Clinical Counseling (M.S.) with specializations in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling

As a student in our program, you'll be trained to perform a vital role as a counselor with specialized knowledge and skills for both mental health and rehabilitation service delivery.

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By studying clinical counseling at Illinois Tech, you'll gain the skills needed to serve individuals with a diverse array of mental health or disability-related problems impacting the individual and the family in a variety of clinical settings and with respect for the influences of multicultural factors such as culture, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Students also receive training in the vocational, educational, and personal adjustment of individuals with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Students are provided a comprehensive education in principles of both clinical rehabilitation and clinical mental health counseling, and then choose a specialization in one of these two areas through their internship experience.

The M.S. Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program at Illinois Tech is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling through 2023. The Clinical Counseling Program with track specializations in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling is currently seeking accreditation. Students are provided with a comprehensive education in principles of both clinical rehabilitation and clinical mental health counseling, and then specialize in one of these two areas through their internship and research experiences.

The clinical counseling program is designed to prepare students to function as counselors for persons with a variety of needs, including mental health issues impacting the individual and/or family, and persons with physical or mental disabilities to address psychosocial and vocational adjustment. The program is grounded in a strengths-based philosophy of client empowerment where the counselor’s role is to assist individuals to realize their optimum level of mental health and personal wellness, including vocational adjustment and independent living. This is done through the use of a variety of therapeutic interventions, including individual, group and/or family counseling, diagnosis, case management, and the provision or coordination of assessment, training, placement, and follow-up services. The demand for rehabilitation counselors and clinical mental health counselors has exceeded the supply in recent years in public, private, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors.

Core graduate coursework provides the basic knowledge and skills necessary to the fields of rehabilitation counseling and mental health counseling. This includes counseling theory, rehabilitation and mental health counseling principles and practices, ethics, individual and group counseling, assessment, diagnosis of mental disorders, evidence-based treatment of mental disorders, job placement, medical and psychosocial aspects of disability, human growth and career development, and research methods. Additionally, this program has a strong emphasis on psychiatric rehabilitation and assistive technology. Concurrently, fieldwork of progressively increasing complexity takes place at a variety of community-based mental health and rehabilitation sites in the Chicago area.

Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Specialization

The Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (CRC) track is specially designed for students interested in working with persons with disabilities, or who have specific interest in state vocational rehabilitation or private sector rehabilitation. Students in the CRC track will conduct relevant research projects related to the service of persons with disabilities and will complete their fieldwork experiences in service to the disability community. Practicum and internship experiences include placements in the state VR agency, the VA, private sector rehabilitation facilities, rehabilitation center and hospitals, nonprofit rehabilitation organizations, and other facilities for persons with disabilities.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) track is specially designed for students interested in working with persons with mental health and/or behavioral issues. Students in the CMHC track will conduct relevant research projects related to the service of persons with mental health and/or behavior concerns and will complete their fieldwork experiences in related settings. Practicum and internship experiences include placements in mental health and counseling centers, private practices, outpatient mental health facilities, mental health and behavioral health hospitals, substance abuse treatment facilities, nonprofit organizations, and other facilities for persons with mental health and/or behavioral concerns:

Core Faculty Members

The Clinical Counseling program has seven core faculty members who are responsible for curriculum development, preparation of students within the program, and who participate in research, scholarly activities and service to the counseling field. Core faculty members are as follows:

Patrick Corrigan
Nicole Ditchman
Kelly Kazukauskas (Division Head)
Frank Lane
Jon Larson (Department Head)
Eun-Jeong Lee
Lindsay Sheehan

Program Overview

Students in this program are provided with a comprehensive education in principles of both clinical rehabilitation and clinical mental health counseling, and then specialize in one of these two areas through their internship and research experiences.

Career Opportunities

Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation Counselors are in demand as the population continues to age and the number of individuals with disabilities increases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020-2030, projected growth for rehabilitation counselors is faster than average, with 10% projected growth in the United States and 7% projected growth for Illinois. The MS program's length (60 credit hours) is required by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) and necessary to meet most counseling licensure law requirements in the United States. The program prepares students to take the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam. Rehabilitation counselors work in a variety of settings including:

  • State-federal rehabilitation agencies (e.g., Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services)
  • Community rehabilitation programs
  • Veterans Administration
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Correctional institutions
  • Schools
  • College and university disability resource centers
  • Organizations serving individuals with physical, psychiatric, mental, social, or emotional disabilities
  • Community mental health centers
  • Private practice

Clinical Mental Health Counselors:

There continues to be a high demand for mental health counselors, and this demand is projected to increase during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020-2030 projections, projected growth for mental health counselors is much faster than average, with 23% projected growth in the United States and 16% projected growth for Illinois. The master's program's length (60 credit hours) is required by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) and necessary to meet most counseling licensure laws in the United States. Clinical mental health counselors work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Community mental health centers
  • Private practice
  • Correctional institutions
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Organizations serving individuals with physical, psychiatric, mental, social, or emotional disabilities
  • College and university health and wellness centers

A core of required graduate courses provides the basic knowledge and skills necessary to clinical rehabilitation and clinical mental health counseling, and then get to choose a specialization in one of these two areas through their internship and research experience.

Clinical counseling principles and practices are taught with an emphasis on:

  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Counseling theory
  • Individual and group counseling skills
  • Assessment in rehabilitation and mental health counseling
  • Diagnosis of mental disorders
  • Evidence-based treatment of mental disorders
  • Job placement
  • Medical and psychosocial aspects of disability
  • Human growth and career development
  • Research methods
  • Professional identity
  • Ethical and professional issues, including leadership and advocacy
  • Diversity and multicultural considerations  

Fieldwork of progressively increasing complexity takes place at a variety of community-based mental health and rehabilitation facilities in the Chicago area. You will begin working with clients in community facilities in the fall of your second year and continue hands-on supervised experience during a full-time internship in the spring of your second year.

For individuals currently working in the rehabilitation and/or mental health counseling field who are interested in pursuing a M.S. in Clinical Counseling at a slower pace, there is an option to take a reduced course load available, which is designed to meet the needs of the working professional. Courses are generally offered in the evening or via distance education, and the required fieldwork experiences (practicum and internship) are typically worked out with the student’s place of employment if it meets fieldwork site requirements. The part-time program takes approximately three years to complete.

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Applications are accepted for the fall and spring terms and are considered on a rolling basis. Minimum requirements for admission include:

  • Bachelor's degree with a minimum of 18 credit hours in psychology or a closely related field
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Two letters of recommendation (academic and/or employer)
  • Professional statement
  • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions (transcripts must be uploaded into the online application system)

All applications are evaluated on the basis of such factors as GPA, recommendations, and the professional statement. GRE scores are not required. Finalists will be contacted for a virtual interview.

Practica and Internships

Students in the M.S. Clinical Counseling program can apply what they learn in practica and internships that align with their chosen specialization. This prepares students for work as a practitioner, provides valuable contacts in the field and allows them to learn skills that cannot be taught in a classroom.

Students pursuing a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling do internships in the settings such as:

  • Mental health and counseling centers
  • Medical hospitals
  • Services for persons with mental and physical disabilities
  • Private practice

Recent placements include sites such as Ada S. McKinley Community Services; Thresholds Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program; Anixter Center; Illinois Tech Student Health & Wellness Counseling Center

Students pursuing a specialization in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling do internships in the settings such as:

  • Community rehabilitation provider programs
  • State departments of vocational rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Medical hospitals
  • Private sector rehabilitation companies

Recent placements include Veteran Health Administration; Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services; Chicago Lighthouse; Shirly Ryan Ability Lab

Certification and Licensure

As an Illinois Tech counseling graduate, you will be eligible for certification and licensure relevant to your specialization. Students completing the program with the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling specialization are eligible to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination and become a CRC, a distinguished national certification required by most rehabilitation settings. Students completing the Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization are eligible to sit for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) exam through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Once the student passes the CRC and/or NCC exam, they are eligible to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Illinois. After working for a minimum of 2 years under the supervision of a qualified clinical supervisor, individuals are eligible to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Illinois. Students who intend to move outside the state of Illinois are strongly encouraged to understand licensure laws in their intended state of residency. If the state requires coursework not contained in our curriculum, please let your advisor know so we can work with you.

The M.S. Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program at Illinois Tech is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling through 2023. The Clinical Counseling Program with track specializations in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling is currently seeking accreditation.

Consumer Disclosure on State Licensure

Programs Features and Data

The clinical counseling program is designed to prepare students to function as counselors for persons with a variety of needs, including mental health issues impacting the individual and/or family, and persons with physical or mental disabilities to address psychosocial and vocational adjustment. The program is grounded in a strengths-based philosophy of client empowerment where the counselor’s role is to assist individuals to realize their optimum level of functioning to include mental health and personal wellness, vocational adjustment, educational adjustment, and independent living. This is done through the use of a variety of therapeutic interventions, including individual, group and/or family counseling, diagnosis, case management, and the provision or coordination of evaluation, training, placement, and follow-up services. The demand for rehabilitation and clinical mental health counselors has exceeded the supply in recent years in public, private, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors.

Required Courses and Typical Program of Study

Clinical Counseling Fieldwork Manual

Clinical Counseling Program Manual

Program Outcomes Report

Assistantships and Scholarships

Grants from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) allow Illinois Tech to provide funding for students who are pursuing the rehabilitation counseling specialization with an interest in vocational rehabilitation counseling and who are eligible to work in the United States. The rehabilitation counseling program has been the recipient of grants from the Department of Education for more than 30 years. To learn about the availability of grant-funded training opportunities through RSA, contact the program director.

Partial-tuition scholarships are sometimes available for international students in either specialization.

Clinical counseling students can also apply for graduate assistantships. Graduate assistants receive partial tuition remission and a monthly stipend, along with assessment, teaching and/or research experience.

 

 

This program is currently in transition from the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Program, which maintains CACREP accreditation for both Clinical Mental Health and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling until 2023. The prior RMHC program, which is being phased out, can be found here.