal development of a client. 
  • Assist a client return to work by helping gain industry knowledge, information about vacancies, practicing for interviews and helping with placement.
  • Evaluate the success of the placement via follow up interviews. 

Skills Needed for a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Job

The top skills needed to work as a vocational rehabilitation counselor CA are:

  • Communication Skills– You will need to talk to a bunch of people regarding different cases every day. It could be via phone, emails or messages. 
  • Leadership Skills– You will need to guide and individual on the correct return to work path. You might also need to lead the way when it comes to talking to the prospective employers of your clients. 
  • Teamwork– You will need to have good teamwork abilities as you will have to work with strangers to ensure the professional success of your clients. 
  • Time Management– Often, you will need to adhere to strict deadlines and ensure that your clients also adhere to all the deadlines, be it when applying for a job or showing up for an interview. 
  • Patience– As returning to work after a break is not as easy as it sounds, you might need to have the patience to deal with frustrated, negative, angry or depressed clients. 
  • Problem Solving Skills– The path to return to work is riddled with problems and complications. So, you must be able to think on your feet and come up with quick solutions. 
  • Motivational Skills– People who have lost their jobs often feel unworthy or lose self-confidence. You need to be able to help them by being their motivator and inspiring them to chase their goals. 
  • Focus on Details– As many clients will need help in filling up important forms and stuff, you should be detail-oriented and must not miss any details when you are helping them. 
  • Insight– If you want to develop the right return to work plans for the clients, you need to have insights regarding what the client wants and what the industry wants from an employee. 
  • Empathy– Most people who visit you would be low on confidence, full of self-hate and would have seen a lot of pain in their lives. So, being empathic towards them would help you to understand them better and win their confidence. 
  • Active Listening– Many clients want you to listen to their entire life story before they can share their career goals with you. So, you need to be an active listener and gather points that will help you find a suitable job for your client. 
  • Flexibility– Many clients are impatient. They won’t simply agree to whatever you say. Hence, you need to have the flexibility to come up with different plans or different paths to the same career goal to help your clients succeed. 

Final Words

In essence, it can be said that the job of a vocational rehabilitation counselor CA is tough and fulfilling at the same time. If you want to succeed in this job, you need to have the apt qualifications, education and willingness to change according to client needs. 

If you are an individual looking for help from a reputed vocational rehabilitation counselor in CA, contact the team of Laura M. Wilson & Associates Inc. We can help you return to work smoothly. Call us toll-free on (800) 531-5608 for more.