Comments from Graduates

  • Careers in "Rehabilitation" 

    Because the term "rehabilitation" is used in a wide variety of fields, it can be confusing as to what the term means in our context.  In our usage, we are specifically referring to vocational rehabilitation.  That is, assisting people with disabilities as they pursue their vocational goals.  While our historical and legislative roots are firmly embedded in vocational rehabilitation, the field has greatly expanded.  Graduates of our program may go on to provide a variety of services to people with disabilities including, but not limited to, vocational services. 

    So you can get a better idea of what opportunities are available to a person with a Bachelor's degree in Rehabilitation Services, the following are testimonials from our graduates.  As you will see, our students have pursued many varied career options. 

     

    gradutes

    Comments from Graduates

    I graduated from UMES in Fall 2005. After graduation I spent one year taking additional courses for entrance into graduate school. I did not actively seek employment until 2006 which took me less than 1 month to obtain a job. My first job was as a Community Employment Associate. This job consisted of case management, community living support, and vocational support services for individuals with developmental disabilities. I provided many services including: school system consultation, job coaching, job placement, resource coordination, team meeting coordination, IEP facilitation and IP preparation. In my time with this agency I created an interactive driver education CD which helped consumers in obtaining their driver's license. Some helpful resources that I utilized to obtain employment are my portfolio and five year plan. I began this in Dr. Faubion's Intro to Rehab course and tailored it to my needs. This tool helped me define my career path and allowed me to showcase my organizational skills and achievements to my employer. I highly recommend using this for interviews. The local newspaper was my primary resource for job seeking as well as networking with individuals in the field that could link me with potential employers.

    I am very satisfied with my choice to be a rehabilitation services major because it provided me with versatility. I am able to pursue an allied health or vocational rehabilitation career. I am currently in a dual degree program in which I will earn my Masters in Occupational Therapy and Doctorate in Physical Therapy. My background in rehabilitation provided me with a lot of knowledge relevant to the allied health field. It helped me to be comfortable with the psychosocial aspects of rehabilitation as well provide me with core knowledge of the population that I will work with. Topics such as: universal design, assistive technology, disability laws, special education services, and accommodations are all applicable to my field. As a therapist I will contribute to work hardening, workers compensation and functional capacity assessments. When I finish school I plan to integrate my undergraduate and graduate skills by participating in work ergonomics and injured worker rehabilitation. In five to ten years I see myself in a managerial position in a rehabilitation facility and to have successfully obtained my certifications and specialty training in therapy. I would like to work with soldiers with amputations and eventually go abroad to provide medical rehabilitation to those in need. My vision for myself when I began my education at UMES has remained unchanged and I have accomplished the goals that I set for myself. I advise students to begin planning for their future now. Establish a timeline in which you would like to satisfy your goals and network in the field. If students want to continue their education it is important to complete thorough research regarding the programs and career path. (I recommend www.gradschools.com and the occupational outlook handbook as resources).

     

    Joining the UMES family in 2003, I found myself completely frightened and concerned about how my life away from my friends and family would be. Fortunately, I was blessed. The absence of my friends was filled by the diverse population of students at the university, and the department of the rehabilitation, quickly became my new family.

    On May 18, 2008, I graduated from the University of Mary land Eastern Shore with a bachelor degree in rehabilitation. It was a wonderful event that I wish for everyone to experience. Because I always desired to excel in my education, I felt that it would be best for me to return to UMES to purse my master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, rather than obtaining a job.

    Being that I will be enrolled as a full time graduate student, I knew that I was interested in a job that would cater to my education and class hours. I thought that the best direction to turn to was the rehabilitation department at the university. Currently, I am a graduate assistant, and I find it to be an honorable position. I am pleased to have been awarded the opportunity of joining the department. My duties include, assisting the professors of the department with various activities that they may need assistance with, recruiting feature students, and making sure that the rehabilitation department is at its best.

    After completing my graduate program, I intend on working with an agency that I believe will adequately prep me for the opening of my own agency. In about five years, I plan to partner up with my best friend, and establish group homes for young children and teens. In addition, I also would like to own my own counseling agency, which will allow me to explore what I love to do most, counsel.

    Choosing rehabilitation as my career path is a lifetime gift that I have gifted myself. I strongly believe that being a rehabilitation counselor will not only help me in making the lives of others better, but it will assist me in improving and making better choices in my own life as well. Coming into this major, I imagined it as another route of becoming a psychologist, but now, I view it as a way to help those in need especially people with disabilities.

    To my feature rehabilitation partners, I advise you to do your best and to come into this field with your heart and desire to help people who are in need in finding solutions to improve their quality of life. I wish you all the best.

     

    I was very fortunate to have graduated from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's Rehabilitation Services Department. Throughout my college career I was privileged to have had professors that not only cared about me as a person but also cared about my career goals and academic achievements. Since my graduation in the Fall Semester of 2007, I have been blessed with people who were willing to help me with my future career goals and furthering my education. I currently work for the Calvert County Health Department as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor (Provisional). Through hard work and determination I was able to find a position within the rehabilitation field two months after my graduation. Under the supervision of my Clinical Supervisor I am responsible for assessing each of my clients through the intake process, presenting each case to the rest of the clinical staff, and making recommendations based on each of my client's needs. I am also responsible for facilitating each group and individual counseling session by researching topics on drug addiction and recovery, developing treatment plans with my client's and noting their progress while they are in treatment. My job allows me to help my clients help themselves in their recovery. I have had the opportunity to attend trainings and classes to learn counseling techniques and learn new information about drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. As a job requirement I have to further my education to become a certified Addictions Counselor. I plan on attending school this spring to receive my Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and my job is going to help pay for my tuition.

    I was very persistent in my job search after graduation. Although graduating in December 2007, I was finished with my classes in June 2007. Once I found out that I would not be returning to school for the fall semester I began my job search. The two online sources that I used and that really help me to find jobs within the rehabilitation field were www.studentjobs.gov andwww.dhmh.state.md.us. During my college career I always thought that I wanted to become a physical therapist, however once I completed my fieldwork at the Rehabilitation Services of Greater Washington Physical Therapy Center, I realized that physical therapy was not the career for me. After research and advice from my professors, I knew that the counseling field was for me. The best thing about receiving a degree in Rehabilitation Services is that it gives you options in the career that you want to choose. I receive great satisfaction in the work that I do and I am very glad that I chose Rehabilitation Services as my major. In the future I hope to become a clinical supervisor and eventually a director of my own treatment facility for adolescents. The best advice that I can give potential students is to be very determined in what you want out of life and do whatever it takes to succeed. Begin your job search early, be very persistent, know your options, research, and never be afraid to ask for help. And remember, each player must accept the cards life deals him or her. But once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game (Voltaire).

     

    I graduated December 2005 with a degree in Rehabilitation Services (behavioral). I graduated December 16, 2005 and I started my job as a caseworker on January 22, 2006. Currently I am a Service Coordinator with the Choice Program in Capitol Heights MD.

    My duties consist of but are not limited to, providing regular supervision, evaluation, resources, and on-going support to caseworker and administrative staff while overseeing workflow; termination of services, aftercare planning, and overall quantity and quality of services delivered by staff to clients and families; Facilitating weekly service planning, monthly team meetings and coordinating staff schedules to ensure timely submission and quality preparation of documentation from casework team; Responsible for hiring and managing all office staff which includes setting performance goals, conducting intakes for caseload and making task team assignments as appropriate; Participating in on-call back-up and recruitment processes. Developing appropriate training, development and transition plans for staff; Maintaining positive relationships with Department of Juvenile Services, school staff, police, courts, and other agencies in the human services delivery system.  Additional Trainings: UBMC Certification in areas such as Supervision, Train the Trainer, Managing Multiple Priorities, Goal Setting and Planning Projects, Conflict Resolution, File maker Pro database, Diversity Training , Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Sexual Harassment Prevention Training, Contract Building for Youth and Families - presented by Ludley Howard.

    My job prior to my current position was a caseworker for the Choice Program. Jan 2006-Jan 2007.  I found out about the Choice Program by attending a UMES career fair. I am extremely satisfied that I chose rehabilitation as my major. The rehabilitation field is so broad that you have a plethora of career choices to choose from. Some of the career paths consist of working with at risk youth, the mentally disabled and elderly persons. With a degree in rehabilitation you can also work within the school system, the court system, and or family counseling services.  

    In 5 years I envision myself to have made a huge impact in the youth's lives that I have worked with, as well as sufficiently developed the staff that I have managed. Career wise I will be advanced in the field of social services.  My view of the rehabilitation major has drastically changed. When I first chose the major I was unsure of what I wanted to do with it career wise but I stayed with it because I was extremely successful academically. I honestly thought I was limited to working with the population of severe and or moderately disabled individuals. Currently I know that the opportunities are endless because the rehab major gives you a wide variety of skills.

    Some advice that I would give rehab majors especially juniors and seniors is to APPLY yourself early, research and find out what you are passionate about and work towards those goals. I also encourage them to network and associate themselves with individuals who are in a position to help them advance. 

    The Choice Program is currently hiring and caseworkers are greatly needed.  Please contact me if you are interested, I would enjoy working with my fellow UMES Alum!

    www.choiceprogams.org

     

    I am a Spring 2006 graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a Bachelor's degree in Rehabilitation Services. Upon graduation, I received a job at a group home for behaviorally disabled adults. Feeling a need to be challenged more, I pursued another position at a major pharmaceutical company and landed it by the summer after graduation.

    I worked there for just under two years as an Assistant Global Data Management Specialist. In this position, I was under the clinical research department and reviewed clinical study data for its many studies. I was lucky enough to be involved in the FDA approval of a Type 2 diabetes drug called Januvia that made it to market. From seeing some of the instabilities that working at a large company can bring, I decided to leave the company and move to my current position as a Data Coordinator at a clinical research organization (CRO).

    This new opportunity allows me to work on many studies from various different pharmaceutical companies. A CRO is a company that is contracted by sponsors (doctors or pharmaceutical companies) to run a clinical research study for them. This may include setting up the study, enrolling the patients/subjects, and closing out the clinical research study depending on what the sponsor has requested.

    On a daily basis, I review study data looking for inconsistencies, review data listings and database to ensure that all data follows the rules outlined in their request. What type of knowledge must you have to obtain this position? Of course a knowledge of Windows (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), be attentive to details and able to work independently to resolve a variety of issues without supervision, knowledge of medical terminology, and a bachelor's degree with a science background.

     

    When I graduated from UMES, I had plans to become a physical therapist, but after my fieldwork in the senior year, I realized that that would not be the career path for me. Upon graduation, I just took the group home job because I knew my student loans would kick in soon and I needed the money. Once I landed the job in pharmaceuticals, it changed my life. I now plan to go back to school to get my Doctorate of Pharmacy degree and work at a retail pharmacy.

    I am very grateful for my degree in Rehabilitation Services because its versatility has allowed me to make these transitions seamlessly. Without my degree, I would have never been qualified to get the job in the group home, met the woman there that told me about the position in the pharmaceutical industry, and therefore I wouldn't be where I am today.

    Thank you so much Department of Rehabilitation Services!!!

     

    I am a graduate from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a degree in Rehabilitation Services. I obtained my degree on May of 2007.

    Since I have graduated from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore I have had two jobs. In June I was working at Abilities Network, Inc. My job title there was a Community and Employment Associate. My job duties were to help people with disabilities find employment and to be an advocate for them as well as showing them to advocate for themselves. I also served as a counselor for any of my consumers that had any issues or problems they needed to discuss. I found this job to be very rewarding because I not only felt that I was a voice for people with disabilities, but I helped them learn how to be more independent and made them realize that it's possible for them to achieve anything. The Rehabilitation Services Program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore really helped me prepare for this job because they taught me how to work with people with disabilities. I also learned how to counsel and learned the strategies that were needed to help my consumers find employment.               

    I am now employed at Maryland Disability Determination Services as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.  My job duties at this job are to view and establish the eligibility for people with disabilities that are applying for Social Security benefits. As a VR Specialist, I had to complete a training course that lasted 3 months. In this course I learned the different diseases and impairments that are needed in order for a claimant to be allowed. I also had a refresher course in vocational training and case management. The Rehabilitation Services Program also helped me a great deal at this job. For example, when I was placed at the Division of Rehabilitation Services for my fieldwork placement, it helped me learn how to read medical records and how to talk to people with disabilities. While in the classroom I learned about ethics and learned the actions that need to be taken in certain situations. At this job I also serve as a counselor for my consumers and I research various jobs that I believe the consumer is able to do.

    Overall, I would say that the Rehabilitation Program really helped me prepare for the work world. If I hadn't been involved with the program, I would not be as successful in the work world as I am now. All of the classes such as Case Management, Ethics, Counseling Skills and Theories have helped me a great deal.

     

    Recently I attended a function for one of my classmates from the Rehabilitation Services program. There were other classmates there as well. We all sat and talked to this lady that was interested in what our occupations were. One of my former classmates went to graduate school and is now an Occupational Therapist. Another recently graduated from Howard University and is now a Physical Therapist. Another is in graduate school for Social Work. The classmate who was having the function and I graduated from the Rehabilitation Counseling program in the spring of 2005. She is a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist in Pennsylvania and I am a Special Education Teacher for students with emotional disabilities. It was fascinating how all of us have the same educational foundation; however our paths are totally different.

    I graduated from the Rehabilitation Services program in the spring of 2003. Before graduating, I changed what I wanted to do after graduating three times. I wanted to be a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and finally a speech therapist. During the fall semester of 2002, I even did my fieldwork at a school working with a speech therapist. After graduating, I was unsure of what I wanted to do. There were so many avenues that I could have gone to. I finally chose to return to UMES and get a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. I had the opportunity to do an internship in Cincinnati, Ohio where I was a therapist for the Adolescent Substance Abuse and Mental Health program. I learned so much from that experience and after that I knew that working with kids was my calling. I believe attending the Rehabilitation Counseling program was the best choice I could have made for myself. It allowed me to see how I could be effective in any occupation that I chose.

    Learning to build rapport with others and establishing therapeutic relationships with the students helped me to grow in my profession. As a Special Education Teacher, I have to utilize everything I learned from undergrad and graduate school. I have to develop behavior plans and contracts with the students. I have to make lesson plans and implement differentiated instructional strategies in a self-contained as well as inclusion classes. Creating academic and transition goals and objectives for the IEP can be difficult, but it tends to be easier for me because of the mandatory classes that the Rehabilitation Services program requires in the curriculum. 

    Although I am a Special Education Teacher, I still have plans to become an LCPC. I have taken additional classes towards a license, however it has become difficult. Because of the No Child Left Behind Act, I have had to focus on obtaining my certification in Special Education. Thankfully, because of my BS and MS in Rehabilitation, a lot of the classes I was exempt from having to take. The two programs also gave me an edge on passing the Praxis II with ease. I am one class away from earning my certification in Special Education. (YEAH!)

    This is my third year of teaching. I started teaching in a Special Education private school in Prince George's County, Maryland in the fall of 2005. That particular school focused on behavior management which was beneficial in providing the skills to manage classes in the public school sector. After my second year, I transferred to a public school in Charles County, Maryland. Now, I work in the Emotional Adjustment (EA) program where I teach Algebra, Geometry, and World History.

    In ten years, I would like to be a full time therapist working with adolescents. I would also like to teach on a college level part time. I believe that the Rehabilitation Services program prepared me for life, professionally and personally. My advise to potential students would be to explore all options. There are so many career paths that the program can prepare you for. Also, do not stop at earning a bachelor's degree. Earning a Master's and beyond can allow you to soar over so many others when coming out of college. I do recommend that you do an internship every summer so when you do graduate, you will have experience to put on your resume. That was definitely a downfall for me. Don't be afraid to travel beyond Maryland. My classmates and I had really good experiences in other states. It also impresses interviewers.

     

    I received a letter from the department regarding my current career status.  As of now I am a full time Graduate Student matriculating at McDaniel College.  I am working on a Master's Degree in Human Service Management.  I also work full-time for Target Community and Educational Services.  This company offers vocational and residential assistance to individuals with developmental disabilities.

    The program that I am in is a joint program.  I work full time in an alternative living unit and go to class at night. I am on a full scholarship--my company pays for my apartment and gives me a monthly living allowance. I have attached some information that might be helpful. Please check out this website:  http://www.targetinc.netfirms.com/education.htm

     

    I graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Services in the Spring of 2003. After graduation, I took time off from school for a year secondary to illness. In June of 2004 I entered into a Master's of Occupational Therapy 2-year program at the University of Pittsburgh. I graduated with my Master's in Occupational Therapy in June of 2006. A few weeks prior to graduation I started submitting my resume to various hospitals and received instant callbacks from two in Rockville, Md. I set up interviews for when I returned home and I received job offers within a day after my interviews.
     
    Now I am an Occupational Therapist at Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland, where I've been employed for a year and a half. I work in an inpatient acute rehabilitation facility which treats patients with brain injuries, CVA's, amputees, spinal cord injuries, and orthopedics. Initially I mainly treated patients with CVA's and brain injuries and now I mainly work with patients with lower extremity amputees/prosthetics.
     
    As an Occupational Therapist my main focus with my patients is to teach or reeducate on life skills/Activity of Daily Living (ADLs). Our main focus is for patients to return to their home settings and to be as independent as possible. With each patient's diagnosis and individual we create treatment plans that are meaningful to the patients. We work with patients on functional skills such as ambulation, treating hemiparesis, being able to transfer themselves out of wheelchairs to multiple surfaces, transferring in and out of vehicles, etc.
     
    To work as an Occupational Therapist, after schooling I had to pass the National Board of Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam and a Maryland license. To maintain my  certification and license I take continuing education courses.  Currently I am studying to receive a certification in brain injury. 

    In five or ten years, I see myself having been trained in multiple specialties/fields in the realms in Occupational Therapy. I would have worked in multiple continuum's across the board. I feel that my undergraduate degree in Rehabilitation Services has helped me, because it gave me that foundation that I use with all of my patients.

     

    I graduated from UMES's Rehabilitation Program in 2005 Spring semester, with a concentration towards the allied health track. My intended career track was towards physical therapy. At UMES I was SRA's president for the term 2003-2004.

    After graduation I decided to take a year off from school to solidify my decision to go to PT school. Three months after graduation I found a job as a physical therapy aide at a physical therapy office.  Not long after starting the job I realized that I hated PT. I then left that job, and began working for a Title Agency. I began researching other career options and ran across Public Health.

    Currently I am enrolled at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Public Health and will be receiving a Masters of Public Health in the Spring of 2009. I work for the City of Newark's Health Department in the Welfare Division, as a case manager. UMES's course in Case Management, hands down has prepared me on how to deal with clients and the many different personalities that they come in with. Clients consist of heavy substance abuse users, those that have contracted various diseases, clients of every age from 18 and older. I am taking classes in the evenings and work during the day. Life since moving to New Jersey has been stressful but thankfully there is an equaling balance with supportive co-workers and interesting classes.

    Upon graduating I am aspiring to work with the CDC's headquarters in Atlanta, GA. With my Masters in Public Health I plan on doing health education for troubled cities like Newark, as well as in troubled nations. A lot of health disparities in the world are due to preventable diseases. Public health is the first defense in prevention.

    I strongly advise current students to research their career goals before graduating, and to make sure they either intern in your intended field or get a job in that field. I never would have known how much I hated PT if I didn't intern and get a job as an aide.

    So there you have it. It has taken me a while to respond to the letter from Dr. Talley but life as a working graduate student has left me with very little time to do anything extra. Life after UMES has been new and ever changing. I now live in New Jersey and still plan on moving to Georgia.

    I appreciate to opportunity to write in and tell you a bit about my Life as a Rehab Services grad.

     

    I graduated with an undergraduate degree in rehabilitation services from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the spring of 2007. I have been out of school for ten months and I still do not have a job in the Rehabilitation field yet. I have looked for jobs as a mental health associate, supported employment specialist, vocational rehabilitation specialist (employment specialist), job coach, rehabilitation specialist, special education teacher, special education teachers assistant, counseling intake coordinator, recruiter, temporary agencies, and more. Out of over 75 jobs I applied to, I have only been on 3 interviews. I was hired at two but I did not take the positions because a lot of the jobs you have to have your own transportation, you could not take public transportation and how was I able t o get a job that required a vehicle, with no vehicle, or any money to get one.  With the other interview as a supported employment specialist they wanted me to be a residential counselor which I declined because the compensation was less.  I am currently  working at the same place I was working at when I was in college which is retail as a sales associate, which means I do not even require a degree. 

    Recently, I applied to the Masters of Rehabilitation Counselor program (distant learning) at Winston Salem State University. I was interested in this program because I did not want a job that only required a high school diploma, which a lot of job titles only required, and the program is completely online. I also applied to the Baltimore City Teaching Residency program where all you need is a bachelor's degree and at least a 2.75 grade point average, and you must take the Praxis exam. You can teach any subject depending on your credits. I plan to become an Elementary Special Education Teacher, and they train you!

    I was really shocked in not being able to find a job that satisfied me and let me put my degree to use. I thought with me being president of the Student Rehabilitation Association, with all my connects through the rehabilitation department, and my experience with my fieldwork would get me a lot further then where I am today. Companies really want people with certifications and years of experience, they are not really concerned about the knowledge you have, they are more concerned as to what you can actually do.

     

  • Department of Rehabilitation
    University of Maryland Eastern Shore