Q: Will the department pick my internship site and set it up for me?
A: Choice of possible sites is up to the student, in consultation with the clinical coordinator/faculty supervisor. After this meeting, the student will have an opportunity to interview at a number of potential sites, just as if he or she were interviewing for a job. It is up to the student to decide which site will offer the best “fit” for him or her. The clinical coordinator/faculty supervisor is available for consultation if the student needs additional input. Suggestions for successful interviews: Take an updated resume with you, and dress professionally and appropriately.
Q: I wanted to use my job as my internship site. Why can’t I?
A: Students invest a great deal of time, energy and money in their graduate education. In order for them to receive “their money’s worth,” they need to have the best possible experiences in order to develop professionally. Therefore, students are allowed to use their work site only in certain special instances, and always with the stipulation that there be new learning. An internship is the capstone of graduate education, designed to put into practice what has been learned from class work while in a challenging setting. Usually a job does not fit this criterion.
Q: Where is the department located?
A: The Department of Rehabilitation Counseling is located on the third floor of Theater Row, at 730 East Broad Street, on the VCU Medical Center Campus.
Q: Will I be able to find a well-paying job in the area?
A: Our graduates are qualified for a wide range of jobs in vocational rehabilitation, mental health, private rehabilitation, private industry, independent living and health care settings, among others, and such jobs are commonly available in the Richmond area. There currently is an increase in the demand for alumni of our program, in part because of recent federal legislation that mandates “qualified rehabilitation counselors” must be hired for the state vocational rehabilitation system. A master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling is the standard qualification for these positions. Personnel projections for state agencies, as well as for other employers of our graduates, show that a large percentage of the workforce is approaching retirement age. That is good news — not only for a steady supply of new job openings, but also for the opportunities for advancement afforded to alumni interested in future administrative positions. Pay is comparable to other human services fields, but ranges widely. For enthusiastic personalities that thrive under pressure, entrepreneurial opportunities and expert-witness work in court can prove very lucrative. At the other extreme, some people who value making a difference in this world more than anything work for volunteer-like wages. Most of our alumni fall between those extremes, earning middle-class incomes.