"The master of science in rehabilitation counseling is designed to prepare students to assist persons with physical, mental, development, cognitive and emotional disabilities to achieve their personal, career and independent living goals," said Dr. Irmo Marini, associate professor and graduate program coordinator. "We are very pleased with the overall caliber and diversity of field experience of our graduate students," he said.
Dr. Marini reported that enrollment in the program, now in its second year, has more than doubled — well beyond initial projections — as many students realize the need for master’s-level trained counselors specializing in working with persons with disabilities.
"The counseling process involves behavioral growth or change through self-advocacy, psychological, vocational, social and behavioral interventions," he said.
"Rehabilitation counselors will meet a growing demand for professionally trained counselors in public and private rehabilitation agencies, mental health centers, substance abuse facilities, schools and universities, private nonprofit agencies, and in industry in the Valley and statewide."
Rehabilitation counseling is a 48-semester credit hour program with a 600-hour internship component. Students with an undergraduate degree in the social sciences — psychology, social work, sociology, criminology — and those in their final semester of undergraduate study with fewer than 12 hours remaining and having a 2.5 grade point average are encouraged to apply.
The master of science in rehabilitation counseling program has an accelerated track designed to allow highly motivated students to complete the program in 16 months.
Prospective students also must submit a separate application for graduate admission to the Office of Admissions and Records. A recent $500,000, five year grant from the Rehabilitation Services program of the U.S. Department of Education means that the program will be able to offer a limited number of scholarships to graduate students that will include full-paid tuition and fees and a stipend of $800 per month while in the program.
There is also the potential for a paid $1,820 per month internship with the Texas Rehabilitation Commission or the Texas Commission for the Blind.
Dr. Marini reports that the program is currently preparing its application for national accreditation from the Council on Rehabilitation Education, which authorizes certification as a Rehabilitation Counselor. The program could be accredited as early as Fall 1999.
For more information on the program and an admission application, contact Dr. Marini at 956/316-7035 or call the UTPA Rehabilitative Services Program office at 956/316-7036.