Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors Essay

1123 words - 4 pages

The state rehabilitation agency remains one of the largest places of employment for rehabilitation counselors. Vocational rehabilitation counselors are expected to serve persons with disabilities effectively by retaining, maintaining, or obtaining jobs or careers that are compatible with the consumers’ interests and abilities. Independent living rehabilitation counselors working with consumers are expected to provide services that will allow them to become more independent. Job burnout and job dissatisfaction are two factors that rehabilitation counselors experience while on the job. Previous research has shown that employees in the helping profession tend to experience a tremendous amount of burnout and job dissatisfaction. Counselors work in a distinctive work environment that involves demanding roles which can lead them experiencing burnout (Brown & Wallace, 2004). State rehabilitation agencies must ensure that job satisfaction remains high in order to retain counselors (Andrew, Faubion, & Palmer, 2002). One important factor that can help retain counselors in state rehabilitation agencies is by increasing extrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards may include the work environment, co-workers, job security, and opportunities for professional development (Andrew et.al, 2002).
Like many agencies, state rehabilitation agencies experience a number of shortages of qualified rehabilitation counselors. Lustig and Strauser (2009) indicates that a national study of the state-federal VR agencies reported a 13% turnover rate and 41% of rehabilitation counselors indicated that they would leave their position within the next 5 years . They go on to say that approximately 42% of rehabilitation counseling graduates enter employment with state-federal agencies which is below the current replacement needs. For example, according to Lustig and Strauser (2009) (as cited by Chan, 2003) “in 2002 a survey revealed the replacement need for rehabilitation counselors was approximately 1,200 and the number entering employment with state-federal agencies was 300 (p.180).”
Why do rehabilitation counselors continue to work in state-federal rehabilitation agencies? A study conducted among Kentucky counselors revealed areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with being employed in a state-federal agency. Areas of satisfaction included the desire to help people achieve self-sufficiency and employment and areas of dissatisfaction included handling large caseloads, pressure to meet rehabilitation goals, lessen possibility for promotion, and managing state-federal laws (Lustig & Strauser, 2009). Another critical factor that affects the number of rehabilitation counselors working in the state-federal agency is salary. Obrien and Graham (2009) indicated a study conducted by the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation revealed a national average wage of $34,310. A survey among conducted by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor...

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