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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 353K
Category: Social Services

Class Series Concept

The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor series (VRC) provides professional counseling, guidance and other vocational rehabilitation services to clients with substantial disability barriers to employment who require those services to achieve and/or maintain employment. Vocational rehabilitation services are provided according to federal requirements of the Rehabilitation Act which is designated as a core program within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) along with other core programs that include adult and youth service provided by the Department of Social and Health Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department of Services for the Blind, Employment Security Department, WorkSource, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Adult Basic Education, and various other federally funded workforce development programs. The WIOA requires integrated service delivery and co-enrollment of mutually eligible clients among core programs.


In an in-training capacity, provides professional vocational rehabilitation services to a small caseload of clients with multiple disabilities. Develop individualized plans and funds for employment. Perform all work under the guidance of a VRC4 and the direct supervision of a Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This is an in-training classification designed to provide guidelines, training opportunities, and direct work experience through a structured in-training program. Incumbents are required to attend and complete an extensive structured training program. As part of the training program, under direct supervision, incumbents are assigned a small caseload of clients and are guided by the VRC Supervisor and/or a VRC4 in the integration of vocational rehabilitation service delivery with other core programs within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) that co-enroll the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) clients in their services.

Typical Work

Under direct supervision, provides caseload management and direct delivery on full range of vocational rehabilitation service functions such as: client evaluation, counseling, and guidance, labor market analysis, employment goal setting, job search and placement, and job retention; 

Determines client eligibility for DVR services by obtaining and analyzing relevant medical information, identifying the disability-related barriers to employment that require VR services, and, when necessary, conducting Trial Work Experience, to determine if an individual’s disability is too significant to achieve an employment outcome; 

Provides vocational rehabilitation counseling to support, guide and foster clients’ insight and understanding of their strengths, capabilities and disability-related barriers to employment, promote their self-reliance and informed choice, and assist in identifying the steps and VR services required to achieve a competitive employment outcome;

Arranges and interprets results of diagnostic testing and other vocational rehabilitation assessment tools; 

Conducts a comprehensive assessment of each client’s needs for vocational rehabilitation services, including 1) their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, and interests; 2) their disability-related barriers to employment; and 3) the labor market projections and suitability of their desired employment goal;

Obtains a benefits analysis report and interprets the results to assist and counsel clients receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income to understand how earned income from employment will affect their benefits and choice of an employment goal; 

Assists clients in developing and implementing a written individualized plan for employment based on their active participation and informed choice, identifying the client’s employment goal along with the steps, timelines and vocational rehabilitation services required to eliminate or reduce the individual’s disability-related barriers to achieving an employment outcome; 

Approves each client’s individualized plan for employment, and revises or amends the plan when needed; 

Manages and spends an allotment of case service funds to authorize and pay for vocational rehabilitation services required by clients; 

Assesses and supports client’s progress throughout rehabilitation process and addresses any newly identified disabilities or barriers to employment; 

Closes cases when clients achieve employment or become ineligible for DVR service, are no longer available or participating in DVR services or request closure; 

Assists clients and employers with post-employment services and provides employers with necessary information regarding reasonable accommodations; 

Participates in statewide, regional, and unit staff meetings, classes, workshops, agency training opportunities, professional workshops, and conferences; 

Performs other related work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: vocational rehabilitation, independent living, assistive technology, secondary and post-secondary education, and other federal and state requirements of the Rehabilitation Act as well as other core programs within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; community resources, private and public sector employer expectations and hiring practices; current labor market information and trends; disability-specific  agencies and resources; appropriate vocational rehabilitation counseling methods and practices; medical, psychological and social aspects of disability; effect of earned income on disability benefits. 

Ability to: assist clients with all types of disabilities to develop and carry out feasible individualized plans for employment; gain confidence and cooperation of clients; write and speak effectively; establish and maintain effective working relationships.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

A Bachelor’s degree in a field of study reasonably related to vocational rehabilitation, to indicate a level of competency and skill demonstrating basic preparation in a field of study such as vocational rehabilitation counseling, social work, psychology, disability studies, business administration, human resources, special education, supported employment, customized employment, economics, or another field that reasonably prepares individuals to work with consumers and employers; and  

At least 1 year paid or unpaid experience, consisting of:  

   a)    direct work with individuals with disabilities in a setting such as an independent living center;

   b)    direct service or advocacy activities that provide such individual with experience and skills in working with individuals with disabilities; or

   c)     direct experience as an employer, as a small business owner or operator, or in self-employment, or other experience in human resources, recruitment, or experience in supervising employees, training, or other activities that provide experience in competitive integrated employment environments.

(Incumbents must be currently accepted or enrolled in an accredited graduate school to obtain one of the Master’s degrees specified below). Upon obtaining one of these degrees or certification as a Rehabilitation Counselor by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC), the VRC1 will promote to a VRC2 based on successful completion of the VRC1 Training Plan, or the VRC1 will promote directly to a VRC 3 if they have 3 years’ qualifying experience. 


A Master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, psychology, counseling, or a field related to vocational rehabilitation (such as one that promotes the physical, psychosocial, or vocational well-being of individuals with disabilities),* 

The following Master’s degrees will qualify: 

1.  Rehabilitation Counseling

2.  Psychology with an emphasis/major concentration of coursework in one of the following areas:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • School Psychology

3.  Social Work

4.  Marriage and Family Therapy

5.  Marriage, Family and Child Counseling

6.  Counseling, regardless of emphasis

7.  Education with an emphasis/major concentration of coursework in one of the following areas:

  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Special Education
  • Educational Counseling
  • Counseling and Guidance
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Community Counseling
  • School Counseling

8.  Vocational Evaluation


A Master’s degree with at least 18 quarter or 12 semester credit hours specified as follows:

1.  ONE graduate course with a primary focus on the Theories and Techniques of Counseling, and  

2.  THREE graduate courses, each with a primary focus on one of the following areas: 

   a. Occupational Information
   b. Job Development and Placement
   c. Medical Aspects of Disabilities
   d. Foundations of Rehabilitation
   e. Psychological Aspects of Disabilities
   f. Personal and Vocational Adjustment, and 

3.  TWO graduate courses, each with a primary focus on one of the following areas: 

   a. Assessment
   b. Research Methodology
   c. Vocational and Career Development
   d. Community Resources
   e. Case Management

Class Specification History

New class adopted January 14, 2000.
Revise class.  Revises minimum qualifications adopted November 9, 2001.
Revise class.  Revises title (formerly Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Intern); adopted October 1, 2003.
Revise class.  Revises class code (formerly 37082), general revision; adopted May 10, 2007, effective July 1, 2007.
Revise class.  Revises typical work, changes June 20, 2007, effective July 1, 2007.
Salary Adjustment; added class series concept; revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, typical work, knowledge and abilities, desirable qualifications; adopted June 30, 2017; effective July 1, 2017.