What is a Vocational
Rehabilitation Counselor?


A Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) may be referred to a claim to facilitate a return-to-work arrangement between the injured worker and their employer. If that option is not available, then the Counselor will assess whether or not the worker is able to return to work with a new employer based upon their physical and experiential capabilities. The assessment is referred to as an Ability to Work Assessment (AWA), which is the most common referral VRCs typically receive.


A Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor may be either a Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS) or a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). These national certifications are only granted after an applicant has proven applicable experience, completed college education, and demonstrated knowledge by passing a rigorous certification exam.


A Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor’s goal is to achieve return to work resolutions for claims. This process is organized by a set of legislated return to work priorities as defined in the second paragraph of RCW 51.32.095 (Revised Code of Washington). Collaboration between the Counselor, the worker, the employer, and medical providers is paramount to successful claim resolutions in legal accordance with the RCW.