Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health (CRMH) Counseling Program



Program Mission

The mission of the CRMH is to train empathic, culturally competent rehabilitation and mental health counselors to work in partnership with persons with disabilities, chronic illness, and mental health issues and their families, in a manner that considers the barriers and assets of each individual and his/her environment, in order to facilitate and empower the individual to achieve optimal access and community integration. Program faculty accomplishes this mission by facilitating training that is:

  • Responsive to the contemporary needs of thowe we serve;
  • Grounded in multicultual competency and social justice;
  • Integrated with community partners including persons with disabilities, chronic illness and mental health issues;
  • Clinically rigorous; students complete two full years of field work prior to graduation.

Important Handbooks/Material


Program Objectives

The CRMH program recruits, admits, and retains a culturally diverse student body that is prepared to work in a variety of rehabilitation and mental health counseling and allied settings. The program strives to prepare professionals who are multicultural competent and able to provide rehabilitation and mental health counseling in a legal and ethical manner, adhering to the Code of Professional Ethics and Scope of Practice for the profession. The CRMH program provides a high quality learning environment which stimulates interactions and communication with faculty and with other students. The program provides opportunities for students to have exposure and interaction with leaders and workers in the profession, consumer and advocacy groups and other helping professionals. Students are encouraged to develop skills for lifelong learning through involvement with professional organizations, access to rehabilitation publications, and other conference participation.


The Field of Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counselors are trained to provide an array of counseling-related services in partnership with persons with disabilities and chronic illnesses including persons with mental health issues, to address the social, psychological, environmental, vocational, educational and living needs of the individual and his/her family in order to assist the individual in achieving optimal access and community integration. Rehabilitation and mental health  counselors perform multiple roles including counselor, advocate, and case manager, and are trained to consider the interaction between the individual and his/her environment in service planning. “Disability” refers to a situation in which significant life activities and community participation are substantially limited due to factors related to a person’s health condition and his/her environment. For additional information about the field and history of rehabilitation counseling, please see the following articles:Rehabilitation Counseling (Berven, 2008) and Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling (Chan, Chronister, Allen, Catalano & Lee (2004). For more information about the field and history of mental health counseling, please see the following articles: (coming soon)


Employment Outlook

There is a high demand for rehabilitation and mental health counselors. Nationally, approximately 50 million people have disabilities or chronic illness, and large proportion of our population lives with severe psychiatric disabilities and mental health issues, and our health and mental health care system is ill-equipped to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of persons with disabilities, chronic illness and mental health issues. In addition, many of our returning war veterans have severe disabilities such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, which demand the services of trained rehabilitation and mental health counselors. Our public vocational rehabilitation system is facing a substantial workforce need with 25% of counselors needing to be replaced due to normal attrition rates and retirement. Finally, rehabilitation and mental health counselors bring an expertise regarding disability to any health or mental health agency, school or college setting, and many other non-profit agencies.


Employment Options & Salary

Rehabilitation and mental health counselors practice in many settings including public vocational rehabilitation programs, non-profit organizations, county mental health agencies, independent living centers, community colleges and 4-year universities, disability resource departments in educational settings, substance abuse agencies, Veterans Administration Hospitals and other medical centers and hospitals, k-12 public schools, job training centers, insurance companies, and private industry Salaries vary widely and range from $40,000 to $100,000 depending on the place of employment. The California Department of Rehabilitation ranges in pay from approximately $47,000 to $65,000.


Our Program

Situated within the broader Department of Counseling which offers training in six counseling specializations, rehabilitation and mental health counseling students have the opportunity to obtain an MS degree with rehabilitation and mental health counseling as their only specialization, or by graduating with a dual focus with rehabilitation-mental health counseling as either the primary specialization or the secondary emphasis. For example, Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling may be combined with one other specialization including Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling (MFCC), Gerontological, Career, College, or School Counseling.



Course Title Units
COUN 700 Theories of Counseling 3
COUN 702 Development Foundations for Counselors 3
COUN 703 Psychological Foundations for Counselors 3
COUN 704 Psychosocial Aspects of Disability, Chronic illness and Mental Health 3
COUN 705 Practicum and Internship 2
COUN 706 Counseling Process 3
COUN 715 Assessment in Counseling 3
COUN 736 Advanced Counseling Process 3
COUN 738 Addictions 2
COUN 762 Professional Identity in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling 3
COUN 766 Medical, Functional and Environmental Aspects of Disability, Chronic illness and Mental Health 3
COUN 720 Career Counseling 3
COUN 794 Seminar in Research 3
COUN 811 Group Counseling Process 3
COUN 833 Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling 3
COUN 857 Law and Ethics in Counseling 3
COUN 870 Rehabilitation and Mental Health Services & Clinical Case Management 3
COUN 890 Integrative Counseling 3
COUN 891 Case Studies and Internship 3
COUN 892 Culminating Experience 3
Total Units   60

Additional Courses required for eligibility for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

Course Title Units
COUN 737 Psychopharmacology 3
COUN 741 Crisis Counseling 3

Preparation for Doctoral Study

For students interested in pursuing a career in rehabilitation and mental health counseling research, teaching or as a rehabilitation psychologist, this program prepares students to competitively apply for Rehabilitation Counseling Education/Rehabilitation Psychology doctoral programs. Please talk to Dr. Chronister about preparation, programs, and research opportunities in the department.



The CRMH counseling program was awarded a federal grant from the Rehabilitation Services Administration to provide CRMH students with annual scholarships/stipends. Ten Students are awarded approximately 15K annually. Those awarded the scholarship are required to work in a non-profit CRMH or related non-profit agency (public 2-4 colleges, Public VR, mental health, aging, substance abuse agencies, VA, etc.). for two years for each year they received the award. Please contact Julie Chronister for additional information at Additional financial aid and scholarship information is located on the following websites: Financial Aid SFSU, Division of Graduate Studies scholarships and fellows,  Graduate Student Financial Aid.


Rehabilitation Counseling Students Association (RCSA)

The Rehabilitation Counseling Students Association (RCSA) is a student organization focused on networking, support, education, professional development, and community within the CRMH Program. All students are encouraged to join.


California Rehabilitation Association Event photos


Alex Locust, President

My name is Alex Locust and I am a second year master's student in the clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling program. I hail from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and earned my undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Miami, Florida before moving to San Francisco for this program. I am so proud to serve as President of the Rehabilitation Counseling Students Association, especially considering the talent, skills, and passion of our members. We are all tenaciously working to infuse our program and the local community with disability awareness in order to create more inclusive and welcoming spaces for people with disabilities. Outside of grad school, my go to self-care techniques include baking desserts, going to concerts, and watching scary movies.

Kaitlin Kimmel, Vice President

My name is Kaitlin Kimmel, and I am excited to be the Vice President for RCSA this year. I grew up in southern California and have lived in the Bay Area since 2008. I earned my B.A. at U.C. Berkeley in medical anthropology and disability studies and am now in my second year in the Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program. In my free time, I like to write, dance, and take my dog to the beach. I have worked with people with disabilities in various capacities for the past six years, and I am excited to use the opportunity as Vice President to grow as a professional, promote disability awareness within the counseling program and the wider community, and establish connections with more students, faculty, alumni, organizations and professionals in our field.

Yu-Ting Yuan, Co-Secretary



My name is Yu-Ting Yuan, I am an international student from Taiwan and I am in my first year in the Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program. It is my pleasure to serve in RCSA as a secretary. I finished my undergraduate degree in National Taiwan University of Education and moved to this enchanting city. I love movies, museums, and outdoor activities. Being in the helping profession has always been my career goal, and I believe in the recovery model, which indicates that everyone has their own inner strength. I hope I can contribute to the counseling field in the future.


Helen Crawford, Co-Secretary, Faculty Liaison


My name is Helen and I am in my first year as a marriage and family therapy student. I am originally from San Mateo, CA and received my undergraduate degree in history with a minor in business law from The University of Southern California. After graduating, I worked for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and then spent four wonderful years as a preschool teacher. While working, I have also been engaged in volunteer activities including being a mentor at the Violence Intervention Program in East Los Angeles and a phone counselor for StarVista's Crisis Hotline. I am passionate about decreasing stigma associated with mental illness and disability and am dedicated to a lifetime of working toward health equity and multicultural competence. In my free time, I love to read fiction, hike with my dogs, drink tea, and do yoga.


Francesca Zulueta, Marketing and Communications Chair, Co-Treasurer


My name is Francesca Zulueta and I am a first-year marriage and family therapy student with an emphasis in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling. I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at San Francisco State University. As an undergraduate, I've had the pleasure of volunteering at a community mental health resource center. Since then, I have become more passionate about working within community mental health systems. I am excited for the opportunity to become a part of the development and growth of the Rehabilitation Student Counseling Association.

Christoph Zepeda, Counseling Rehabilitation Association Representative, Co-Treasurer



My name is Christoph Zepeda and I am a first year clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling student with an emphasis in gerontology. I majored in English and comparative literature with a minor in history at U.C. Santa Barbara and later obtained a master’s degree in English literature at SFSU. I'm excited to return to SFSU and be part of the Rehabilitation Counseling Students Association. As time permits, I enjoy reading fiction and memoirs, watching movies, engaging in miscellaneous arts and crafts, and nesting at home. 


Program Faculty & Instructors

Julie Chronister, PHD, CRC-Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Faculty and Program Coordinator [List of publications, and research by Julie Chronister]

Sandra Fitzgerald, PHD, CRC

Melissa Lawton, MFT, CRC


Indicators of Quality & Program Evaluation

Our program is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), certifying that it meets national training standards. In addition, our faculty and instructors are comprised of full-time faculty as well as working rehabilitation counselors, mental health clinicians, and rehabilitation psychologists. We work closely with professionals in the field to insure we are providing our students with up-to-date, hands-on training that prepares them to work with contemporary rehabilitation and mental health populations in a vast array of settings. For example, all students take coursework in substance abuse, and we facilitate regular workshops/topical presentations from working rehabilitation and mental health counselors on such areas as psychiatric rehabilitation, disability and sexuality, private rehabilitation, and rehabilitation and mental health resources and community services. In addition, nearly 100% of our graduates are immediately employed upon graduation.


Program Evaluation

How do you know you are receiving quality training? How do we know our program is effective in meeting its stated mission? How do we know our students are gaining the knowledge and skills that meet accreditation, certification and licensure standards? The CRMH program faculty, students, advisory board and other community partners are regularly involved in systematic and periodic program assessment. We gather and analyze program data on a consistent basis and modify our program in response to the data on a consistent basis. We review student enrollment and graduation data, data from student, supervisor, alumni and employer surveys, student performance data (grades, GPAs supervisor evaluations, licensure and certification pass rates, and professional competence) and regularly gain feedback from our student associations and advisory board to insure we are meeting the needs of our students, the community, and our clients. Please see the link below to our program assessment plan:


CRMH Advisory Board

We have an established Advisory Board. Below is a list of our current board members:

  • Nicole Bohn, Acting Director, Disability Programs & Resource Center, San Francisco State University
  • Julie Chronister, Associate Professor, Coordinator, RCTP, San Francisco State University
  • Ray Grott, MA, ATP, RET, Director of Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Project at San Francisco State University
  • Bernard Guella, Rehabilitation Supervisor, Department of Rehabilitation
  • Peter Harsch, District Administrator, Redwood Empire District California Department of Rehabilitation
  • Larry Hickey, Manager, Employment and Benefits, University of California San Francisco
  • John Hollender, Rehabilitation Director, Contra Costa County Mental Health Vocational Services
  • Ann Perkins, Director of Rehabilitation Relations SCVMS, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  • Theresa Razzano, Rehabilitation Director, Alameda County Vocational Program
  • Darlene Rutkowski, District Administrator , California Department of Rehabilitation San Francisco District
  • Judy Siff, Program Director, Goodwill Industries
  • Deborah Sweeney, District Administrator, Department of Rehabilitation San Jose District
  • Wendy Tobias, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor , Department of Rehabilitation
  • Lesley Zwillinger, Faculty Emeritus San Francisco State University


Certification & Licensure

Students who graduate from our program are eligible to become a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) by passing the National Certified Rehabilitation Counseling Exam. Today, there are more than 35,000 Certified Rehabilitation Counselors practicing in the US, and employers look for this certification to insure a quality rehabilitation counseling workforce. Students are encouraged to take the CRC exam immediately upon graduation. Information about the CRC application process can be found at the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor

Certification (CRCC) website located at: Our students are also eligible to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in the state of California. Our curriculum is designed to provide all rehabilitation students with the opportunity to take the courses needed to be able to accrue post-graduate hours towards LPCC and take the required exams. Please see the following websites for additional information about LPCC: Board of Behavioral Sciences, and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.


Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor


Resources, Professional Organizations and related links

American Rehabilitation Counseling Association

National Rehabilitation Association

National Rehabilitation Counseling Association

National Council for Rehabilitation Educators

Careers in Vocational Rehabilitation

National Clearing House for rehabilitation training material

World Institute on Disability

National Council on Disability

Rehabilitation Services Administration


Application Process

Our program is part of the Department of Counseling and applicants are required to follow the department and graduate school’s application process. Please click on the Department of Counseling "Prospective Students" page for detailed information.