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School of Medicine

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Rehabilitation Counseling

Many people struggle to navigate daily life because of a disability or because of societal barriers related to disability. Our on-campus and distance learning programs will prepare you to help enhance the quality of life for those living with disabilities.

What is Rehabilitation Counseling

We train our graduates to be professional counselors with a specialized understanding of disability and disadvantagement-related issues. Our curriculum and service activities are focused on providing counseling and employment-related support to persons who have physical or mental disabilities, including addictions. Additional service perspectives focus on individuals who are disadvantaged by cultural differences and educational and economic impoverishment throughout the state and beyond.


Programs Offered

  1. Masters of Arts (M.A.) degree in Counseling and Rehabilitation (60 credit hours)
  2. Certificate of Graduate Study (C.G.S.) in Psychiatric Rehabilitation (18 credits hours)


Beyond the Classroom

We believe that the best way for you to learn is by doing. That's why we include many hands-on experiences in our master's degree curriculum. Not only will you get to work with persons with disabilities, you'll also be able to complete a 600-hour internship your final semester. 


Dedicated Faculty

Our dedicated faculty performs a broad spectrum of educational, scholarly and service activities to enhance your educational experience.

You'll get training in multiple areas, including: 

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Educational, vocational and psychosocial assessment
  • Clinical case management
  • Advocacy
  • Community program development


Distance Learning

We have a distance learning option that will make it easier to pursue your career without moving to Columbia, if you need more flexibility to allow you to continue to work. All coursework will be offered online and you'll be required to come to a few in-person meetings. 


Certificate Program

In addition to the master's degree, we also offer a certificate program in psychiatric rehabilitation that's designed for post-bachelor’s degree students and helping professionals who want to gain more knowledge and skills in working with individuals with severe mental illnesses. This program will give you the skills you need to provide superior client care.


Accredited Program

On July 1, 2017, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) assumed responsibility for carrying out the mission and vision of the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). All graduate programs that were formerly accredited by CORE are now accredited by CACREP. The USC Rehabilitation Counseling Program’s 48 credit hour degree was most recently accredited by CORE in 2012 and received a full 8-year accreditation (2012-2020). That program is accredited as a rehabilitation counseling program by CACREP through 2020 under the former CORE standards. The USC Rehabilitation Counseling Program intends to seek accreditation for the updated 60 credit hour program as a Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program, under current CACREP standards, when the reaccreditation process begins in 2019.


Program Outcomes

Program Graduates
  • 2017-2018: 8 graduates
  • 2016-2017: 15 graduates
Program Completion
  • For students who started the 48 credit-hour master’s degree program in 2015-2016 (N=16):
  • 5 graduated in 2 years.
  • 7 graduated in 2.5 years.
  • 2 are on track to graduate with 60 credit-hours of study in 3.5 years.
  • 2 are working with persons with disabilities in other capacities.
  • Spring 2017: 2 of 2 (100%) students took and passed the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam.
  • Fall 2017: 2 of 2 (100%) students took and passed the CRC exam.
Employment Outcomes
  • Fall 2017: 100% of graduates (N=4) are employed as rehabilitation counseling professionals in rehabilitation agencies and university-based student disability services.
  • Academic year 2016-2017: 100% of graduates actively seeking employment (N=14) are employed as counselors or therapists in rehabilitation agencies, college or university-based student disability services, community mental health agencies, private practice, and drug and alcohol treatment settings.


Important Information About Programs Leading to Licensure

Certification: Because our program is CORE/CACREP accredited, all students who have successfully completed 75 percent of their coursework and all graduates of the rehabilitation counseling program are eligible to take the exam administered by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) that leads to the nationally recognized Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credential. This credential is available to all students and program graduates, including those students who do not live in the state of South Carolina.

Licensure: Each state has its own licensing board with its own counselor licensure requirements. The state of South Carolina requires, in part, that applicants for counselor licensure complete coursework in 10 specific content areas. Students interested in counselor licensure must take additional coursework to become eligible to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) that leads to counselor licensure in SC. Our program offers the coursework that is required. We cannot confirm that the program meets the requirements for professional licensure in another state.  For students not living in South Carolina, click here for contact information for licensure in specific states. If a current student is considering relocating to another state after being admitted into the program, the student must contact the program director to discuss how the move may impact their ability to participate in academic courses (distributed learning) and clinical practicum (experiential learning) opportunities in a different state.