Penn State Berks is discontinuing the Rehabilitation and Human Services major and will not be accepting new students. The program will honor its commitment to existing majors, who will graduate by spring 2024.
The Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services (RHS) prepares students for positions in a variety of human service settings, particularly settings that provide services to persons with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities. Examples of client groups RHS professionals work with include people with mental, cognitive, developmental, addiction, sensory, and/or physical disabilities and chronic illness; people experiencing violence; people living in poverty; and people who are homeless.
This major helps prepare students for entry-level positions in a variety of human service settings, particularly settings that provide services to persons with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities. Graduates pursue employment in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior citizens centers, community mental health programs, programs for people with intellectual disabilities, corrections systems, and hospitals.
Skills for the Real World
The Rehabilitation and Human Services B.S. degree program provides students with a unique hands-on experience in small classes designed to foster meaningful relationships between faculty and students. Our courses are taught exclusively by doctoral level faculty who are experts in Counseling Psychology and Rehabilitation Psychology.
The RHS degree allows for students to practice and master skills necessary for human services professionals. The RHS major includes required coursework and numerous electives which allow students to tailor their degree and explore a variety of career options. Students are taught practical skills throughout the required coursework and are able to practice through a full-time internship during their last semester in the program. This intensive internship provides students the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to real-world experiences solidifying their learning and expanding professional networks.
The goal of the Rehabilitation and Human Services program is to produce graduates who, during their first few years of professional practice, will be able to perform the following functions or activities at a level appropriate to their baccalaureate degree:
- Demonstrate broad knowledge of disabilities, helping systems, and professional services for disabled individuals and best practices in community inclusion and integration.
- Become an advocate for individuals with disabilities and model self-advocacy practices.
- Demonstrate competences in interpersonal and professional oral and written communication.
- Work effectively as an individual and as a member of a multidisciplinary team.
- Demonstrate awareness of and adhesion to ethics and professional practices.
- Show awareness of social concerns and professional responsibilities in the workplace.
- Continue their professional training and adapt to changes in the workplace through additional formal or informal education.
Rehabilitation and Human Services majors complete a full-time internship at a facility, agency, or other employment setting consistent with their professional goals and interests. The full-semester internship is provided under the supervision of professionals in human service agencies. These intensive "hands-on" experiences are frequently avenues for employment since the internship is completed during the senior year. Students may not go on internship until they have successfully completed all other course work. Students are encouraged to participate in volunteer experiences that provide opportunities to work with people with disabilities.
Graduates from this degree program have completed internships at:
- Abilities in Motion
- Clare of Assisi House
- Heartland Hospice
- Opportunity House
- Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy
The faculty in the Rehabilitation and Human Services department are involved in several ongoing research projects that are diverse in scope and topic areas. Professors often seek assistance from interested and committed undergraduate students who wish to gain training and experience in counseling and human services research.
Students can pair the following programs with this degree program for a double major:
- Criminal Justice
- Elementary and Early Childhood Education
Students can pair the following minors with this degree program:
- Communication Arts & Sciences
- Civic & Community Engagement
- Criminal Justice
- Entrepreneurship & Innovation
- Global Studies
- Natural Science
- Political Science
- Special Education
- Women’s Studies
The RHS major prepares students for entry-level positions in a variety of human service settings including agencies serving people with physical, mental, alcohol and other drug, and cognitive disabilities.
Graduates from this degree program have gotten jobs with:
- Programs for children and youth
- Drug and alcohol programs
- Programs for older people
- Community mental health programs
- Programs for people with autism
- Rehabilitation centers
- Corrections programs, including prisons
While this degree program does not require additional schooling at the graduate level, the RHS major provides excellent preparation specifically for graduate programs leading to professions such as occupational therapy, counseling, social work, and physical therapy. Advising of courses outside the major for electives are provided in order to enhance competitiveness of graduate school applications.
Students are encouraged to pursue this avenue and prepare for this process throughout the undergraduate studies.
Graduates from this degree program have gone on to graduate school for:
- Social Work
- Occupational Therapy
- Addiction Counseling
- School Counseling
Graduates also subsequently qualify for licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors, Clinical Psychologists, and Licensed Professional Social Workers.