Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track2018-09-04T18:13:17+00:00
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For more information, email Program Director Dr. Janice Oursler

Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track

As a student in our program, you’ll gain the specialized knowledge, skills, and ability to counsel people with psychiatric, developmental, sensory, or physical disabilities. Our program’s cognitive behavioral counseling approach focuses on helping clients develop strategies and skills to change problematic behaviors, cope better with difficult situations, manage their disability, and plan for the future.

Our 60-credit degree is designed to advance the career of experienced people already working in the human services field, as well as prepare people to enter the field.

Students have the flexibility to pursue a degree full-time or part-time, online, on campus, or through a combination of both.

Definition of professions:

Mental Health Counselors help people manage or overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with relationships.  Examples of what mental health counselors do include encouraging clients to discuss their experiences and process reactions to them in order to adjust to changes in life, guiding clients through the process of making decisions about their future, counseling clients about developing strategies and skills to change their behavior or cope with difficult situations, and coordinating services with other professionals such as psychiatrists.  While some disorders can be overcome, many others need to be managed.  Mental health counselors work with clients to develop strategies and skills to minimize the effects of their disorders or illnesses including developing and implementing strategies to encourage wellness.

A Rehabilitation Counselor is a counselor who has the specialized knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to collaborate in a professional counseling relationship with people who have disabilities, whether psychiatric, developmental, physical or sensory, to achieve their personal, psychological, social, and career goals.

For more info, contact Dr. Janice Ousler, program director at ourslejd@shp.rutgers.edu.

  • Among the top-ranked master’s degree rehabilitation counseling programs regionally and nationally.
  • Comprehensive curriculum includes theory, research, ethical practices and decision-making, development of interpersonal and counseling skills and supervised clinical experience in counseling.
  • High demand and robust market for graduates in this field in New Jersey and the surrounding region, as well as nationally.
  • Accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in the area of Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
  • Study at a university ranked #1 out of 582 schools by College Factual as a best college for health professions.

To accomplish the mission of the program and to prepare program graduates to work in a variety of settings including community agencies, government agencies, and other community-based services, we offer students broad knowledge of the counseling field including theory, research, ethical practices and decision-making, and a well-developed set of interpersonal and counseling skills. The curriculum educates students in the knowledge base of the field including current research combined with supervised clinical experience in counseling to practice that knowledge base. It is recognized that interaction between these elements is essential.

Counselors have extensive contact with other helping professionals, paraprofessionals, self-help groups, community leaders, and other members of the community. The faculty is committed to the development of program graduates who can work competently, creatively and collaboratively with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. As part of accomplishing this, students are encouraged to learn about existing community resources and make maximum use of them in their counseling as well as assess needs for resource creation or modification to meet identified community needs.

Program graduates are also prepared to work with the wider environment as consultants, advocates and change agents. Besides proficiency in working with clients to modify their behavior to accomplish goals, proficiency is developed to interact with the environment to negotiate and, if needed, modify the environment in the interests of providing high quality services to clients.

Faculty members seek to promote an open environment for the consideration and discussion of a wide variety of theories and points of view. As part of this orientation, information and methodology from a range of disciplines are presented and discussed. In teaching professional counseling skills, many faculty members have training and experience in cognitive and behavioral counseling approaches such as the Boston University approach for assisting individuals with mental illness to choose, get and keep goals of their choice in the community. Key tenets in this approach include active involvement of the individual in planning and goal setting, behavioral improvement in the environment of need in the community as a critical outcome, and a primary focus on improving competency to assume community-based roles. The uniqueness of the individual is also emphasized with choice, empowerment and growth identified as core values. Services are individualized for the needs and preferences as part of the counseling relationship with a focus on the identification and use of client personal strengths. Among the roles individuals are interested in attaining and maintaining are worker, student, independent community resident, and member of a social network.

The faculty encourages applications from individuals from diverse backgrounds interested in studying for this degree. We recognize the need for diversity as part of preparing to serve clients in our pluralistic society and welcome applications from a wide variety of personal, social, ethnic, cultural and educational backgrounds.

All Department faculty members strive to create an environment rich in opportunities, experiences, and knowledge that enhances the education of our students. We are committed to the highest standards of excellence in preparing the professionals of tomorrow. We seek out the latest research to inform our academic and professional practice, and share our knowledge in a stimulating, friendly and professional atmosphere.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in the area of Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  This accreditation runs through March 31, 2019.

Employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth is expected as people continue to seek addiction and mental health counseling. Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Employment of rehabilitation counselors is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for rehabilitation counselors is expected to grow with the increase in the elderly population and with the continued rehabilitation needs of other groups, such as veterans and people with disabilities. Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

New program outcomes will be available in Fall 2018.

For more info, contact Dr. Janice Ousler, program director at ourslejd@shp.rutgers.edu.

Successful candidates should have both strong academic potential and commitment to working in the community and with individuals with disabilities. Related employment or volunteer experience is desirable but not required. requirement.

Admission decisions are based on a review of all materials submitted with the application and take into account all aspects of the applicant including career goals, occupational background, relevant personal experiences, and academic performance and potential. Applications from individuals with diverse backgrounds who are interested in studying for a counseling degree are encouraged.

Scores on standardized tests such as the GRE are not required for admission.

Deadlines are June 1 for Fall and November 15 for Spring. We encourage you to submit your application for admission to the program as early as possible so that there is adequate time for processing the application, arranging a personal interview, and reaching an admissions decision before the start of the semester.

Students may attend on a part-time or full-time basis. Completion of the degree requires attendance in the summer as certain required courses are only offered in this semester.

Admission decision recommendations are made by the program’s selection committee. Academic background, experience whether volunteer or paid in the human services field, and ability to perform essential functions, are considered in assessing potential for success in the program and making admission decisions. Admission decisions are sent to applicants by the Office of Enrollment Management.

Requirements for admission include:

  • Completed an online Application for Admission form with non-refundable application fee.
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Official transcripts for the degree must be submitted. Applicants in the final year of their bachelor’s degree are encouraged to submit an application. They may submit unofficial transcripts initially but must provide official transcripts indicating degree completion if offered admission to the program.
  • Written statement describing career goals, personal goals, and experiences as related to the degree.
  • Two letters of recommendation. Letters may be submitted electronically or in hard copy.
  • Interview by faculty. This interview may be conducted by phone for applicants who do not live in New Jersey or the surrounding area.

You can check the status of your application at Rutgers Graduate and Professional Admissions at http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/apply/overview, select Check Your Status. Applicants with incomplete applications are not scheduled for an admissions interview with the Department. For any questions about your application or the application process, contact the Office of Enrollment Management at 973 972-5454 or SHPadm@shp.rutgers.edu. The hours of operation for the Office of Enrollment Management are 8:30 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday.

In addition to the academic requirements for the program, students must be able to perform the essential functions required for a career in the health services field. Applicants should review the SHP Essential Functions for Participation in Courses. Applicants considering careers in the counseling field must be able to form effective interpersonal relationships both with individuals and in the context of small groups, engage in critical thinking, work with diverse populations, and follow ethical standards of the profession. As part of preparation to become counseling professionals, students must be open to self-examination and to personal as well as professional self-development. Students also must have basic technological competence and computer literacy. This includes knowledge of and proficiency in word processing, using email, and conducting Internet searches. The GRE or other standardized testing is not required.

Online students must complete the practicum and internship experiences in New Jersey and the surrounding geographic area including downstate New York, eastern Pennsylvania including Philadelphia, Delaware, and Maryland.  We are unable to arrange clinical placements in other areas of the country.

Online students are required to attend a residency of up to three days in New Jersey each year they are enrolled in the program.  Dates for the residency will be established at the beginning of each academic year.

Accepted students receive an admission packet including an acceptance letter, requirements for graduation form, and directions to access the Admissions Checklist.  Review the Admissions Checklist and follow directions for submitting the tuition deposit to reserve your place in the program and to obtain a Rutgers email account and PIN number to register online for classes. You must also complete the required physical examination and immunizations and submit documentation to Student Health Services of meeting these requirements. Accepted students who have questions should contact the Office of Enrollment Services Center at (973) 972-5454 or by email at SHPadm@shp.rutgers.edu and Dr. Janice Oursler, Program Director, at 908 889-2462 or by email at ourslejd@shp.rutgers.edu

Information for military and veterans is available by clicking here, select VA Certification. For any questions regarding your SHP VA Certification contact the Office of Enrollment Management at 973 972-5454.

Applicants whose baccalaureate degree is not from the United States must submit an official copy of a transcript evaluation. Information about arranging an evaluation is available from the World Education Services, Inc. at www.wes.org. Contact the Office of Enrollment Services at (973) 972-5454 or by email at SHPadm@shp.rutgers.edu to learn about other acceptable agencies for transcript evaluation.

Applicants with a baccalaureate degree whose native language is not English are required to submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Information about TOEFL may be obtained at www.ets.org/toefl.

Information for international students is available by clicking here, select Prospective Students, then Admissions Office and International Services. Information about the RBHS Office of International Services is available at http://rbhs.rutgers.edu/internationalservices or by phone at 973 972-6138.

The 60-credit curriculum reflects areas of study important in preparing counselors to work with individuals with psychiatric and other disabilities in the community. The curriculum meets the accreditation standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track can be completed in two years on a full-time basis or three years or more on a part-time basis. This includes attendance in the summer semester, as certain courses are offered only in this semester. A counseling core of 13 courses gives students a strong foundation in content areas such as theories of counseling, techniques, and methods for counseling individuals and groups, human growth and development and the impact of disabilities, and ethical and legal standards of the profession.

Students complete a practicum of at least 100 hours including 40 hours of direct service and an internship of at least 600 hours, including 240 hours of direct service. These 9 credits of clinical experience allow students to practice and integrate counseling skills learned in coursework. Students may be able to complete these experiences at the agency where they are employed. Students complete four courses of specialized course work in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in addition to the core counseling courses and the clinical experiences.

Practicum and internships are completed in New Jersey or the surrounding geographic area including downstate New York, eastern Pennsylvania including Philadelphia, and Delaware.  We are unable to provide practicum and internship placements in other parts of the country.

Below are the major areas of study that are taken by all students as part of the degree:

  • Professional Identity
  • Social and Cultural Diversity
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Career Development
  • Helping Relationships
  • Group Work
  • Assessment
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Community Services and Resources
  • Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability

Course Descriptions: 

Course descriptions are available here.

M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track Graduation Course and Credit Requirements 

The M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree is offered by the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions in the School of Health Professions (SHP) at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.   Completion of the degree requires 6o credits.

Students may attend the program on either a full time or part time basis.  The program can be completed in two years of full time attendance or three years of part time attendance.  Most students attend on a part time basis.  Students, whether full time or part time, must attend in the summer semester as certain required courses are offered only in the summer semester.  Courses may be taken at either the Scotch Plains campus, which serves Central and Northern New Jersey, or the Blackwood campus, which serves Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia area, or online.

Generally, the program has a total enrollment of 85 to 90 students. The program typically admits 20 to 25 students in the Fall semester and another 10 students in the Spring semester.  However, spring admissions may be limited, depending on enrollment in the Fall semester.  Students can start the program in the Fall or Spring semester only. New students are not admitted to start in the Summer semester.   Students are encouraged to start the program in the Fall semester.  For the 2017-2018 academic year, 50% of students were from underrepresented groups, including students with disabilities.  The majority of students in the program are female.

The program has seven full-time faculty assigned to teach required courses in the program plus additional full-time Department faculty who teach part time in the program.  Student outcomes are evaluated each year on a variety of different metrics that are part of the overall program evaluation.

Information about tuition and fees is available at http://shp.rutgers.edu, select Current Students and then Tuition and Fees.   Information about financial aid is available from the Rutgers Financial Aid Office at http://shp.rutgers.edu, select Current Students and then Financial Aid.  SHP offers scholarships available to both incoming and continuing students.  Information about SHP scholarships is available at http://shp.rutgers.edu, select Current Students and then Scholarships.  You must be accepted as a matriculated student to be eligible for a SHP scholarship.  Most SHP scholarships are based on financial need, and it is recommended that you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in addition to the SHP scholarship application and your transcripts.  When applying for SHP scholarships, be sure to read the application directions carefully and follow all directions. Incomplete applications are not considered. The deadline for all SHP scholarship application materials including transcripts is June 1.  The program has Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) training grants that provide scholarships for selected students to assist with tuition.  Students must apply to be considered to receive a RSA scholarship and must sign a payback agreement agreeing to work two years in a qualifying job in rehabilitation counseling for every year of financial support received.  RSA grants also require that students must commit to completing the internship in a state vocational rehabilitation agency as a condition of accepting RSA scholarship funds unless the program can obtain a waiver of this requirement from RSA for the student.  Also, students must explore and use other sources of financial assistance such as employer tuition reimbursement before accepting RSA scholarship funds.

For the 2017-2018 academic year, 31 students graduated from the program.  All students complete a practicum and internship requirement in an approved agency during the last year of the program.  Below is information concerning the program’s student retention rate by entering cohort over the period from 2004 to 2013.

Student Retention

Students Beginning in Years 2004 Through 2013

Number in Beginning Cohort In Five Years In Six Years In Seven Years  In Eight Years
2004 21 16 76.2 16 76.2 17 81 17 81
2005 36 23 63.8 23 63.8 23 63.8 24 66.7
2006 24 17 70.8 17 70.8 17 70.8 17 70.8
2007 22 14 63.6 14 63.6 14 63.6 14 63.6
2008 29 19 65.5 19 65.5 19 65.5 19 65.5
2009 29 19 65.5 20 68.9 20 68.9 20 68.9
2010 17 14 82.3 15 88.2 15 88.2 15 88.2
2011 27 22 81.4 22 81.4 22 81.4
2012 30 23 76.6 23 76.6
2013 30 21 70

There is a high demand in New Jersey and the surrounding geographic area for counselors who have a specialization in rehabilitation counseling.  Follow-up of those who graduated in the 2016-2017 academic year found that over 95% of graduates who were seeking employment were employed in the counseling field within six months.  The employment settings where most graduates work are state vocational rehabilitation and other government human services agencies including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well as community based, non-profit agencies providing services to persons with disabilities.  This includes community based mental health agencies.

Licensure requirements for counselors vary from state to state.  Students should check with the state where they are interested in obtaining licensure to get information about requirements in that state for the type of license the student is interested in obtaining.  Licensure requirements may include both education and relevant supervised work experience.  New Jersey provides for licensure of Professional Counselors and of Rehabilitation Counselors.  Additional information about licensure requirements can be obtained from the New Jersey State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, Professional Counselors Examiners Committee, P.O. Box 45007, Newark, New Jersey 07101. Students are responsible for obtaining additional information about and making application for credentials in which they are interested.  Rutgers cannot assure that you will qualify for any license or credential upon completing the degree.

In the most recent report received from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) (www.crccertification.com), program students and graduates who took the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination in July, 2015, exceeded the national pass rate with an 80% pass rate as compared to the national pass rate of 65%.  Students are eligible to take this examination when they have completed 75% of their course work.

The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).    Applicants who graduate from a CACREP accredited program may apply for the National Counselor Examination (NCE).  The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) waives the post master’s experience and supervision requirements for graduates of CACREP-accredited programs per information on their web site at www.nbcc.org.  Passing the NCE is part of the process to obtain the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential available through NBCC.

Please contact Janice Oursler, Ph.D., NCC, CRC, Program Director, at ourslejd@shp.rutgers.edu or 908-889-2462, for any additional information needed about program outcomes.

Questions about the degree:
Janice Oursler, Ph.D., NCC, CRC, Program Director
Telephone: (908) 889-2462 or email: ourslejd@shp.rutgers.edu
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

School of Health Professions

Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions
1776 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains, New Jersey 07076

This program focusses on educating students to be proficient providers of counseling services with a specialization in working with and within the community in an environment of diversity to empower people including those with disabilities to pursue career and related goals with success and satisfaction. SHP as a leader in health professions education is ideally suited to provide this program. This 60-credit degree is designed to advance the career of those already working in the human services field as well as prepare people to enter the field. Professionals with graduate degrees in this area are in high demand in New Jersey and the surrounding region as well as nationally. Employment settings include community-based agencies, state and federal government agencies, the insurance industry, and private practice.

This degree provides a specialization in both mental health counseling and rehabilitation counseling. Rehabilitation Counselors are counselors who have the specialized knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to collaborate in a professional counseling relationship with people who have psychiatric, developmental, sensory or physical disabilities to achieve their personal, psychological, social, and career goals. Mental health counselors help people manage or overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with relationships. Examples of what mental health counselors do include encouraging clients to discuss their experiences and process reactions to them in order to adjust to changes in life, guiding clients through the process of making decisions about their future, counseling clients about developing strategies and skills to change their behavior or cope with difficult situations, and coordinating services with other professionals such as psychiatrists. Mental health counselors work with clients to develop strategies and skills to minimize the effects of their disorders or illnesses. Our program emphasizes approaches based on cognitive behavioral counseling. This goal-oriented approach focuses on helping clients to understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and replace them with positive, life-enhancing ones as well as teaching clients to replace unwanted behaviors with more productive ones.

Requirements for admission include:

  • Completed Application for Admission form with application fee.
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Written statement describing career goals, personal goals, and experiences as related to the program.
  • Two letters of recommendation. Letters can be submitted electronically or mailed to the Office of Enrollment Management.
  • Personal interview by faculty.

In addition to the academic requirements for the program, students must be able to perform the essential functions required for a career in the health services field. Applicants considering careers in the counseling field must be able to form effective interpersonal relationships both with individuals and in the context of small groups, engage in critical thinking, work with diverse populations, and follow ethical standards of the profession. As part of preparation to become counseling professionals, students must be open to self-examination and to personal as well as professional self-development. Students also must have technological competence and computer literacy including word processing, Internet search, and use of email.

You can apply online. Applications are accepted only online.

Yes, students who have not completed the admissions process to be accepted for the degree may take courses on a non-matriculated basis. Additionally, students who are interested in taking selected courses or enrolling in one of the Department’s certificate programs may attend as non-matriculated students. A total of 12 credits taken as a non-matriculated student may be applied to the degree once the student has matriculated. For more information about Certificate programs, contact Dr. Janice Oursler at 908 889-2462 or by email at ourslejd@shp.rutgers.edu or Debra Rich at 908 889-2430 or by email at richd1@shp.rutgers.edu.

Yes. The best source for financial aid information is at the Rutgers Student Financial Aid Office. They can be contacted 973 972-4376 or on the web.

Yes. Rutgers University and the School of Health Professions offer a limited number of scholarships.

  • Students have access to a variety of student services. You can self-refer for any of these services. Detailed information about these services is in the SHP Student Handbook available here, select Current Students and then Student Handbook.
  • The Office of Student Affairs offers academic support services including tutorial services. More information about these services is available here. Contact the Office at (973) 972-7939 or by email at OSA@shp.rutgers.edu.
  • The Office of Student Affairs offers counseling services in individual, group, telephone and online formats. For additional information about counseling services, call 973 972-7939, from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., Monday through Friday.
  • More information on Student Health and Wellness can be found here.
  • The Office of Student Legal Services (SLS) provides legal assistant and representation to eligible students, holds community outreach seminars and workshops, and provides educational opportunities for interested students in the form of internships and externships. Services of this Office are available to all Rutgers students year-round. More information is available at http://rusls.rutgers.edu/about-us-2. The Office can be contacted at (848) 932-4LAW (4529).
  • Information about student housing is available here. Housing availability cannot be guaranteed.

We invite applications from all individuals who are interested in studying for this degree including individuals with disabilities. You must make formal application through the Disability Coordinator for the accommodations you wish to receive. You can contact the Disability Coordinator directly at 973 972-8594 or by email at osa@SHP.rutgers.edu to start the process to apply for accommodations. Students needing assistance in obtaining materials in alternative formats should also contact the Disability Coordinator. Students needing accommodations are encouraged to contact the Disability Coordinator as early as possible in their studies to start this process. More information including the process to apply for accommodations and other services for students with disabilities is available here.

Students must be covered by professional liability insurance while participating in practicum (PSRT 6011) or internship (PSRT 6012) experiences. Under the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), the University provides professional and general liability coverage for the student performing activities under the terms of the MOU agreement. This coverage provides for limits of coverage of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 in the aggregate, provided through a Program of Self-Insurance.

Students may wish to make arrangements to obtain their own professional liability insurance. This is a recommended practice followed by many counseling professionals even when insurance is provided by the agency. Such insurance is available at low cost through one of the professional associations. American Counseling Association (ACA) student membership includes liability insurance for ACA student members enrolled and engaged in a master’s degree counseling curriculum at a post-secondary institution. This coverage is solely while performing counseling services such as the practicum and internship related to such curriculum. Additional information is available at www.counseling.org select Membership and then Membership Benefits.

Dept. Home
APPLY NOW!

For more information, email Program Director Dr. Janice Oursler