Rehabilitation Counselor Degree Type as a Predictor of Client Outcomes: A Comparison of Quantity Versus Quality in Closure Rates


Closure rates (CR) of counselors with a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling (MRC) and master’s degrees in related disciplines (RM) were compared. High-quality closure rates (HQCR) were also compared, defined as CR for full-time jobs that paid a living wage. Analyses examined all counselors and, separately, only those with 6 or fewer years of experience. Last, analyses examined if disability severity predicts HQCR. Eighty-nine counselors completed a survey assessing their educational background. These data were linked to outcomes of 13,460 clients. CR of MRC and RM counselors did not differ. However, MRC counselors had higher HQCR (p =.034), higher living-wage closure rate (LWCR; p =.025), and almost higher full-time job closure rate (FTCR; p =.066). MRC-RM comparisons using only counselors with 6 or fewer years of experience were also significant (all ps <.05) and, importantly, showed even stronger effects. Also, although clients with most-severe disabilities had lower CR (p =.029), they had much lower HQCR, LWCR, and FTCR (all ps <.001). Although CR does not differ between MRC and RM counselors, MRC counselors are more likely to secure high-quality jobs for clients. Also, clients with most-severe disabilities are more likely to be placed in lower quality jobs. Implications for hiring rehabilitation counselors are discussed.

Publication Title

Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin