Graduate Specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling - NIU - Rehabilitation Services and Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation Services and Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation Services & Rehabilitation Counseling
323 Wirtz Hall, DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: (815) 753-1484

Graduate Study in Rehabilitation Counseling

Communicative Disorders

The specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling through the Communicative Disorders (M.A.) emphasizes the development of skills and knowledge in three areas: counseling, rehabilitation, and disabilities. The number of master's degree students in the program varies, but generally is fewer than 20 at any given time. This allows for small classes and individual supervision of counseling experiences. An array of elective courses is available through other NIU departments allowing students to pursue special interests. These include family therapy, early intervention services, school-related counseling, and community mental health.

A thesis option is available for students interested in completing original investigations.

Graduates are employed in priority rehabilitation and worker’s compensation fields, independent living services, job development/placement services, student disability services, state vocational rehabilitation counseling programs, Veteran’s vocational rehabilitation, transition from school to work programs, mental health programs, and vocational evaluation services.

Please know that the Rehabilitation Counseling program is accepting applications for the Fall 2016 semester. You must apply to the Graduate School by February 1, 2016.

Beginning with the September 1, 2015 application deadline, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) will no longer be required for admission to the program. Contact Dr. Amanda McCarthy at or 815-753-1893 for assistance with completing the GRE waiver form. 

Program Outcomes

The Rehabilitation Counseling program at Northern Illinois University is fully accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) through August 2021. The program is designed as a full-time program, accepting students in the fall and spring semesters. There are options, however, to assist a student in designing a part-time program.

The Rehabilitation Counseling program typically has a total of 16 full-time students.  There are three full-time, tenure track faculty and one clinical faculty member, all of whom teach the CORE accredited curriculum and provide supervision during clinical education. The faculty to student ratio is no more than 1:4.

Student enrollment and graduation numbers for the past three academic years (2012 -2015):

Semester New Enrollees Graduates
2012 Spring 1 11
2012 Summer 0 4
2012 Fall 6 0
2013 Spring 1 12
2013 Summer 0 1
2013 Fall 7 1
2014 Spring 3 8
2014 Summer 0 1
2014 Fall 5 0
2015 Spring 0 7
2015 Summer 0 1
2015 Fall 9 0

The average time necessary to complete all degree requirements is approximately 22 months and the estimated cost of tuition and fees of attendance is $13,929 per year. The program does not currently have any specific scholarship funds available.

The employment rate within six months of graduation for our alumni is over 95% with many students securing employment while on internship. Graduates are employed in a variety of locations such as centers for independent living, community rehabilitation providers, substance abuse treatment centers, university disability services, and state vocational rehabilitation.

Second-year students must take the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination to fulfill the program's comprehensive examination requirement. Graduates with the CRC credential are then eligible to apply for the Licensed Professional Counselor credential within the state of Illinois because the state accepts the CRC examination as a qualifying professional counselor licensure exam.  28% of graduates obtained a license as a professional counselor for the time period from 2012 - 2015.  Of those graduating, 77% of students attempted and passed the Certified Rehabilitation counselor (CRC) exam from 2012 - 2015 and 100% of graduates passed the comprehensive examination that covers content from the program's CORE-accredited curriculum.

The master's degree program in Rehabilitation Counseling is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) enabling graduates to apply for credentials as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC – IL).


In addition to tuition costs, some rehabilitation counseling courses (i.e., practicum, internship) require students to pay course fees to cover course related expenses. Our on-campus counseling skills lab used in conjunction with our practicum courses is located in Wirtz 314. The specific classes and costs include:

  • AHRC 686 (Practicum): $11.50
  • AHRC 690 (Advanced Practicum): $20.00
  • AHRC 694 (Internship): $50.00

By the end of their program at NIU, graduate students in rehabilitation counseling are required to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam. For more information on the CRC exam, students should visit the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) website.

Additionally, graduating students may want to pursue the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential. For more information on obtaining the LPC credential, students should visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's website.