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NATIONAL rehabilitation

Facilitating the fulfillment of human potential and promoting global understanding of inclusivity

    NRCA is a professional organization, open to those who:

    Embrace an inclusive view of the  rehabilitation counseling profession as a multifaceted, tiered profession reflecting levels of practice-based upon academic preparation profession and

    Are committed to working with people who have  physical, sensory, developmental, intellectual, and emotional disabilities

    To overcome functional and social barriers to employment, independent living in order to achieve fulfilling lives of their own design.

    Rehabilitation counselors, rehabilitation practitioners, community rehab workers, educators, bachelors/masters/doctoral students, and researchers who share these interests are encouraged to join NRCA!

    A Message to the Field of Rehabilitation Counseling

    Dear Rehabilitation Counseling and Related Partners, 

    The National Rehabilitation Counseling Association, founded in 1958, is the oldest professional organization representing rehabilitation counselors. As stated by Kirk & LaForge (1995) and reaffirmed by the current NRCA board, “… the philosophy that led to the chartering of the NRCA still holds true:  rehabilitation counseling is a profession, rather than any particular skill area within the context of general counseling or guidance, that transcends the variety of employment settings.” NRCA also emphasizes that Rehabilitation Counseling must be built on the fundamental values of diversity, social justice, equity, and inclusion.

    As the oldest rehabilitation counseling organization, NRCA sets itself apart from other organizations through several distinct characteristics. These include:

    • Embracing a holistic approach to its mission, welcoming professionals from varying disciplines to collaborate on research, education, intervention strategies, and communication to expand opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in and contribute to the community.
    • Seeking to increase global awareness of work in rehabilitation counseling so that synergies are recognized, and communities of practice are expanded.
    • Remaining dedicated to the professional development of those committed to maximizing the self-determination and inclusion of people with disabilities and chronic illness. NRCA supports the position that professionals in varied rehabilitation counseling settings enhance opportunities for people with disabilities and chronic illness to achieve the highest level of independence.
    • Serving as the organization for practitioners, educators, students, and researchers who embrace a strengths-based, goal-oriented, and collaborative approach. We focus our work on empowerment, full employment, and enhancing opportunities while highlighting social justice issues confronting individuals due to multiple sources of marginalization.

    NRCA is Not Just Another Rehabilitation Organization:  Throughout its history, NRCA has been the organization for rehabilitation counseling professionals and service providers at all academic levels. It provides support and leadership for the accreditation of inclusive rehabilitation programs in colleges and universities, including at the undergraduate level. While the level of academic preparation may differ, the organization's core values remain constant. The primary objective of all who are involved in the rehabilitation counseling process is to aid individuals with disabilities in exploring their interests, abilities, challenges, and prospects to achieve maximum autonomy and independence in life.

    NRCA Values Rehabilitation Counseling as Wholistic Process.  Despite facing challenges, the rehabilitation field has a primary responsibility to work with people of all disabilities. While mental health is a significant type of disability, NRCA believes that all disabilities (e.g. physical, intellectual, cognitive, sensory, behavioral, addictions) benefit from a comprehensive perspective which is essential to rehabilitation counseling practice. This perspective prohibits rehabilitation counseling from exclusively focusing on mental health counseling. The profession's foundation is centered on serving individuals with all disabilities, which NRCA believes should remain a fundamental principle of professional practice. Despite other organizations concentrating on one area, NRCA maintains a steadfast commitment to the critical significance of addressing all disabilities.

    NRCA Continues the Commitment to Rehabilitation Providers at All Levels For a considerable time, NRCA has remained dedicated to providing rehabilitation education at every level, bachelor’s master’s, and doctoral. Undergraduate education serves as a strong basis for advanced rehabilitation education, and NRCA has played a significant role in ensuring that the worth of students and clients is acknowledged at all levels. NRCA's persistent dedication to undergraduate education is what prompted its involvement as the supporting organization for the establishment of the Commission on Rehabilitation Accreditation (CoRA), the sole accrediting body for undergraduate rehabilitation programs. This accreditation has helped uphold professional standards during a time when graduate program accreditation was evolving, often neglecting the significance of this critical element of the field.

    NRCA Encompasses Social Justice as a Foundational Construct:  Our commitment to social justice has always been, and will continue to be, the driving force behind our roles as advocates, allies, and partners for individuals with disabilities. We firmly believe that the marginalization of any person or group weakens the very fabric of society, particularly when it comes to people with disabilities. We also recognize the intersecting factors that compound the challenges faced by individuals, such as gender, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, language, social and economic circumstances, traumatic experiences, and their impact on living in our society. We believe that a society is at its best when all members are empowered and engaged, and we strongly believe that every individual deserves a seat at the table. We approach their lives with a deep understanding of the complexity of their lived experiences and the obstacles they encounter in their pursuit of a fulfilling and self-determined life.

    NRCA Values Dynamic Partnerships:  In partnership with Springer Publishing, NRCA's Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling is dedicated to providing meaningful, timely, and scholarly publications that enhance the everyday work of rehabilitation professionals. For more than a decade, NRCA has been actively involved in the work of the Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Coalition (VRCC). Additionally, NRCA strongly supports member engagement with the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) and other allied rehabilitation associations. NRCA has also collaborated with CRCC and CSAVR to advise undergraduate rehabilitation programs through the Coalition for Undergraduate Rehabilitation Education (CURE). While we value partnerships with other counseling organizations and advocate for meaningful collaborations with groups representing people with disabilities, NRCA firmly believes that rehabilitation for all disabilities should remain the central focus of these efforts. The NRCA board is steadfast in our commitment to our mission statement, which is centered on advancing human potential and promoting inclusivity on a global scale. Our work has been and continues to be guided by the foundational beliefs of the rehabilitation counseling profession. We are dedicated to incorporating global issues and concerns into our efforts to drive positive change in the field. Our unwavering commitment is to rehabilitation counselors, rehabilitation educators, rehabilitation services providers, and individuals with disabilities.

    Continuing Education.  NRCA provides excellent opportunities for continuing education of rehabilitation professionals.  Our main avenue is through our annual fall conferences.  We have recently gone to a hybrid model of offering this training, with sessions available both online and in-person.  This year’s conference will be held in Little Rock, Arkansas from September 18–20.  Our conferences also have an emphasis on social justice issue and this year we are providing a special track in the area of rehabilitation education. More information about this conference, including how to submit presentation proposals, can be found at NRCA’s website: . NRCA also provides ceu’s through our journal (JARC) and through regularly scheduled webinars. 

    Like a lighthouse guiding ships through rough waters, NRCA has remained steadfast in its commitment to the profession of rehabilitation counseling, even during challenging times. Despite storms and changes in the field, NRCA has persevered and continues to support individuals with disabilities at all levels. Our organization remains a beacon of hope and strength, welcoming all who share our cause. We will continue to weather any challenges that come our way and stand strong even after the storm subsides. We are NRCA, dedicated and true.


    Ian Shadrick Ed.D., CRC, CVRT, FNRCA

    President, NRCA

    Lee Ann Rawlins Williams Ph.D., CRC, CFLE

    President-Elect NRCA 

    David Perry Ph.D., CRC, AVBE/D

    Past-President NRCA 



    Under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Bruce Reed, Editor, JARC is re-organizing and re-invigorating the Editorial Board to respond to reaching a larger readership and broader range of contributors. 


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