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Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling offered by the College of Education is designed to prepare students to work with individuals with disabilities in public and private rehabilitation agencies, hospitals, industry and related fields. The graduate program, a three-year course of study, will train students in rehabilitation counseling, vocational evaluation and job placement of persons with disabilities. Graduates of the program will be prepared to take the certified rehabilitation counselor examination.

Rehabilitation counseling is a growing field in the mental health and allied health professions. A rehabilitation counselor helps persons with disabilities achieve their optimal social, psychological and vocational potential. Whenever possible, the final goal of rehabilitation is job placement. The rehabilitation counselor works with people who have different disabilities. The handicaps may be physical, intellectual, emotional or sociocultural.

Students will be encouraged to develop areas of specialization by completing research of individual interest and field work experiences in specialization areas. The rehabilitation counseling program also will offer a bilingual rehabilitation counseling experience. The purpose for having a bilingual experience is that there is a demand in the rehabilitation profession for counselors to have the skills to speak and work with Hispanic clients. The mission of the bilingual rehabilitation counseling experience will be to educate students to be rehabilitation counselors who will be able to speak conversational Spanish with Hispanic clients, have an understanding of Hispanic culture and be aware of the special needs of Hispanic persons with disabilities.

Rehabilitation Counseling is focused on helping people who have disabilities achieve their personal, career, and independent living goals through a counseling process. Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals who have a variety of physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors can be found in private practice, in rehabilitation facilities, universities, schools, government agencies, insurance companies and other organizations. They assist individuals who have disabilities in vocational, independent living and educational pursuits.

The current trend for people working in the rehabilitation counseling field is to obtain a Master's degree in rehabilitation counseling and to obtain national certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). The CRC is administered through the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). Individuals who want to become rehabilitation counselor educators, researchers or administrators generally need to go beyond the master's degree and obtain a doctoral degree.

Rehabilitation Counseling Program Brochure


Commitment to Diversity

The Rehabilitation Counseling program faculty engages in actions consistent with the CSUSB diversity commitment by demonstrating respect for and understanding of cultural and individual diversity. Read the complete CSUSB diversity statement.


Initially, rehabilitation professionals were recruited from a variety of human service disciplines, including public health nursing, social work, and school counseling. Although educational programs began to appear in the 1940s, it was not until the availability of federal funding for rehabilitation counseling programs in 1954 that the profession began to grow and establish its own identity.

Historically, rehabilitation counselors primarily served working-age adults with disabilities. Today, the need for rehabilitation counseling services extends to persons of all age groups who have disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors also may provide general and specialized counseling to people with disabilities in public human service programs and private practice settings.


The mission of the Rehabilitation Counseling program at CSUSB is to develop students to be Rehabilitation Counselors who work with individuals with disabilities. Students may work as practitioners, case managers, and administrators. Special encouragement is given to students who wish to focus on bilingual/multicultural issues in their program. The program encourages the recruitment, retention, and successful completion of students from under-represented populations to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion within the profession.

Program Objectives

1. Offer a quality curriculum that prepares master’s level rehabilitation counselors to work effectively with individuals with disabilities from diverse backgrounds.

2. Recruit and retain qualified students that include people from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds and individuals with disabilities.

3. Train students in the effective delivery of rehabilitation services for individuals with physical, psychiatric, sensory, neurological, chemical dependencies, and developmental disabilities.

4. Prepare students to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors.

5. Promote an inclusive learning community that enriches student experience and education and promotes full participation of all students.


Dr. Priyanka Yalamanchili, CRC
Program and Clinical Coordinator, Rehabilitation Counseling
Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation & Counseling
California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407
(909) 537-5670 (preferred mode of contact)