Counselor Education

Master of Science in Counseling: Rehabilitation Counseling Concentration

Rehabilitation counselors provide support and guidance for clients to re-enter their way of life, which can include employment, education, family and personal relationships, and living situations. Clients are typically experiencing difficulty with life transitions due to mental illness, physical disability, developmental disability, or substance abuse; and they often have co-occurring disorders.

About the Rehabilitation Counseling Program

Our Rehabilitation Counseling concentration prepares graduates to provide services to diverse populations, based upon the philosophy that all people have inherent value and resiliency, and all citizens should have opportunities for full societal participation.

Students can select from two tracks of study:

  • Vocational — Focus on employment.
  • Clinical — Focus on mental health.

Low-Residency, Blended Program

The Rehabilitation concentration is a blended program, which means there is a mixture of online and in-person courses. 

  • Online courses: Roughly 90% of the required courses are offered in an online format. Some online courses are synchronous, offering the opportunity to connect with your professor and classmates in real-time. Some online courses are asynchronous, providing you the flexibility to choose when and where to complete your coursework each week.
  • In-person courses: There are flexible scheduling options for the in-person courses, which are held on our Gorham campus.

For online learners, USM offers a low e-tuition rate to non-residents of Maine that is less than the standard out-of-state tuition. Maine residents benefit from the lower in-state tuition.

Clinical Rehabilitation Track: 63 credits

Clinical rehabilitation counselors work with clients who are experiencing chronic mental illness, who may have physical disabilities or developmental disabilities, and who are recovering from a substance use disorder. Often, clients are experiencing co-occurring disorders.

Students in the Clinical Track will explore:

  • The varying approaches of mental health clinics, hospitals, substance abuse facilities, and social service agencies.
  • The biological, psychological, emotional, and behavioral aspects of substance abuse.
  • Diagnosis and treatment planning.

Our Clinical Rehabilitation program is one of only 27 such accredited programs in the nation. The program meets both clinical mental health and rehabilitation counseling standards and is dually accredited by both the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) until 2023. Additionally, all graduates are eligible for hiring in key federal programs, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and TRICARE.

Learn More: Watch a video about our Clinical Rehabilitation Track


Vocational Rehabilitation Track: 54 credits

Vocational rehabilitation counselors help their clients to live more independently by assisting them in selecting and securing employment, and often by providing guidance with their living situation and their relationships.

Students in our Vocational Track will focus on the medical, psychological, employment-related, and societal issues that surround people with disabilities and the practice of rehabilitation.

Students whose employers offer tuition reimbursement may choose to take advantage of the University’s deferred tuition option.

About Rehabilitation Practicum

The Rehabilitation Practicum typically begins after you’ve completed roughly 39 credits and lasts for one semester.

In your practicum, you will:

  • Complete 100 practicum hours.
  • Gain 40 hours experience of direct client work.
  • Receive direct individual supervision from a faculty member and additional insight and support through a small group seminar.

About Rehabilitation Internship

Your internship is a key component of your educational preparation to be a professional counselor. Students typically begin their internship in the semester following the completion of practicum. Depending on your track and whether you are attending part-time or full-time, the internship experience can take 1-5 semesters to complete.

  • If you’re a Clinical Rehabilitation student, you will:
    • Complete 900 internship hours, at least 300 of which will be spent in a clinical setting.
    • Gain 360 hours experience of direct client work.
    • Receive on-site supervision from a licensed clinician; our sites offer a 1:1 ratio of student-to-supervisor.
  • If you’re a Vocational Rehabilitation student, you will:
    • Complete 600 internship hours.
    • Gain 240 hours experience of direct client work.
    • Receive on-site supervision; our sites offer a 1:1 ratio of student-to-supervisor.
  • Both Clinical and Vocational students receive additional faculty supervision and support through a small group seminar, which also serves as an opportunity for case review.

Learn more about the Counseling Practicum and Internship

Many Rehabilitation Counseling students choose to obtain an additional certification while earning their master’s degree — this can expand career options immediately as well as upon graduation.

Certifications available to both Clinical and Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling students and graduates:

  • Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician/Community (MHRT/C) - A Certificate of Graduate Study is offered through the University.
  • Employment Specialist Certification  — We’ll provide guidance on courses that will prepare you for this exam.
  • Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CADC) — Provided through the State of Maine.
  • Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner — We’ll provide guidance on courses that will prepare you for this exam.

Upon graduation from the MS in Counseling program with a concentration in Rehabilitation, you will be qualified for several additional exams, certifications, and licensures.

Graduates of the Clinical Track are also qualified for:

  • The National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)
  • The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Examination
  • National Counselor Certification (NCC)
  • Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC)
    • Students who obtain their Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CADC) during their graduate studies may count their USM counseling internship hours toward LADC requirements.
  • Requirements to be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and/or a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the State of Maine. 
    • We advise out-of-state students on licensing requirements for their home states.

Graduates of the Vocational Track are also qualified for:

  • The National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE)
  • The Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Examination
  • Requirements to be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • National Counselor Certification (NCC)
  • This track requires 54 credit hours and 600 internship hours. Students may elect to take an additional 6 credits and complete an additional 300 internship hours in order to qualify for Maine state licensure as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC).

This program will prepare students to be eligible for licensure within the State of Maine. Visit the UMS State Authorization and Licensure page to learn more about the licensure requirements in other states and territories, and for contact information to inquire further about the licensure requirements associated with this program.

3 + 2 Pathway to the both the Clinical Track and Vocational Track

  • University of Maine at Farmington (UMF)
    For highly motivated undergraduate students who already know that they want to earn a Master’s of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling, we have partnered with UMF to offer a 3 + 2 BS-to-MS Program.

    This program allows students to complete their BS in Rehabilitation at UMF in 3 years, and to move seamlessly into their graduate studies at USM to earn an MS in Counseling with a concentration in Rehabilitation. Learn More.

Admissions Pathways to the Clinical Rehabilitation Track
We have partnered with other University of Maine System (UMS) campuses to create streamlined admissions pathways from an undergraduate degree to a Master’s of Science in Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Rehabilitation. Students studying in the following undergraduate programs should consult their faculty for more information about admission to our Clinical Rehabilitation Track:

  • University of Maine at Augusta (UMA): Mental Health & Human Services
  • University of Maine at Farmington (UMF): Rehabilitation Services
  • University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK): Behavioral Sciences