College adds Rehabilitation and Human Services Degree

Penn State Berks has been approved to offer the B.S. in Rehabilitation and Human Services degree. This degree program prepares 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.

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.

All students enrolled in the degree program will learn a variety of professional skills including advocating for others; assessing client needs; conducting educational and related support groups; consulting with professionals from other agencies and settings; developing client treatment plans; identifying and using community resources; interviewing clients and family members; managing client caseloads; and resolving conflicts.

Well-planned use of electives and internships allows for specialization. The full-semester (15-credit) 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.

Graduates pursue employment in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior citizens centers, community mental health programs, mental retardation programs, corrections systems, and hospitals. Increasing opportunities are available in private for-profit insurance programs for the industrially injured, and in employee assistance programs within business and industry. As the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 continues to be implemented, there will be increased emphasis on services to persons with severe disabilities, as well as on independent living, supported employment, and transitional services.

The major can also prepare students for graduate study in many human service professional disciplines such as rehabilitation counseling, school counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy and social work.

The Rehabilitation and Human Services degree will join the college?s 19 other baccalaureate degree programs, providing a full complement of diverse and varied baccalaureate degree programs to meet the needs of students in the Berks County community and beyond. For more information about the B.S. in Rehabilitation and Human Services program, contact Dr. David Bender, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Registrar, at 610-396-6090 or via e-mail at [email protected].