Entering the Voc Rehab Counselor Field with a BSW degree, Is it possible?

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Tom Langkau in Tampa, Florida

80 months ago

That is how I got started. I put some time in the local sheltered workshop. I started as a floor worker teaching work skills, then a vocational counselor etc etc. From the time I described until I got my first job as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor was about 6 years. I now work at the Veterans Adminsitration as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist. I have have also worked in TBI cases and Workers Compensation Rehabiltation (where the money is). Never did get my Masters Degree in anything...too busy and it never held me back. My motivation and drive always kept me going further.

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Frankie in Toms River, New Jersey

80 months ago

Tom Langkau in Tampa, Florida said: That is how I got started. I put some time in the local sheltered workshop. I started as a floor worker teaching work skills, then a vocational counselor etc etc. From the time I described until I got my first job as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor was about 6 years. I now work at the Veterans Adminsitration as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist. I have have also worked in TBI cases and Workers Compensation Rehabiltation (where the money is). Never did get my Masters Degree in anything...too "busy and it never held me back. My motivation and drive always kept me going further.

Good day Tom, thanks for your insight, its been most helpful. One question please, when you describe working at a local sheltered workshop where you taught "work skills", by Work Skills do you mean to say you've taught Work Adjustment Training Skills? I ask this question because I'm currently conducting research in my state of NJ where Easter Seals Employment Services’ offers to their clients', work adjustment training, as well as a list other additional services & I plan to actively submit my resume, & cover letter advocating a position for myself, only I'm not too sure whether Work Adjustment Skills is equivalent to what you've described as 'Teaching work skills'. Can you clarify for me? Easter Seals is NOT currently seeking a need for a SW to teach however, its like the lottery saying, "You Never Know" - so I'm advocating for myself. What are your thoughts?

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Tom L in Winter Park, Florida

80 months ago

Work Skills can mean a variety of things. In those days, we had people do a variety of sheltered work activity from our wood working shop...making proprietary items, stuffing envelopes, etc etc and then we moved into placing people into competitive work sites after teaching them interviewing skills and job search and job keeping skills. A lot of those things are taught at work sites these days. Also, remember that the philosophy of when and where these are taught has changed drastically in the last 30 years. Places like Easter Seals are looking for case managers to monitor and document progress along with coordinate the services that these individuals get: Case coordination is the big term

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Gail in Shreveport, Louisiana

74 months ago

Thanks for the information. I have a BSW and I am having a hard time filling my position as a social worker. I graduated in 2006 from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas,but my foundation came from Southern University in New Orleans, LA. I came to Shreveport ,LA hoping to get a job. I am working on getting a job as a social worker. I am very interested in becoming a Vocational Rehabitaton Counselor. This was very good info

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Gail in Shreveport, Louisiana

74 months ago

Frankie in Toms River, New Jersey said: Is it possible for an individual holding a BSW degree (social work degree) to be hired as a vocational rehabilitation counselor in order to get the much needed work experience prior to obtaining a Masters' degree?
If so, where should the job search begin?

Thank you for the info I will look into being hired as a vocational rehabilitation counselor so I can go for the masters degree. Lady G

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CJ in Bentonville, Arkansas

73 months ago

Gail in Shreveport, Louisiana said: Thanks for the information. I have a BSW and I am having a hard time filling my position as a social worker. I graduated in 2006 from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas,but my foundation came from Southern University in New Orleans, LA. I came to Shreveport ,LA hoping to get a job. I am working on getting a job as a social worker. I am very interested in becoming a Vocational Rehabitaton Counselor. This was very good info

Gail, congrats on your BSW. I just graduated with my Master's in Voc Rehab Counseling from the UARK (Fayetteville, AR) and passed the CRC exam. Having interned at the Veteran's Administration helped me land a job as a Voc Rehab Coordinator with a local agency. I actually thought social workers were in great deman, at least in Arkansas. Good Luck!

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CJ in Bentonville, Arkansas

73 months ago

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Zuri in West Monroe, Louisiana

71 months ago

Gail in Shreveport, Louisiana said: Thanks for the information. I have a BSW and I am having a hard time filling my position as a social worker. I graduated in 2006 from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas,but my foundation came from Southern University in New Orleans, LA. I came to Shreveport ,LA hoping to get a job. I am working on getting a job as a social worker. I am very interested in becoming a Vocational Rehabitaton Counselor. This was very good info

Actually I'm a VRC with VA too. You can actually get a fellowship to get the MS in VR. UA Little Rock, Southern U and quite a few school have a program called a RSA Fellowship. Pay for almost a full ride! No joke. GOD sent me thru this I'm working in the field now with the fellowship. I graduate from Auburn U...

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Cynthia Lane--Shreveport, LA. in Jonesboro, Louisiana

71 months ago

Hi Tom,
I read your info online and I am writing to you because you are a VA Vocational Counselor. I am the Administrator for a VA approved ART Course that teaches Veterans a new career in Computer Graphics, screenprinting, sign painting for businessess and residential, airbrushing targeted towards painting vehicles ( a high in-demand job) all over the country and painting on buildings/murals and residential/murals, all in high demand and very lucrative bussiness'. I would like for you and other Voca Counselors to look over our website to review the info and pass along to the Vets that may be interested in this GI Bill approved course that will cover the entire costs of 9-12 month course, plus supplies and tools. Our website address: www.siglanesmedia.com and www.airart.com for other references.(Shreveport LA.). The VA Facility Code is # 2-0-7803-18 and the course is an online via live video conference instructions and follow along lessons. Thank you for your time and please share this info with the Vets that come to you for a career change and or therapy.
Thank you,
Cynthia Lane
Office Administrator

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R.A Jones in Monroe, Louisiana

68 months ago

I am thinking of transfering my credits from my Counseling program and getting into my MSW degree. It just seems having a MSW is more marketable especially at the state and federal levels. My goal is to work for federal agency one day. But I have work experience in vocational rehab and really liked it. I enjoyed working with individuals whom have disabilities. Once i recieve my degree in as a MSW i want to go back get a PhD in Rehab Counseling. I saw that Zuri of West Monroe mentioned a fellowship and i wanted to know how i would go about doing that?

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MrsBosJac in Little Rock, Arkansas

64 months ago

CJ in Bentonville, Arkansas said: Gail, congrats on your BSW. I just graduated with my Master's in Voc Rehab Counseling from the UARK (Fayetteville, AR) and passed the CRC exam. Having interned at the Veteran's Administration helped me land a job as a Voc Rehab Coordinator with a local agency. I actually thought social workers were in great deman, at least in Arkansas. Good Luck!

Can you please tell me how you were able to do your internship at the VA? I am in Little Rock, AR and I have no idea who to ask.

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cjackson in Springdale, Arkansas

64 months ago

Hi, I have been interested in working at the VA for several years and when I was searching around for intern sites, the VA had just recently hired two VR Counselors and I contacted them. I was their first intern and set the pace for others behind me. However, it was unpaid. I have heard that there are programs in Little Rock for VR student. I would suggest that you try and contact their VR counsleors or the HR department. You might ask if they have a CWT program for veterans and if so, you can speak with the VR counselor or Employment Specialist.

I hope this was helpful.

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cjackson in Fayetteville, Arkansas

64 months ago

MrsBosJac in Little Rock, Arkansas said: Can you please tell me how you were able to do your internship at the VA? I am in Little Rock, AR and I have no idea who to ask.

Hi, I have been interested in working at the VA for several years and when I was searching around for intern sites, the VA had just recently hired two VR Counselors and I contacted them. I was their first intern and set the pace for others behind me. However, it was unpaid. I have heard that there are programs in Little Rock for VR student. I would suggest that you try and contact their VR counsleors or the HR department. You might ask if they have a CWT program for veterans and if so, you can speak with the VR counselor or Employment Specialist.

I hope this was helpful.

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dreambig in Little Rock, Arkansas

63 months ago

Hey, Tom

Thanks for your comments.

I presently as a VR counselor for the State, but trying to break into the federal system. I recently received a NORs for a federal VR counselor job, just curious as to how to prepare for the interview if I get called for one.

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

dreambig

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dreambig in Glenwood, Georgia

63 months ago

dreambig in Little Rock, Arkansas said: Hey, Tom

Thanks for your comments.

I presently as a VR counselor for the State, but trying to break into the federal system. I recently received a NORs for a federal VR counselor job, just curious as to how to prepare for the interview if I get called for one.

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

dreambig

I need some more info before I can respond. What agency of the federal gov't did you apply to? Also, I am not sure what a NORs is or means?
Please reply and I will assist you as much as possible.

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dreambig in Little Rock, Arkansas

63 months ago

dreambig in Glenwood, Georgia said: I need some more info before I can respond. What agency of the federal gov't did you apply to? Also, I am not sure what a NORs is or means?
Please reply and I will assist you as much as possible.

Thanks for your response!

It was with the VA-Veterans Benefits Administration in Georgia.

NORs is Notice of Results:this is a notice to inform applicants of their eligibility status; my letter stated that I was eligible for the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor position.

I believe the next step would be an interview if I am selected, but I hear the interviews are really tough.

Hope this helps,

Thanks!

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dreambig in Glenwood, Georgia

63 months ago

I would say that they are very practical in terms of Vocational Rehabilitation processes. They will ask you about vocational case mangement procedures and formal processes. Think about ways to handle vocational case management in the federal processes. Very formal, very monitary based and knowledge of monitary case management is important. There is a lot of emphasis on getting veterans in and thru the VA Chapter-31 benefit process. Possible question might be about your ability to handle a large caseload?

Has any other VA Voc Counselors responded to this question? There may be someone in this group who knows the VBA better than I. Good-Luck! See if you can find a VBA employed Voc Rehab Cnslr!

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dreambig in Little Rock, Arkansas

63 months ago

Thanks for your feedback!

I will definitely keep these pointers in mind.

Actually, none of the others has responded... maybe they will later.

Thanks again!

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MrsBosJac in Little Rock, Arkansas

63 months ago

It is I am just getting back around to checking this website. I have been emailing. I suppose it is time for me to start calling people. Thank you so much for your help.

cjackson in Springdale, Arkansas said: Hi, I have been interested in working at the VA for several years and when I was searching around for intern sites, the VA had just recently hired two VR Counselors and I contacted them. I was their first intern and set the pace for others behind me. However, it was unpaid. I have heard that there are programs in Little Rock for VR student. I would suggest that you try and contact their VR counsleors or the HR department. You might ask if they have a CWT program for veterans and if so, you can speak with the VR counselor or Employment Specialist.

I hope this was helpful.

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dreambig in Little Rock, Arkansas

63 months ago

MrsBosJac in Little Rock, Arkansas said: It is I am just getting back around to checking this website. I have been emailing. I suppose it is time for me to start calling people. Thank you so much for your help.

Have you tried the State VR agencies for internships ?

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Tom in Orlando, Florida

63 months ago

The VA continues it's rapid growth & need for trained and qualified Voc. Rehab. Counselors. There simply are not enough qualified people out there. The same is true for MSW/LCSW & psychologists. The need is based upon the current "War on Terrorism" & is putting a huge demand on schools to increase the number of graduates in those programs. GS-11 (starting for Voc Rehab & MSW's) is about $55k yr. Licensed psychologists (GS 12/13) is about $70k yr. Last year, the Orlando VA hired approx 14 new psychologist and as many MSW/LCSW types and this coming year, the push will be Voc. Rehab staff.
P.S. Every VA medical facility (hospitals and most larger clinics) have internship coordinators. Call their administrative office and ask who that person is!

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MsBosjac in Warren, Arkansas

63 months ago

Never thought of that but I will try tomorrow. I know Voc Rehab Counselors are needed but they are making it very difficult

Tom in Orlando, Florida said: The VA continues it's rapid growth & need for trained and qualified Voc. Rehab. Counselors. There simply are not enough qualified people out there. The same is true for MSW/LCSW & psychologists. The need is based upon the current "War on Terrorism" & is putting a huge demand on schools to increase the number of graduates in those programs. GS-11 (starting for Voc Rehab & MSW's) is about $55k yr. Licensed psychologists (GS 12/13) is about $70k yr. Last year, the Orlando VA hired approx 14 new psychologist and as many MSW/LCSW types and this coming year, the push will be Voc. Rehab staff.
P.S. Every VA medical facility (hospitals and most larger clinics) have internship coordinators. Call their administrative office and ask who that person is!

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MsBosjac in Warren, Arkansas

63 months ago

That is my back up plan. Already, approved. I just really wanted to do the VA. I guess it was wishful thinking.

dreambig in Little Rock, Arkansas said: Have you tried the State VR agencies for internships ?

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dreambig in Marion, Arkansas

63 months ago

MsBosjac in Warren, Arkansas said: That is my back up plan. Already, approved. I just really wanted to do the VA. I guess it was wishful thinking.

Just hang in there!

I have been trying to land a federal job for the past year and it hadn't happen for just yet. At least the experience will be good and if you do land a fed job they will look at your experience in lieu of your education. If you have 1 year of vocational rehab counseling experience..you would qualify for a higher pay grade, according to the (VR Counselor) federal job standards.

Are you interning with the State?

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Roger in Edison, New Jersey

63 months ago

In most states it has now become mandatory to get a Masters degree in Rehabilitation, even the federal jobs seem to require that. I had put in 3 years as a vocational rehabilitation counselor 3 years ago with the state of NJ. I since resigned my post due to compelling family reasons. When I did come back, even with tremendous support from my ex-superiors (at the DVRS) the strict rules would not allow for me to get back. So in answer to all your questions... you have to get a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling or a Masters in Counseling... they dont want social workers for this position. (I am an MSW, by the way)

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mrshaik in Baker, Louisiana

62 months ago

I am (VR counselor )2.nd year graduate student at SU Univ. Baton Rouge,LA.

It is a RSA sponsered program which pays for tuition and stipend, with commitment to work in the field of Rehab. for 4 years(2 for each year of study)
I am also ARRT Rt.(R)(MR)specilized in all type of Imaging in Radiology.
I am also looking for an internship that can help me secure a job as VR counselor . An internship (with pay if possible) in case management will be a good start. I am looking for any agency that need help in case mangement load, so i can get the required 600 hrs of internship.
Your help is greatly appriciated.

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tyssissippi in Sacramento, California

62 months ago

What can you do with a BSW? If a person wants to be in social work position,is the luck primarily with those who have an MSW? Also, I heard vocational Rehabilitation counseling is not so much in demand anymore? Is that true? Thanks to anyone w/ info.

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Layla in South Dakota

59 months ago

Tom Langkau in Tampa, Florida said: That is how I got started. I put some time in the local sheltered workshop. I started as a floor worker teaching work skills, then a vocational counselor etc etc. From the time I described until I got my first job as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor was about 6 years. I now work at the Veterans Adminsitration as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist. I have have also worked in TBI cases and Workers Compensation Rehabiltation (where the money is). Never did get my Masters Degree in anything...too busy and it never held me back. My motivation and drive always kept me going further.

Hi Tom Just noticed this post. I was wondering if you are still on the forum. I am an RC from Australia living in USA and want to do the work here. Whilst I have alot of experience and accreditation, I am from a different system and wonder how I could get into the work over here???

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