Careers in Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation Psychology

Educational Requirements

The primary education requirement for Rehabilitation Psychology is a Doctorate degree in a program that is primarily psychological in nature. Most often this is accomplished through a program approved by the American Psychological Association. These doctoral programs may have emphasis in rehabilitation, behavioral medicine/health psychology, or neuropsychology. Some programs provide training in these areas as sub-specialty areas in counseling or clinical psychology. The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) funds grants in the field of Rehabilitation Psychology to support pre service training programs designed to increase the number of qualified personnel providing specialized psychological and assessment services in public and private nonprofit or related rehabilitation agencies and facilities.

Certification Requirements

In terms of independent practice, Psychologists can obtain certification and licensure by the state in which one would practice. In some states, there are Master's level licensure laws that permit independent practice. Most states have a certification process for Master's level Psychologists with a requirement that they be employed and supervised by a Licensed Psychologist. In addition, many States have a provision whereby no certification or licensure is required if the individual is employed by an "exempt" agency, i.e., Hospital, Government Service Agency, University, etc. Many exempt agencies, however, may require certification and licensure as a prerequisite to employment.

Job Duties

Rehabilitation Psychologists perform psychological, neuropsychological, vocational and/or clinical evaluation of persons with disability to determine strengths and weaknesses that may affect long term personal, social, and vocational adjustment and adaptation to disability. In addition, such information may contribute to treatment, interdisciplinary planning and/or to disability determination. Counseling/Psychotherapy may also be performed to assist persons to cope with disability and daily living issues. In the academic area, university faculty positions are available and in demand. In such positions, duties involve teaching and supervision of clinical and research work by students. Independent clinical work and research may also be performed in the academic setting.

Placement Opportunities

Rehabilitation Psychologists may work in a wide variety of settings including public and private Rehabilitation Centers, Hospitals, Psychiatric or Head Injury Treatment Centers, State Institutions, Community Mental Health Centers and Academic Institutions.

Additional Information Source

American Psychological Association (APA)
750 First Street, N.E.
Washington D.C. 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5500
TDD: 202-336-6123
FAX: 202-336-5568

Last Modified: 03/02/2017