Having a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling Leads to Higher Closure Rates Among Persons With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities From the Outcome-Based Perspective


This study compared closure rates (CR) and high-quality closure rates (HQCR) among persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) between counselors with a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling (MRC) and those with a master's degree of related disciplines (RM). Survey data were collected from 152 counselors in four states, and their IDD clients from 2014 to 2017 were analyzed (n = 5,186). The rate differences were calculated based on multilevel logistic regression with counselors as the cluster level. The overall CR was slightly higher among counselors with MRC than those with RM (32.9% vs. 25.3%, p = .09) but significantly higher when limited to clients with less severe disabilities (35.1% in MRC vs. 25.0% in RM, p = .03). Furthermore, the differences were more pronounced in HQCR (23.5% in MRC vs. 18.2% in RM, p = .03 in all clients, and 30.7% in MRC vs. 22.5% in RM, p = .01 in clients with less severe disabilities). The difference in CR for full-time jobs (30+ hours/week) was also significant (22.0% in MRC vs. 16.0% in RM, p = .007). The counselors with MRC were more likely to be prepared for managing IDD clients than those with RM. The main advantages of MRC in knowledge domains included medical and psychological knowledge, career development and job placement, and disability management. Therefore, master-level education in rehabilitation counseling could provide more relevant training and yield better closure rates in IDD clients than other disciplines.

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling