Employment

Vocational Rehabilitation

It's not easy figuring everything out life after you've have a spinal cord injury, especially when it comes to going back to work. You've just figured out how to catheterize yourself and transfer yourself. Going back to work? That's a whole other level of transitioning back to "normal" life that takes some time.

What if you were a bricklayer, a dancer or a construction worker before your injury?  Chances are - we are sad to say - you're not going to return to that job. And this happens to thousands of people with spinal cord injuries. So your next option is to find a job you can still do, and vocational service workers (definition: government workers tasked to help PWD find jobs ) are the people hired to do just that.

At most rehabilitation centers there's always a vocational rehab department. These hardworking folks help people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities find jobs. Sometimes they'll have you take tests or answer questions to find possible jobs. A lot of people with spinal cord injuries go to the computer world, as it can be quite lucrative.

But if computers aren't your thing, there are a lot of other professions you can still do. Writing, law, teaching, architecture, fashion design, the options are endless. A vocational rehab consular will have you evaluated to identify the best jobs that are still available for you, and they will help you figure out appropriate accommodations and/or funding for assistive technology for needed modifications.

What's great about vocational rehab is that they will get you back to the life you had; your professional life that is, and that is a huge thing. It may be slightly different, but you can find a job that will give you a living wage. It just takes a little bit of time in an open-minded employer, but having a rock star voc rehab counselor on your side is one of your best weapons.

Is Vocational Rehab Always Necessary?

Some of you may be thinking, "I don't necessarily need a vocational rehab counselor," and that is perfectly ok. Some people go back to work within months and return to their old jobs on any problems. These people are rare but it can happen, especially if they have a family to support (this can be a great motivator in this area).

If this is you, you likely don't need a vocational rehab counselor. But after awhile of returning to work and you find your old job isn't the right fit anymore, you can always see a vocal rehab counselor as an outpatient. Just call them up and tell them your story over the phone.

In the meantime, watch the video below profiling a vocational rehab success story, and don't forget to check out the Takeaway Points afterwards.

Video: Russell Boseck's Success Story

Takeaway Points

  • Vocational rehab counselors will help you find jobs you can still do (and like)
  • They will sometimes use tests to figure out the best career choice for you, if a change in career is needed
  • When you are in rehab you are likely to be assigned a vocational counselor. Don't be afraid to use their services
  • With time and patience you will find a job that can support you

Vocational Rehab Resources


Table of Contents
  1. The Law Is On Your Side
  2. Job Accommodations
  3. Vocational Rehabilitation