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Rehabilitation Counseling, MS

UB’s Online Rehabilitation Counseling program was named one of the top ten Online Counseling programs in the US in 2013 and 2014 by thebestcolleges .org

The University at Buffalo’s Online Rehabilitation Counseling Master’s Degree program is one of the oldest and best of its kind in the United States.

On this page:

Program Overview

The Online Rehabilitation Counseling program has been designed to meet the needs of working professionals, including those considering a career change.To accommodate people with busy lives, we offer this challenging curriculum completely online on a part-time basis. 

This is a “distance learning” program for individuals residing a minimum of 75 miles or more from campus.

Once enrolled in this program, you will take two courses per semester and earn your degree in less than three years. We work with you to coordinate all of your practica, field work and internships within your own community.

As a Rehabilitation Counselor, you will help people with physical, mental, emotional or social disabilities at various stages in their lives. You can choose to work with various populations to help:

  • Veterans cope with the mental or physical effects of their military service
  • Elderly people adapt to disabilities developed later in life from illness or injury
  • Students develop strategies to live with their disability and move from school to work
  • Resolve personal, family, social, educational, and employment issues

Rehabilitation Counseling has emerged as a counseling specialization and a distinct profession concerned with people who have disabilities. Disability is broadly considered to include diagnosable impairments in physical, psychological and/or cognitive areas.

The Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling prepares students to become competent and skillful Rehabilitation Counselors. Our graduates are prepared to be successful in a wide variety of settings and client populations.

A Rehabilitation Counselor is one of a number of specialists working in a unified effort to help people with disabilities move toward living life as fully and as independently as possible.

Although the role and function of the counselor will vary depending upon the nature of their employment, the primary approach provided by the Rehabilitation Counselor is usually a close, individualized and ongoing relationship with the client.

UB’s Online Rehabilitation Counseling program was named one of the top ten Online Counseling programs in the US in 2013 and 2014 by

Why Rehabilitation Counseling?

“Employment of Rehabilitation Counselors is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022”

Do you want to help people with emotional and physical disabilities live independently? Do you want to work with clients to overcome or manage the personal, social, and professional effects of disabilities on employment or independent living?  If so, then the Online Rehabilitation Counseling Master’s degree program is for you!

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Employment of Rehabilitation Counselors is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022. 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.”

Rehabilitation Counselors work in a diversity of settings including:

  • Vocational counseling centers
  • Vocational evaluation programs
  • State divisions of vocational rehabilitation
  • Medical and psychiatric centers
  • Penal and correctional institutions
  • Alcohol and drug abuse programs
  • Nursing homes
  • Multi-purposed community centers
  • Youth and family service agencies
  • Private practice

Over 95 percent of the graduates of the Rehabilitation Counseling program are employed in the field. Employment of counselors is expected to increase by 20 percent over the next decade.

Growth is expected to vary by specialty. Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are expected to grow 34 percent. As society becomes more knowledgeable about addiction, it is increasingly common for people to seek treatment. Furthermore, drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment programs rather than jail.

State and local governments will employ growing numbers of Rehabilitation Counselors to assist beneficiaries of welfare programs who exhaust their eligibility and must find jobs. Other opportunities for employment of counselors will arise in private job-training centers that provide training and other services to laid-off workers and others seeking to acquire new skills or careers.

Follow-up data with graduates from this and other rehabilitation counseling programs reveal that many graduates are promoted to supervisory/management positions as quickly as two years after graduation.

Application Requirements

Application Deadline

The preferred deadline is March 31. After this date, admissions will be rolling on a space available basis through July 1.  All supporting documents must be received by the deadlines for the application to be reviewed for admission. 

Selection of students for the program is made on the basis of their ability, experience, and commitment to the field of rehabilitation. A Bachelor’s Degree (BA/BS) in a related field is required. Applicants who meet the minimum requirements are interviewed by a faculty member via phone.

All students are accepted for a fall start ONLY. 

Applicants must submit:

  • An online application
  • A $50 non-refundable application fee, submitted electronically through UB's ePayment system
  • A letter stating why the applicant wants to become a rehabilitation counselor
  • At least three (3) letters of reference regarding the applicant's previous academic work and any rehabilitation or counseling related experience (letters from faculty who have had the student in courses are preferred). Your recommenders will receive an electronic request to provide a recommendation letter after you "formally submit" your application.
  • Transcripts of all previous undergraduate academic work. Applicants who are currently at UB or have studied at or graduated from UB do not need to request an official UB transcript. GSE's Office of Admissions can download and print the transcript.
  • GRE test scores are NOT required. If you have already taken the GRE please arrange to have the test scores sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions and Student Services. The institution code is 2925. The department code is 2005.

Former/Maiden Name: The Graduate School of Education must be made aware if applicants have ever changed their name.  If this is the case, be sure to ask the institution sending your transcripts to indicate your current name and any former or maiden names.

Supporting Documentation

All supporting documents must be uploaded and attached to your online application. This includes unofficial copies of your transcripts and any other documents required for review.


Recommendation Letters:

If your program requires letters of recommendation, you will be asked to provide contact information about each individual providing a recommendation. Please note that your recommenders will receive the electronic request to provide a recommendation letter only after you "formally submit" the application.

Program Requirements

The Online Rehabilitation Counseling master’s degree program is delivered part-time, completely online, and can be completed in less than three years. Students take two courses per semester (fall, spring, and summer) for a total of 48 credit hours.

Required Courses/Schedule

Fall Year 1

  • CEP 649 Rehabilitation Foundations (3 credits)
  • CEP 653 Foundations of Counseling Theory (3 credits)

Spring Year 1

  • CEP 680 Career Development (3 credits)
  • CEP 596 Field Work and Counseling Techniques* (3 credits)

Summer Year 1

  • CEP 532 Understanding Statistical Research (3 credits)
  • CEP 683 Vocational Placement* (3 credits)

Fall Year 2

  • CEP 503 Tests and Measurement (3 credits)
  • CEP 597 Counseling Practicum (150 contact hours; 4 credits)*

Spring Year 2

  • CEP 661 Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability (3 credits)
  • CEP 658 Introduction to Group Work* (4 credits)

Summer Year 2

  • CEP 615 Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling* (3 credits)
  • CEP 700 Independent Study: Portfolio Development** (1 credit)

Fall Year 3

  • CEP 600 Internship (300 contact hours; 6 credits)***
  • CRC Exam or Comprehensive Exam (required but no credits)

Spring Year 3

  • CEP 600 Internship (300 contact hours; 6 credits)***

Total Program Credits = 48 (we encourage students to take more elective credits beyond the required 48).

*Please note: CEP 596, CEP 597 and CEP 600 are synchronous courses with a designated weekly day and time for meeting via web-based video conferencing.  Various times may be available, but attendance is required. Students may also need to arrange synchronous meetings or presentations in CEP 683, CEP 658 and CEP 615.

**Depending on chosen site and other considerations, students may complete the internship in the fall by registering for 12 credit hours and completing 600 contact hours.

Continuous Registration
Students must maintain continuous registration while in the program and must complete the program within four years of the date of matriculation. Check the Rehabilitation Counseling Student Handbook for detailed information on requesting a leave of absence or petitioning for an extension.

Professionally Relevant Behavior and Ethics
It is expected that students will behave at acceptable levels in their coursework as well as in the various pre-professional activities in which they are engaged. The program and department will review student performance on a regular basis. For additional information, see detailed descriptions in the Rehabilitation Counseling Student Handbook.

Student Handbook

This handbook is a reference guide to the Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University at Buffalo-SUNY. It includes university and departmental information and regulations, academic and clinical training requirements, and resources available to the student. Students are responsible to know the information and comply with the standards contained in the handbook. Download the student handbook to become more familiar with the program.

Program Objectives

The curriculum objectives of the Rehabilitation Counseling program are formulated on the basis of ten core areas:

  1. Professional identity
  2. Social and cultural diversity
  3. Human growth and development
  4. Employment and career development
  5. Counseling and consultation
  6. Group work
  7. Assessment
  8. Research and program evaluation
  9. Medical, functional, and environmental aspects of disability
  10. Rehabilitation services and resources.

The rehabilitation counseling objectives reflect CORE (Council on Rehabilitation Education) criteria, as well as the conviction of the faculty to provide rehabilitation counseling students with a skill set that is effective, based on sound science, and keeps the needs of consumers at the forefront of professional practice.


Faculty Name/Title

Contact Information


David Burganowski, Ph.D., CRC

Program Director

Research Associate Professor



Kayte Conroy, Ph.D., LMHC, CRC

Clinical Assistant Professor


Timothy Janikowski, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


Scott Sabella, Ph.D., CRC

Assistant Professor


Chia-Chiang Wang, Ph.D., CRC

Assistant Professor


Omayra Munoz, Ph.D., CRC

Clinical Coordinator (part-time)



Louis Altman, J.D., CRC

Diane Fernandez, LMHC, CRC


Denise Riley, Ph.D., CRC


Melody Schobert, Ph.D.

Daniel Ventura, Ph.D., CRC


Caitlin Vigliotti, M.A.

Christine Farrow, Ph.D.

Shannon Carlin-Menter, Ph.D.

Learn More

The Rehabilitation Counseling M.S. program is just one of many programs in the Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo. This online program is only for individuals residing a minimum of 75 miles or more from campus.  If you live within the Buffalo area and are not eligible to participate in the online program, please visit the Rehabilitation Counseling on campus program for more information.

University Computing Standards

All students are required to have access to an adequately equipped computer that meets the University computing standards as well as daily access to a reliable broadband  connection (i.e., DSL or cable). Students are also expected to have basic computer competency before beginning their course work.

Our master's program in rehabilitation counseling is fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and the Council for Accreditation of Related Educational Programs (CACREP), making students eligible to take the Certified Rehabiliation Counselor (CRC) examinations.

On July 1, 2017, CACREP assumed responsibility for carrying out the mission and vision of CORE. All graduate programs that were formerly accredited by CORE are now accredited by CACREP.