Transcript for RCP Open House 12/07/18

DISCLAIMER: This text is being provided in a rough draft format. It is not a verbatim transcript. Communication Access Real Time Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication credibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.

>> Hey, everyone. We're going to get started. Okay. So this session might be for you [LAUGHS].
We have a lot of people here to talk to about the program. 

But I'm Chuck [INAUDIBLE] of the program and it's great to have you here. We have a lot of alumni. We have current students, we have staff. And we're here to talk about the rehabilitation counseling program. So we're going to talk about this from a number of points of view. Talking about why would you want to consider this as a master's program? I think especially for our alumni, what can you do with this degree? And our alumni here are doing really great things in the field right now.
We have one of our current students talking about his reasons for joining the program.

You can talk about all the different options as a option. And we'll talk about how to apply it, you know, get into things about the GRE, things you might be concerned about with the application process.
We'll basically go through everything step by step. 

So what I want to do to get us thinking about the program is to show a promotional video. We developed this five years ago. This really gives everyone a picture of what this field may look like.
Because I think a lot of the times when we say rehabilitation counseling, it's ambiguous. We'll watch the video, get some impressions and go from there.

>> Thank you for taking a few minutes to check out our master of science degree in rehabilitation counseling and our various options. Even though rehabilitation counseling has been around as a career since the 1950's, not everyone knows what rehabilitation counselors do.
Counselors partner are individuals with disabilities to help them make informed choices, build viable careers, live independently in the community, and pursue meaningful lives.
The primary focus of career preparation in rehabilitation is developing counseling skills, acquiring knowledge of disabilities and demonstrating respect and sensitivity for people with disabilities.
Now [INAUDIBLE] practice of these principles, combined with a solid foundation of specialized education in the rehabilitation field enable dedicated rehabilitation professionals to help individuals with disabilities achieve their goals.
Individuals supported by rehabilitation counselors include wounded warriors from Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere; teenagers with disabilities transitioning from school to adult life; and persons who experience physical or sensory disabilities through injuries or illness whether they were born with the disability or acquired them later in life. 

Students in our program can complete the master's in rehabilitation degree both on campus and distance options. The degree is 60 semester units and typically takes two and a half to three years to complete.
Students learn to create, deliver, and evaluate rehabilitation training programs and services. 

Upon graduation, a rehabilitation counselor is qualified to work in a wide variety of settings. The outlook for employment in rehabilitation counseling is excellent. Our graduates typically find employment as counselors, evaluators, assistive technology specialists in a variety of settings, including governmental agencies, community practices and other nonprofit or private agencies. 

Our program is distinguished by how we respond to the needs of local, state, and international communities. 

We actively engage with our community partners to develop curriculum, create applied assignments, advocate for needed services in programs, and present a real-life perspective to the work of rehabilitation counseling. 

Here are some testimonials about the rehabilitation counseling master's degree at San Diego State University from current students, alumni, and employers.

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>> The professors have been tremendous. They've been supportive, and most of all -- most importantly in this field they've been like family.

>> Just from the start I felt very welcome from the faculty and staff as well as the students. I got a lot of guidance from the students especially second-year students I met.

>> So I think that the program always takes time out to make sure that we learn more about veterans and veterans are able to share within each class their experiences and what they've been through.

>> Well, you know, I work with plenty of the graduates that come through this program. And I can't tell you as alumni of this program how proud I am to work with those students that come through here. Because they're some of the best students that come through the program.

>> As a rehab counselor, I think this program to me is the best in the nation. Not just the rehab counselor but the whole institution.

>> We encourage you to explore the rest of our website to learn more about our program. We look forward to hearing from you.

>> All right. So again, that video we made a few years ago can really give everyone a sense about what this profession is. Because a lot of times when I ask students, you know, what do you think about rehabilitation counseling, what do you think this field means, probably the most typical answer we get is substance abuse. You know and that is part of that but it's much broader than that. Which hopefully the video gives you a sense of all the different dimensions, things you could do. 

What I'd like to do now is we're going to ask those who are here now thinking about this program, thinking about becoming a rehabilitation counselor and entering our master's program just a few questions. Basically what is your name, why are you interested in this program and who brought you here today? 

Did you talk to a former student? Did you see something on the website? Whatever it is that brought you here today to our meeting.
So let's start with you.

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>> Okay. My name is [INAUDIBLE]. I graduated from San Diego State 2017. And actually, I found out about this program last year -- yeah, yeah, when I was volunteering in my community center. And I met someone actually finishing up this program.
And I was here last year.

>> Yes, I remember you.

And I wanted to apply but a lot of things happened and I couldn't really, like, be able to do it. So I'm back again. And I'm still interested and back again to refresh my memory and all that. And yeah, so I'm thinking about applying to this program. And I do work with people recovering from mental illness and some people with brain injury, and working with those in the field.
And I'm really interested to become a counselor. So yeah.

>> Good to see you back here. Tell me about yourself.

>> What's your name?

>> Chuck.

>> Chuck. Okay. I probably missed that part. My name is Tonya [INAUDIBLE] and I have my psychology degree undergrad. I got from University of Phoenix. And I'm currently working as a case manager for the SSDF program which is supportive services for veterans and families. And volunteers of America.

>> We talked on the phone?

>> Yes, [INAUDIBLE] referred me here. I do that during the day and I also work for family services at night. So I have two jobs. But I'm interested in furthering my education because I do it now and I love it so much I work night and day for it and it's [INAUDIBLE]. So I want to further my education so I can get all my credentials to make sure I provide the necessary services.

>> You mentioned you talk to LeAnn about the program and that's the number one way we get students in the program by word of mouth, students who have gone through this program. It's great you have that program.

>> Good things only. I knew about social work. So I thought okay, that's kind of not the field I was quite interested in so I never applied. And when she told me about the program and I read upon and I talked to you, I was, like, okay, this is the perfect field. So I'm here today.
>> Awesome, great.

>> My name is [INAUDIBLE]. I'm currently an SDSU student. That being said, I knew that I was [INAUDIBLE] counseling but [INAUDIBLE]. And I'm actually a current student for SDSU. So I created [INAUDIBLE]

>> Great. Welcome. Yeah.

>> My name is Maria. [INAUDIBLE] and I'm also a current student. This semester I just finished up the [INAUDIBLE] and I work with [INAUDIBLE].

>> Welcome. Yeah.

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>> Oh, I'm sorry. [LAUGHS]
My name is Tonya Gonzalez. My apology for coming in late. I'm a [INAUDIBLE]. Jim [INAUDIBLE] a former -- yeah, he actually went the program and he recommended that I stop by. I was asking him about just pursuing another degree. I have my master's in special ed. Obviously, the focus on visual impairment but I'd like to just keep growing and see what else I could get into. So here I am [LAUGHS].
And I'm sorry I missed your names, but I guess I'll [INAUDIBLE].

>> Yeah. Welcome.

>> Same apologies [LAUGHS]. I missed everybody's name. My name is [INAUDIBLE] and I'm a school psychologist [INAUDIBLE]. And I mean, I took interest in the rehabilitation counseling program because it just kind of goes hand in hand with what I'm doing now [INAUDIBLE] facilities.
I mean, it's counseling/[INAUDIBLE]. So it just seems like a natural move going from this field with this type of demographic to a little more broad [INAUDIBLE].

>> Fantastic, great. Great to have you guys here. And I'm going to say a little bit about the field. And just kind of give it some basis to work from. And then I'll ask Eugene to talk about the student point of view and [INAUDIBLE].

>> So, you know, I'm not sure if everyone saw the video when you came in, but basically we had a video that we had the last five years to really give a face to the field of rehabilitation counseling.
Because yeah, I do a lot of outreach presentations especially at SDSU talking about what is this profession and what can you do with it? And I think a lot of times as compared to maybe nursing, physical therapist, things where you have a visual sense of what those fields are like, it's harder to do that in rehabilitation counseling.

Generally what we are doing is looking at things from a quality of life point of view. And we work with people with any type of disability. And when we think about quality of life, we're typically thinking about things related to work, to employment, kind of being able to have recreation, to be able to have health. You know, all the things that are a part of the quality of life.
But historically the field has really looked at employment and vocational development to career development. It's really, I think, the foundation for the field.
So one of the questions I want to ask for our prospective applicants and why do you think we put such a focus on helping people with disabilities get into employment and get into work? Think about that from a quality of life point of view. Why would that bring people quality of life to have a job or a career?

>> Why would it?

>> Yeah.

>> To be part of a society.

>> Yeah.

>> They probably have been overlooked.

>> Yes.


>> Yeah. And I like what you said about being part of society. That's -- that's a profound way to think about it. Because, like, when you don't have a job, think about the consequence of that. You're probably at home, maybe you're with your parents. Maybe in some cases individuals are homeless.

And, you know, I think they don't feel like they're part of society. So you are part of society, you're engaging the world.

I think some other things to consider is that one is that you have a means to economic self-sufficiency, to have a way to pay the rent, pay the basic needs. As well as maybe, you know, things like on a larger scale being able to, you know, go on vacations and do things you find enjoyable. You know, having an income from employment brings those things for sure.

I think to your point also, you know, being part of society, having a job gets you connected to other people. It gets you -- it helps you form relationships, friendships. You know, you have people that you go to at your work that you look forward to talking to, to talking about what you're doing at home on the weekends, your family. All those things. So there's a sense of social connection you get from having a job.

You know, I think for a lot of us, too, one of the things we talk about in classes is, you know, what do people typically talk about, like, in social situations? First thing is what do you do for work? So there is that sense of identity. And you have that also from employment and work.
So, again, a lot of our -- what we do in the field really looks at employment, we always come back to it. Again, it's also bigger than that. We look at things from multiple points of view.
In terms of our populations we're typically talking about people that are high school age and above. So we're not likely going to work with individuals who are elementary school age. We're looking at people 14, 15, 16 and throughout the entire lifespan.
The agencies we work with there's a lot of employment opportunity. One is California Department of Rehabilitation which is basically a state employment agency. We have those in all 50 states, all US territories. So it's graduates of this program you can work in any of those agencies across the United States.

So basically the federal government provides funding to states to be able to offer these state vocational employment agencies to basically any person with a disability that qualifies for this service.
And so, you know, as a DOR counselor you can help somebody with get a college education, job placement. Alumni will talk about that work. There's a lot of different tools that can really help with employment.
Another big area a lot of our students are going into and you can talk about this is the community college system and four-year universities working with students who have disabilities to help facilitate their academic success.
And then we have just so many students, so many of our alumni are currently working in that area. So that's another avenue.

The VA is another big area of employment. We've got so many veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with disabilities. They need the support of rehabilitation counselors. That's another area you can go into.

We have and I'll talk about this more detail, Eugene will talk about this, we have licensed professional clinical counselor track where you can become a licensed clinical counselor for the State of California and work in a lot of different areas, therapies, agencies that bill insurance companies. With the VA you can work on the medical side or the counselor side.

There's a lot of different things you can do in the field. And that's one of the attractive elements, I think, of rehabilitation counseling is that there's so many things you can do. And one of the things we try to do as faculty members is work with you as individuals students determining what it is you want to do for your individual career and helping you to give you different educational opportunities, clinical training experiences, different things you can do within your classes that really will point you to what you want to do ultimately, you know, as a professional in this field.
We kind of try to mirror what we train our students to do when we're working with clients. So we work with individually, what is it that you want to do as a professional? I think for all of our prospective applicants here, you all might go into different directions in the field because everyone has their own path. And I think that's a really attractive element of this profession.

So what I'd like to do is get prospectives from our current students and our alumni about maybe think back to when you were here in this position of being a prospective applicant. What brought you to this meeting four, ten years, whatever it might have been? And what are you doing with that degree? As you kind of look back to going through the program and all the things you've done afterwards?

Eugene, I'm going to start with you as a current student. I want you to think about where you were thinking about applying to this program, what were your reasons at the time and what has your experience been as a student?

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>> So at the time, I held a [INAUDIBLE] in substance abuse counseling. So I had been in that field for about three years. And I had my own issues as well. And so I ran into situations counseling in substance abuse where I would have clients would come and they would have mental health issues as well. Because there's a lot of co-occurring issues people have with substance abuse and mental health issues.

So I would run into people I had to refer out because it was out of my scope of practice to treat them. And sometimes it was really difficult because it can be difficult to be poor [INAUDIBLE] then tell them since you got this going on, I have to send you to someone else. And that was hard on me, you know?

And so I've really been interested in the mental health side. So that was my focus coming in to see where I can be able to treat anyone no matter whether it's substance abuse or [INAUDIBLE].

As far as being in the program -- so this is my tomorrow finish up my first semester and I'm having a blast. I am loving it. I was really nervous and I was sitting here like man, is this going to be for me? Everybody else is probably like really so much smarter than me. And I didn't know. I didn't know what to expect.

But going through the classes, there is a lot of interaction, a lot of discussion which I really like. You get feedback and bouncing ideas off each other. It's not like going in and watching a lecture, you know, struggling to stay awake because they're putting up slides. It's very interactive. That's how I learn better anyway, being able to discuss and talk about it.
I've learned so much already.

>> What do you think you might do when you finish?

>> My goal is to work at the VA, I'm a veteran myself. I really want to go on the clinical side, you know, doing counseling with mental health and substance abuse.

>> That's great. And then after we have everyone speak, I'll give everyone an opportunity to ask questions of Eugene and also our alumni, you know, for whatever you might want to know, what it's like being in classes, how do you get book or whatever. And we'll go over that kind of stuff, too. I think from experience of being a graduate of the program, what is it like?
One of the things I always tell everyone as I invited our alumni and students to be here, it's one thing for me or the other faculty or staff to say the program is great or you should apply to it; but I think it's really another to hear from people who have actually gone through the program. And I really encourage people to ask questions. This is a great opportunity for that.
So now I'm going to turn to my alumni. Think back to when you were in this position, what brought you to this program? And what did you do in the program and what are you doing now? However you want to approach that. I think to give our prospective applicants just a sense of what is this program, how has it influenced your own career? So Crystal, we're going to start with you.

>> I work primarily with children. And through the experiences, I [INAUDIBLE] classroom, supervise the entire center. And I somehow when I first started in this field, I was in a classroom where there were I don't know, maybe a handful of children newly diagnosed with some disability.
And from there I mean, I was 18. I don't know what the hell to [INAUDIBLE] I've never done this before. No training, just here you go. So I was thrown into it and [INAUDIBLE] mentor to help guide how I supported these kids in my classroom.
And from there, I progressed through my career supervising, I was doing a lot of outreach and presentations and working with [INAUDIBLE] families. And for the military, individuals who have a child who went, you know, certain disabilities, they can only go to certain [INAUDIBLE]. They have these stations where there are supports and services that they will have for their child.
as I was working with families as children got older, they look at high school and what happens when they're an adult and exit secondary school. And there was nothing.
And to me, that's an issue. I'm like these kids are going to grow up, going to have lives. They're going to want lives. And there's nothing there to support them. And when I graduated from the master's program I saw this is working with adults, this is focusing on -- the people who within our society who want to live a life like many other people but don't have what they need to be able to do that. And I wanted to be able to provide them opportunities to be able to do whatever it is they wanted to do.
So that's what kind of drove me to apply. Since then I have done many, many things. Within the program there were so many experiences. And like Gene mentioned, it's interactive, engaging, a lot of discussion. We're coming into class with a real situation we're encountering and getting to talk about it. Not just with your supervisor, coworker but collectively as a program, what does this mean and how can we support these people?
And you're all coming in with these great different experiences and backgrounds. So it's nice to hear how other people had resources and strategies they had implemented that were really successful because that helped me in my work and not just through the coursework. It was fostering relationships with my cohort, but it was a personal growth experience for me as well. Because I'm learning what's my counseling style? How do I approach these situations? Where are my values? Your values can be reflected in your work and the settings you choose to work in.
So I think through the entire programs that this not just gaining these technicals fields to do the job but kind of identifying who it is I am as a person and what I am going to contribute. Because that, then, has driven my career trajectory in the community college district. We're creating opportunities for students who have [INAUDIBLE].
And I find that rewarding and exciting and challenging and frustrating because there are days that we're trying to break down and rebuild. But it's been probably the most rewarding experience to work with these adults who are students and looking for jobs. And they're wanting to be independent and live the life that they want. And we get to be a part of that.
And I just appreciate the fact that they let us be a part of that journey. And that wouldn't have happened had it not been for this program. So that's it [LAUGHS].

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>> Do you want to talk about your work as a doctoral student?

>> Oh, yes. So I -- through my roles within the community college I've been very fortunate to having varied opportunities where I have been able to work on the non-credit side of our district as well as the for-credit district in a variety of capacities. So I work with students supporting academics. I'm a learning disability specialist. I teach non-credit courses and work on [INAUDIBLE] program. And through those different experiences I'm noticing that we -- through community colleges can pride themselves on supporting students who need support who haven't had the opportunity to go straight to a four-year university.
We're there to provide the first two years of education. We know it's not two years, it's three, four, five, six years for them to finish a degree. So with that, we're helping students get out in two years but that's not the reality my students face. For the most part. Some of them do.
So from that I was like well, I teach on the non-credit side and I have a lot of students transition to the credit side, maybe transfer. So for my dissertation, I wanted to focus on how non-credit courses prepare students with autism in particular to transition into for-credit institutions but also first steps and complete X number of units. It's great you can enroll and start the class within the first two week. But if you're not captured and engaged in those first two weeks, you're going to drop and you're probably not going to come back. And I wanted to see as institutions how are we supporting them with their academic goals to really complete what it is that they went for?
And so I just finished my -- I don't know how many semesters it is -- I'm in my second year of my doctoral program. Chuck is my dissertation chair. He's working closely with me and really honing in on how are we providing services and what are we doing and not doing within our systems to support the individuals that we work with? And, again, with me teaching and working on the counseling side really looking at the instructional and student services and how do we do this that we're supporting as many student as we can [INAUDIBLE].
I'm excited to see how that goes. And I will be done in one and a half years [LAUGHS].

>> Just prompting Crystal to talk about this because it's basically gets back to what I was saying earlier about the opportunity, not just one profession but many profession you can do.
A lot of our graduates will go to work on one setting and go onto another setting and another setting. You can certainly do that in this field.

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>> Why did I want to be a rehabilitation counselor? It's complicated. But it comes down to two words: Lived experience. Not to tell you my whole life story but I'll try to be brief.
So when I was a kid, my mother acquired a disability and it was a very painful medical condition which basically she was unable to walk and basically confined to bed 24 hours a day.
And so when I was 13 years old, I had a family situation where that situation my family blew apart and I was left to be a sole caregiver to my mother. That was a very, very difficult situation for me. I had to drop out of junior high. I couldn't go to high school. I had to obtain my high school education through home study because I was basically there with my mom by her bedside taking care of her 24/7. And that situation took a big toll on my life, in every domain.
Time went on and nobody coming to save us. So I was kind of like responsible for everything as far as keeping the situation of my mom and I afloat.
So I got my high school education. But then in the midst of that around 19 I started getting very, very ill and I was diagnosed with this very rare illness which at this time I was in the hospital for a couple weeks. And then three years later when I was 22 I ended up being in the hospital for six months and I almost died. And I was on life support for, like, six weeks.
And when I woke up I was on the ventilator and I had to go through physical and occupational rehabilitation to do everything. I couldn't move. It was almost as if I was paralyzed. I lost all muscle strength in my body literally. I had to go to rehabilitation to learn to do everything again. That was quite a journey.
And when I got through with that journey, I had to make a major life decision about whether or not to come back to help my mom again. There had been a neighbor that was helping my mom while I was gone. And I ultimately went with my heart and went back. Even though decisions were saying you have to go on with your life. So I went with my heart and helped my mom.
After I returned home I was still quite weak. At that point I decided I wanted to go to college. At that point I got connected to California Department of Rehabilitation. And I had a rehab counselor and she was wonderful and fantastic. She was a bright spot in my life and someone I could look to, someone I could go to.
I wanted to be an attorney. And my original goal was to be a legal assistant. I started going to local community colleges. And I got it a point later on where I transferred to San Diego State. And I was all the while taking care of my mother.
As an undergrad I got my very first job working for a nonprofit association that serves people with disabilities. I felt that point I kind of knew something about that [LAUGHS]. And later on around the time I finished my education at San Diego State I got my bachelor's degree. And right around that time I got my bachelor's degree, my mother passed away.
So around that time I was kind of, like, okay, a lot of people told me Sean you're free now and you can go to law school. I thought about that. I had a heart to heart with myself and said really, Sean what do you want to do? I realized I want to help other people the way I had helped. My DOR counselor had been really influential and inspired me.
I met from the nonprofit organization and San Diego State, I met a lot of people, some graduates in this program that also impacted me. And I found out about the rehab counseling program and I enrolled. And the rest is history. But I had a fantastic experience and now I get to work with these wonderful folks in the [INAUDIBLE].

>> That's incredible.

>> That's the short version.

>> And it's [LAUGHS].

>> No, I appreciate you sharing that. I think [INAUDIBLE] the program is a lot of our students most often have some personal connection to this field -- family experiences, personal experiences. They've had some influential work experience. But it's something that, you know, I think people don't just choose that path. You know, they really have had these seminal events in their event lives.

>> They're very real in the classrooms. This is shared in the classrooms. There's no hiding why we're there. We're all sharing with everybody. [INAUDIBLE]

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>> My name's Rusty. I was also middle age at the college level trying to find my niche in life. Back then it was very hard to work if you were disabled because your benefits would be cut. And transitioning into that world was not easy. But as time went along, things changed a little bit to make it little bit easier. It's not perfect but better. While I was at [INAUDIBLE] College I believe it was I call it divine intervention is they asked me to be a [INAUDIBLE] counselor. And they at that time they locked you into their office and gave you a stack of applications. And then they had, like, a scoring sheet. And you had to score three points for a master's degree, two points for three years -- just the basics. It was all a score.
But for the first time in my life I was looking at job descriptions it said be able to advocate with college professors. I was in college for 20 years, you know? I think I can advocate [LAUGHS].
And the community college system. That's the first time that little light bulb went off. I went out in the lobby and said you don't have to do this. What are you talking about? I said you don't have to do this? I said I can to this job. They said did you read the bottom, the requirements? I said no, what's that? They said you have to have a master's degree. I said where do I get one of those? [LAUGHS]
They said San Diego State. I went see ya. I finished up my semester and finished up the hiring process. And I saw how simple -- how it worked. I met with Ron Jacobs, [INAUDIBLE] these are all predecessors who were here and Bobby Atkins. We did one-on-one interviews back then. I don't know if you still do.
Scared out of my mind. I mean, like, you know, because it's a big university. It's a master's. I don't think I'm master's material, you know? It's just a very overwhelming thing for me. But there's support and support of students in here and everyone else [INAUDIBLE]. We end upkeeping these relationships. I always thought about it.
Now he works for the city schools, right?


>> I landed at community college. I think everything works out the right way. I have that belief. You just put one foot in front of the other. I've developed relationships here. I owe a lot to this program and university for everything. I mean, really, really changed my way. And we get the privilege of being a part of other people's journeys. I mean, how good is that? We get the privilege to let them be that. Sometimes it's painful because you see the pain they go through. But the reality is we're privileged to do that.
So it's really rewarding. It's not always easy. My dad worked construction so I don't want to say counsel's not easy. There's always challenges. [INAUDIBLE] the reality of it is we're on the good side of it and we're able to help others now. So I really feel fortunate to be able to share that with you.

>> All right. Good to see you. What we're asking our alumni to do basically is think back to the time where you were a prospective applicant who started. What got you to apply to this program? What have you done after you finished? What have you done in the field?

>> Good evening, sorry [INAUDIBLE]. I kind of -- before I get into that part, I kind of [INAUDIBLE] I originally got into disabilities back in [INAUDIBLE]. I started working by chance I was surfing one day and I thought I'm going to try and work with people with disabilities. So I came home [INAUDIBLE]. Just walked in and said hey, I really want to do this.
Lucky they had just gotten a grant that day. I was hired. Three days later [INAUDIBLE]. And it was something that for some reason I fell into. So I did that for two years. I worked with 35 people coming out of [INAUDIBLE] situations, was able to help them get settled [INAUDIBLE] did a lot of really awesome stuff.
It kind of got to that point where I couldn't do anymore. They just became independent on their own. So I traveled and I decided to move out to Utah. [INAUDIBLE]
So kind of by accident I accepted a job at this law center [INAUDIBLE] which I did for a while. Pretty heavy job. I actually gained a lot of experience of systematic stuff, try and change rules and regulations for people with disabilities. I definitely [INAUDIBLE] because I had a very [INAUDIBLE].
By did that and I always -- my big dream in life was to move back to California. So I eventually moved to California, San Diego in 2002.
So I took on a position assistance advocate for San Diego [INAUDIBLE].
Did that and was promoted to the client assistance program manager for [INAUDIBLE] Riverside. What that is I assist clients receiving services here at the department of rehab with any types of issues or services they were receiving. So it's a very mutual watchdog position.
I had done that for a while. And [INAUDIBLE] for, like, seven years. And I kind of reached as much as I could do in that position. So I was promoted to disability outreach manager. And I was working with the county [INAUDIBLE] independent services rolling out a bunch of different programs.
And I was thinking I have all this unique experience but I still feel like I'm missing something. So I had an amazing coworker [INAUDIBLE] who -- yeah -- who I worked with closely. And she had actually mentioned, you know, you might want to think about this program that's really good. And I had heard things from Rusty.
And my initial kind of response was, like, I don't know if I could do it either, you know? I was working and I just, am I good enough to do this, you know? And, like, if so, am I [INAUDIBLE] for something or am I locked into this field? I had a lot of questions.
So after some discussions, you know, a couple people encouraged me to apply [INAUDIBLE] actually encouraged me to apply. And I ended up applying and having the big two and a half hour interview which I very much recall. I was kind of like how many answers, how many questions? Is this ever going to end? It's not as bad as you think. It's really, really interesting.

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>> But, you know, I was trying to figure out, you know, I have all this experience, what does it mean? I need to take it to a different level. And this -- this program I can honestly say it completely changed my life. Originally I was hesitant about it, but understand I got in, the faculty's phenomenal. They're all experts in their field. And having the opportunity to listen to all of their expertise, assessments [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGHS], you know, and even with statistics with Mark and all the professors have their own unique specialty when you think of it presents this bigger picture.
I so thoroughly enjoy the curriculum, I enjoyed the support from the professors. I mean, they have a personal interest in you not only as a person, a student, but also professionally moving on. And I mean, I don't know many college graduates from programs that have provided support I've received from faculty.
So going through I got my master's in rehabilitation counseling in 2009. I was also one of the first of five [INAUDIBLE] rehab certification from [INAUDIBLE].
The program is just -- I can't -- I don't want to sound like a broken record, but it's really phenomenal. They really -- the way it is set up, you know, the work, the classes at night, it's accessible, very flexible, there's [INAUDIBLE] classes.
I have just never have received that much support that I've ever received from anybody other than this program. I wish my undergraduate was this awesome as these guys.
But what I really liked is that it looked at you -- there's a thing that my friend and I used to talk about, like, why do they call it Interworks? Really it's about the way this program is set up is about developing yourself [INAUDIBLE] mentioned a lot before is really developing as a person, identifying your strengths, weaknesses [INAUDIBLE].
Also the fact of, you know, they allow you to grow. They, you know, look at your vision is, how you want to look [INAUDIBLE]. They provide that support. There's so many [INAUDIBLE] is great. I loved assessments. [INAUDIBLE].
Because I'm in I EP meetings. [INAUDIBLE]
Also, Mr. Tucker with stats. And Dr. [INAUDIBLE] class for [INAUDIBLE] rehab. That was a really a phenomenal experience. And here I'll just say I love staff.
But when I did transfer into the psych rehab certification program I did actually have to change my job. So then I actually shifted my graduate school hours, community [INAUDIBLE]. So I used working as a psychosocial rehab specialist working with my contract [INAUDIBLE] disabled homeless population in San Diego.
I was on a treatment team which is a multidisciplinary approach. A lot of people are focused on any one [INAUDIBLE]. We all individually had a case load randomly of 125 people. I totally, you know, [INAUDIBLE] having what I've done and, you know, without any mental health field is actually seeing at the most destitute almost broken spiritually and being able to help them work through everything -- housing, assist them with medication, you know, getting them back to school, getting them back into the workforce. Even just [INAUDIBLE] families. It's phenomenal.
I actually did that for nine years after I graduated. And so I kind had another point where I was, like, okay a lot of the original people I worked with I got to a point where I kind of had that internal [INAUDIBLE] maybe it's time for [INAUDIBLE].
So I actually -- my current position is I'm the supervising special education [INAUDIBLE]. Second-biggest school district in California. I think [INAUDIBLE]. My role is to help facilitate any kind of issues or problems with parents in the district. So I have a neutral role [INAUDIBLE]. I'm there to assist parents, understand their rights and responsibilities and special education roles, also [INAUDIBLE].
And I [INAUDIBLE] job if it wasn't for the assistance of Interworks. I remember I was writing a director -- I just had found out about this position almost kind of at the last minute, I was writing the director of Interworks saying [INAUDIBLE]. Because I had been working psych rehab, you know, [INAUDIBLE] the director halfway across the Atlantic [INAUDIBLE].
All the faculty here has genuine interest in you as a person, what you want to do, what your vision is or if you kind get lost kind of help you -- guide you in that way. There's so many opportunities to grow.
I know the [INAUDIBLE] class especially [INAUDIBLE] the fact that you can actually learn how to create your own reality and write a grant is unbelievable.
And this is just an outstanding program. So they provide so much. And, you know, I can't tell you what your next step's going to be, but I know once you graduate from this program whatever that next step is going to be, you're going to totally be prepared for whatever you're stepping into. And the position I stepped into [INAUDIBLE]. I just want to say thank you so much. I really appreciate it [INAUDIBLE].

>> Thank you. That's awesome. Appreciate that.

>> Can I just add within thing? I remember there was one time I had a extremely rough day at work, go to the classroom with the old Interworks and I'm having this massive meltdown and I go talk to Mark. And I'm balling my eyes out. And Mark's known for [INAUDIBLE] and he just goes [INAUDIBLE]. [LAUGHS]
So yeah, talk about support [LAUGHS].

>> All the faculty, all the professors are all awesome. Again, they're super accessible. And I'm sure I had some of my moments, too, where I'm like what am I doing [INAUDIBLE].

>> Mark's just like that. [LAUGHS]

>> And we have one more alumni [INAUDIBLE].

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>> I mean, Kelly Marshall and I graduated in May.
So I'm a rookie out of the program. I cannot speak highly enough about like everyone said faculty, program itself.
I started -- I came into the program working in the developmental disability field. And then I took a turn to psychiatric rehabilitation. I believe I was the second cohort to graduate and register [INAUDIBLE] as an associate professional clinical counselor. And so I'm working on 3,000 hours for licensure [INAUDIBLE].
I think back on my intermediate [INAUDIBLE]. And there was a point with the professor where I kind of got into -- not heated but we were debating and I was getting heated, I think [LAUGHS]. And about some pretty sensitive topics, suicide. And how we work through suicidal ideation with clients.
And the point of the story is that he said the professor said, you know, at the end of the day you have to rely on the evidence-based practices. And walk away and know at the end of the day you did everything you could. And this is the program where you learn those evidence-based practices. This is your foundation and what you're able to go out into the field and give it your all and walk away at the end of the day and have, you know, self-care for yourself [LAUGHS].
Because you know that you did everything you could to help this person [INAUDIBLE].
So what else? Yeah, I owe so much to this program. I actually, when I did that U-turn and [INAUDIBLE] not exactly a u-turn but made a turn into psychiatric rehabilitation in order to get my [INAUDIBLE] internship hours, I took a new job, a major pay cut. So it's definitely a journey, you know? It's not this, like, I'm in my master's degree, it's just great trajectory and ongoing.
But most recently and even post-graduation I'm not going to lie, it was tough. It was a tough few months to get my bearings and figure out what life is like after school. But man oh man, I'm so happy now. I just put in my two weeks notice. I got a job offer [INAUDIBLE] using my counseling skills at a residential women's treatment center in North County. So I'm just over the moon about it.
Yeah, I'll be gaining my hours there. And like I said, they really set you up well for registration with DPS and licensure. And even if, you know,, like, licensure [INAUDIBLE] you can just go and get rehabilitation certification. That [INAUDIBLE].
I remember my first class with Dr. [INAUDIBLE] and I told my husband I want to be like [INAUDIBLE] when I grow up [LAUGHS].
And I still feel like that [LAUGHS]. Even after graduation. [LAUGHS]
So yeah, I think that's -- yeah, I just can't speak highly enough about it. It's a great program. And I always feel like I remember coming to a session like this, I remember sitting here about four years ago. And, you know, I didn't get an MBA, I was not going to make enough money to pay [INAUDIBLE] but I could always come back and do this [INAUDIBLE]. Because this is definitely well worth it.

>> I remember at the [INAUDIBLE] center. Yeah, yeah. So it's incredible to see you and all our alumni to see how you guys are doing.
So I want to give our prospective applicants a chance to ask our alumni and Gene is our current student questions you might have so this they can take, they probably don't want to stay until 6:00 o'clock. But any questions, anything you want to ask of our alumni, this is a great opportunity.

>> I guess I want to ask, you say the program is great and gave a lot of support. So is it doable working full time and homework at night?


>> I love to answer that. My -- I worked full time, I was student of mental health working full time, had a full on case load. I was able to go to classes at night and be able to do work. I think what I would give as advice for people going to this program, your first semester's probably going to be the most difficult just because you're trying to adjust.
I kind of say to myself this is a surrender and put my personal life on the shelf. What really helped me is I tried to develop a very regimented schedule and I kept. And by sticking to that, that helped me professionally and able to get the work done that was required. It's doable. I would say get a schedule and routine and stick to it.
And understand you can figure that out, everything else falls into place and you just adapt to it. So that's what helped.

>> I mean, just to kind of ride on that, I'm hearing everything like [INAUDIBLE]. I mean, everyone just saying all the keywords that I want to hear. But it's -- like mental health, disability, is providing [INAUDIBLE], IEP's. And I also remember when I was going through an internship with [INAUDIBLE] how difficult it was.
And so I'm very -- everything you guys are saying, I'm very eager to [INAUDIBLE] that journey. But when it comes to the internship, it's like okay, I remember how it was before and it's almost like a preparation [INAUDIBLE]. I'm going to be able to do it while also working at the same time, full time, a case load that I have currently. But I don't really have a question [LAUGHS].
Totally speaking out loud. [OVERLAPPING SPEAKERS]

>> I didn't have to do that. I was really following my passion. I had a good job working in [INAUDIBLE]. My heart was in psych rehab. So, you know, [INAUDIBLE]. Like I said, it totally paid off.

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>> I would recommend when you get to the program, don't rush yourself. Take your time. I know it's a three-year program. When I heard that about six years ago, I attended one of these sessions but it goes by really quick. And I remember in my first semester Dr. [INAUDIBLE] and I was trying to overload on classes because I wanted to get this program behind me so quickly.
And Karen said to me, Sean, slow down. Just follow the advice the faculty gives you about what classes to take. Take your time. It will go by really quickly. Enjoy it.

>> I just want to touch back to the question, depends on where you're working. The place that I went to actually, the San Diego State came out to see if they would meet the requirements. And they were able to do that. And it totally worked [INAUDIBLE].

>> The only reason I'm even here is because it just feels like the next step as far as, like, the direction of my profession. It just feels like working with the younger students and working with adults. That's what I'm here for. You know how you feel like you were mentioning too, you just felt it? You feel like you need to grow. 

>> Something I need to move on and develop myself and take it to something [INAUDIBLE].

>> It's one of those things like your passion just leads you in a certain direction but you didn't know it at the time. So it almost seems like with everything you guys are sharing I'm just mentally preparing myself.

>> [Inaudible] I started the program, I intentionally sought out a position where I could count hours with that and still doing my job and getting paid. I mean, there's opportunity. I had my job and was in a different campus, had to volunteer hours [INAUDIBLE] working [INAUDIBLE].
But was able to build that into my schedule. Within the institution I really wanted to be in where I had my position but had to do extra things for my internship hours. So it allowed me the flexibility and financial security to live but also gain experience and really just the networking piece [INAUDIBLE].

>> Also, too, what is just [INAUDIBLE] program is students in the class. I mean, it's a diverse, eclectic group of people with different backgrounds. I know [INAUDIBLE] meets somebody who X, Y, and Z. So it's a good networking opportunity as well. And might [INAUDIBLE].

>> Just to piggyback on what you just said, this relates to Crystal here. One summer when I was in the program, it was [INAUDIBLE] which would be my first [INAUDIBLE] experience. And there wasn't a class for me to take in the summer. But I wanted to be productive. And I was looking for an opportunity and still worked for a program. It was a volunteer position open that summer.
And I jumped on it. And went and did that. And ultimately that volunteer position even though I don't work for that program anymore, if I had not done that, I would not have the job I have now. That was a networking opportunity that Crystal was able to provide to me. Like you said, these are things you're going to learn. They're your colleagues.

>> I think the most valuable thing I the key point is that their relationships are everything. I think Karen stressed so much is not rush through the, they're the people you're going to be working with. They're the people working with the agencies you collaborate with. You're going to be in meetings with them and learn from them. And the rehab community's really, really small. You mess up one thing --

>> Really making this experience valuable for you. And that's your decision. You get to decide what you get out of this. But if I can say anything, it's the relationship that you build with people. Because I was in class with Sean, Rusty I knew from class [INAUDIBLE].

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>> And I think those professional relationships you have as students at a serious level get more so [INAUDIBLE]. You kind of have attachments to people but also [INAUDIBLE]. A lot of people [INAUDIBLE] higher up positions. It depends on really what you want to do. Not just DOR and college program, the [INAUDIBLE]. 

So it's, again, provides you [INAUDIBLE]. [LAUGHS]

>> Well, we don't want to keep you guys all night. Again [INAUDIBLE]. [LAUGHS]
Our alumni and thank you all so much for being here, sharing your time. And just, you know, your comments really, really heart-felt and really appreciate it.

>> Any questions you all have, [INAUDIBLE]. Feel free to let us know.

>> Okay. 


>> Craig is the academic [INAUDIBLE] of the program. And so if you're [INAUDIBLE] to the program, Craig is someone you want to get to know very well. Craig, can you talk about your many, varied roles in the program.

>> Okay. I met a few of you guys before. So [INAUDIBLE]. But if you have questions about the application or you can look it up, feel free to stop by my office. One of my roles is to help you get through that process. It can be overwhelming [INAUDIBLE]. I help you with onboarding introductions to the program.
And some people in the program I get to know really well like coming for general questions to apply [INAUDIBLE]. Some people I don't really know that well [INAUDIBLE].
So I will not only be supporting you within the program but also after you leave the program. You saw with all the alumni and faculty there's [INAUDIBLE]. I work on some of our [INAUDIBLE] report. And go off with the [INAUDIBLE]. The faculty will know [INAUDIBLE].
As far as my job is to [INAUDIBLE]. I work with faculty and staff as well. So I guess [INAUDIBLE] financial [INAUDIBLE]. So if you have any questions [INAUDIBLE].

>> At the Interwork website, my name, my email [INAUDIBLE].

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>> One of the things, has everyone signed the sign-up sheet? Oh. This weekend I'll send everyone an email with Craig's information and also my information. And you'll have all that for sure. And I want [INAUDIBLE] we were two of the five full-time faculty members [INAUDIBLE].
And so my name is is Chuck [INAUDIBLE] coordinator of the program. And I teach in a number of different areas in the program. But mostly in terms of the class you ever want to take is the assessment class. It's a class you take in vocational assessment. But it's really broader than that.
So we talk about things like vocational [INAUDIBLE] ability tests. We also get into mental health assessment. We talk about neuropsychological assessments. So that's working with somebody with brain injury. These are the kind of assessments somebody would go through as you try to figure out what they can do with brain injury.
We talk about academic achievement tests. We talk about what's called situational assessments where you put somebody to a job and see what they can do on a job [INAUDIBLE]. And then we also have a class of career development assessment. So if you're working with somebody trying to figure out what is it they want to do for a job, how they can better know themselves, and also to try to talk about the theory of development.
I think one way to think about this is I'll be here today, that reflects your own career development, something has brought you here today. You've probably had a number of different life experiences that have collectively brought you to the group today. So we talked about that kind of stuff. We gain a greater self-awareness how people come to choose a new career.
And then we'll talk about this further but I also direct something called the cognitive disability [INAUDIBLE]. And in the program you have a number of [INAUDIBLE] options which are part of the overall [INAUDIBLE]. And in this program we have students who want to get more specialized instruction in the area of cognitive disabilities.
So Crystal and Sean, two of our alumni, they went through that focus area. And many of their clients have cognitive disabilities. You talk about brain injury, people with autisms, people with learning and intellectual disabilities.

>> So I'm Mark Hunter, faculty of the program. In terms of the courses [INAUDIBLE] medical and psychological [INAUDIBLE]. So I teach that class. [INAUDIBLE] earlier on talked about evidence-based practices -- always the evidence built out of research, right? [INAUDIBLE] so those are the courses I normally teach. I'm a graduate of this program.
And I kind of know what it's like to be on the student side. I forgot a little bit about it. I think all three of us [INAUDIBLE] variety of programs that are coordinating through it but ultimately [INAUDIBLE] employment and [INAUDIBLE].

>> Hi [LAUGHS]. Welcome. Glad you could make it tonight. Sorry for my late entrance. I was at another event. Our vice-president or student affairs is retiring. And they had a big thing for him and I'm going to present him with the award in his honor. And I was the last speaker [LAUGHS].
So before he speak. And he always takes a long time to speak. And tonight was no different. So [LAUGHS] I apologize. I was -- I am glad I get to meet you. I chair the department but I also teach in the rehabilitation program and direct the institute here.
So I designed a certificate in rehabilitation technology that we have with our college of engineering. So that's one of the areas of specialization that we offer. We also have a certificate in the area of transition -- transition for students with disabilities from high school to adulthood.
So we do that, we've got some coordination with the special ed department in that certificate.
And I teach a course in [INAUDIBLE] through technology as sort of the first class of that certificate. And then I also teach our policy and governance course.
I've been here for 28 years. It started with grant projects here through Interwork and then [INAUDIBLE]. It's really fun for us to have our students -- so I'm assuming we had our alumni were already here. To me that says more than anything. I mean, we can tell you all sorts of stuff and tell you how great our program is why we're ranked in the top ten and all the things we do, you know, in running $12 million worth of grants and -- we can tell you all that stuff. But to hear from people who are in the program now and graduated from our program kind of fact that they keep coming back and they hire our graduates, this they give our students opportunities for internships and employment, to me that says so much more than anything we could tell you.
So I hope you got a chance to really hear from them and understand how, you know, we don't pay them to come here right on a Friday night in the middle of all the other chaos that's going on right now [LAUGHS]. So I just like to point that out. Because they show up every time, no matter what we do, whether it's open houses like this or orientation or special training or professional development, you know, our circle is pretty big. We have other 1,000 graduates from this program and they're everywhere. They're all over the country. They're in every vocational rehabilitation system office around the state. They're in every -- almost every community college in -- certainly in San Diego.
They're everywhere. So everywhere you go you meet people, all roads lead back to Interwork. So you have people who have been involved with us because of our degree programs or our projects. We have this institute is amazing, and we figured out today we probably have 200 people that work with us in one way or another.
We have our own -- we have family resource center as part of our institute that parents of kids with disabilities who support our kids with disabilities. We have [INAUDIBLE] living agencies. We have several other centers within the institute that do all these great things. We all support each other.
So it's -- all are our students, our employment rates are really high. People who go through our program work. They get employed. And to me that's what it's all about, then you all go on and have a passion for serving people with disabilities and continuing to widen the circle.

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>> Absolutely. 

All right. So we're going to go through some of the different program features. We've alluded to some of these before and we'll kind of get into the nuts and bolts of employing, the GRE tests, different websites you go to, dates to send in everything. All these details.

>> Do you have any questions for me before I go? Because I can't stay. I can't stay for all the -- do you have any questions for me?

>> Karen has a lot of background in [INAUDIBLE] technology, that's one of the certification we have. We'll also talk about international opportunities we have. Yeah.


>> We have done some work with Japan. I haven't taken student there, but we've certainly had projects with Japan. One of our faculty members [INAUDIBLE] has done some training there and brought some people here. Yeah. And one of our former graduates, we were at a local conference here of assistive technology and there were a whole group of people who came from Japan. One of our students who as fluent in Japanese became this ambassador. He brought them to campus and showed them all around. They were at this conference downtown. We just took them on. And they were so excited to hear about what was happening here.

>> I can do that. [LAUGHS].

>> We're always look to go expand [INAUDIBLE]. There's a map out here that shows where we've done work and had partnerships. Big map. Is it technology or for international?

>> Okay.

>> Yeah. [LAUGHS]

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>> Okay. So let's talk about the general structure of the program.
The program, and you can technically to them in three years but we welcome two and a half, three years. If you do it in two and a half, three years, I think we talked about relationships all the different things you learn in the program. It really makes a big difference. If you do in two years, you're trying to get all the work done and you'll probably feel exhausted most of the time. It's a lot of papers. You've got assignments, group projects. And some classes have exams. So taking your extra time is -- I think it really enhances the things you do in the field. You're going to meet more people, do more things. So that's something we really [INAUDIBLE].
You do have seven years to complete the program if you want. We have had some students because of family obligations or different things come up they're not able to go full time. So from the time you're admitted to the time you finish, you could have seven years. Not very many [LAUGHS]. It is possible yeah.
The program, I think, fits your ability to work. Because most of our students are working part time or full time. And the classes are 4:00 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.. And classes are only in the fall and spring. And classes are Monday through Thursday. No classes on Fridays. No class [INAUDIBLE].
So it's either going to be all your classes one time per week. And from 4:00 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. to 9:40 p.m.

>> It really changes every semester. But it depend on what classes you have coming up. So that schedule's going to be different. You might have here two days a week. You might be here three days a week. It's really just going to depend on those classes.
And the vast majority of the classes are on campus. But we do have some classes that meet here. And then Mark, you have your class --

>> Sure. Most folks take it their first year. But those classes meet up at [INAUDIBLE] memorial hospital campus. We have a facility there. We bring in a lot of people from a variety of backgrounds. Some medical background, psychology background. We have a lot of access to them up there. Those classes always meet up there. If there's a parking permit, it's free. And park's not as bad.
But I think that's really the only classes that aren't held on campus, right?

>> Yeah.

>> You know, the program has a lot -- we really individualize and partner the program and the way we do that is all the different specialization programs. So when you come into the program, you're assigned a faculty advisor -- Mark, myself, Karen. We also have Dr. [INAUDIBLE].
And we try to match the students to faculty advisors in terms of what the profession is, see if there's a potentially good match of the things you want to do and what the faculty members do.
So one way we would do this is by having these -- optional certificate programs. So when you get into the program, you have the option of focusing something on your program in one take area. By the time you finish the program, you would have your master's, a certificate in one of these focus areas.
So the ones we have, we have four different areas. One is cognitive disabilities which I mentioned before when we talk about brain injuries, learning disability, autism, and intellectual disability. We have one in rehabilitation technology that Karen talked about. We have one in psychiatric rehabilitation. And then that one they talk about people with schizophrenia, people with bipolar disorder. And a lot of this really looks at services from a recovery model. Where you're looking at -- you don't look at mental illness in terms of pathology or something like that as negative in a sense, but you're really looking at how can we provide supports and enhance the support around that individual so that they can work, they can be independent, they can have a high quality of life?
A lot of people in the public may not see they have the capacity to work and have a productive life.
The fourth one is supported employment [INAUDIBLE]. And so with our field a lot of our field is especially in DOR agencies there's a lot of focus on [INAUDIBLE] disabilities. The idea is we want to really get them involved with employment and career development as early as possible. Because what happens is you have a lot of students with disabilities who don't have that support and get out of high school. Maybe they didn't finish high school or can't get a job on their own.
So that could be another focus area from or support employment transition.
And then as a separate type of thing, I say separate because one-third of the program will be different than the other students in the program. We have the licensure track, licensed clinical professional counselor, LCPC.
And what that means is that you finish the program, you're qualified by the state of California to be able to take a number of licensing exams, be a licensed professional counselor. And as Kelly talked about, one of our alumni here, she's currently doing 3,000 hours of supervised practice which is one of the requirements by state law licensure. And once she gets this credential, she can do counseling.
You're a licensed counselor. And I think from our program you have a focus area and rehabilitation counseling. One of a focus area especially in psychiatric rehabilitation. Because that is really interwoven.
So when you come into the program, we learn about your interests from what you talked about in the interview. I think our alumni talked about it in the interview -- I never had that so I don't want to scare you guys. [INAUDIBLE]
That's when he first learn about who you are. And we look at -- we'll talk about this when we talk about the application but one of the things you're going to do is you're going to write a statement of purpose. You're going to talk about what is it you want to do in this field.
I'll ask you a lot of questions about it. We have a lot of standard questions where we try to get to know you as a person. One of the things I always preface in the interviews is some of the questions make sense why I'm asking questions. Like how did you hear about our program or why do you want to apply? But then I ask questions that deal with who you are as a person. We really try to learn your values and attitudes, who you are as an individual.
We really want to find a person we feel can really, you know, in terms of their personality, their basic values as an individual that they can really function in this job. You know? So maybe you may have a high GPA possible, you may have the highest GRE scores possible but you may not get into that program if you don't that right [INAUDIBLE] to work in this field. So we really carefully look at that.
And so part of that is the interview. And so, like, if you're admitted into the program, you're assigned a faculty advisor. And we try to figure out fairly early on, do you want to have a focus in the program? Do you want to go the licensure track? You want to go into one of those concentrations to progress in the program, you have to make decisions. Because you can deviate in different [INAUDIBLE].
The other thing with the faculty advisors is that we have a small program. We take on 25 students per year. So the total population may be 80 people. So all the students know each other. And all the faculty know all the students. And we see each other all the time. So it's not like you would only talk to your faculty advisor. You would talk to all the faculty members and they all talk to each other. Everyone knows everyone.
And I think the value of that is we can really, you know, share information, guide you in different directions. And you have kind of everyone to turn to for support in terms of things you may want to do.
So any questions about this certificate, licensure track, anything you want to know?

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>> Well, I think the license requirements, I heard her say that [INAUDIBLE] going for her hours but also getting paid at the same time so that way the 3,000 hours [INAUDIBLE].

>> Yes.

>> So I guess that's --

>> I think in most cases when students are graduates are getting the 3,000 hours, typically are paid positions. They're in a job where they have a supervisor who's licensed who can provide that kind of supervision.

>> I heard one of them say you guys come out to where you work, maybe I could do it where I work at. Okay.

>> Yeah. And that's also going to [INAUDIBLE]. You know, we have a lot of students who are currently working in the field where we're able to determine the kind of work they're doing is relevant to what you have to do to practicums, internships and things like that. I think that really makes it more possible where you don't have to quit your job necessarily. 

So I think the stuff you do, most likely that would count the requirements we have for the program. Because you're doing things related to rehabilitation, things that are working with people with disability. And one of the requirements we do have to make sure is your supervisor has a master's degree. That's one of the basic rules of all the placement we have.
We have to determine if it works well [INAUDIBLE]. We're pretty generous in making that determination so you can use your employment.

>> So first of all, with respect to the specializations you don't have to select a specialization. You can go through the program and get general [INAUDIBLE]. So [INAUDIBLE]. You don't have to make a decision before you enter the program. You decide on most of them once you're part way through your first semester or something like that. If you're going to pursue the LPPC, you want to do that pretty early. The others a lot of classes will be the same.
And then so I have question for you. With respect to the LPCC what does that do for you job wise that you don't get from a general master's degree?

>> I think there's a number of jobs you have to be licensed to get those positions. So one example would be if you're working San Diego County Mental Health, any position you have to be a licensed person to have that job. I mentioned earlier, too, the VA there's two major divisions -- there's the benefits side and then there's the [INAUDIBLE] side. So a lot of our graduates traditionally worked on the benefits side called vocational rehabilitation and employment. If you're working with veterans with disabilities, you help them get back to employment.
On the medical side, VA hires licensed psychotherapists. So you could work for the VA in that area. That's a big advantage because they pay well. And we have so many veterans coming back who need that kind of psychotherapy and support. There's also nonprofits in San Diego and the United States that work with people with severe mental illness. And you have to be licensed for a lot of those positions.
There's an agency called [INAUDIBLE]. Some of the positions are non-licensed. But I think to Mark's question, there's a lot of jobs in the field where you don't have to be licensed. I would say you should only pursue licensure if you [INAUDIBLE] what you want to do in the field.
One is that just it takes a lot of effort to get licensed. You got to have 3,000 hours and examination. You know what you want to do for [INAUDIBLE]. Those kinds of positions will have to be licensed [INAUDIBLE]. Let me turn this off.
This gets back into when we come to [INAUDIBLE] meet with your advisor at least one time per semester. And you have this kind of discussion where you talk about what is it that you want to do in the field? Some of that's going to change from the time you get admitted to your time in the program.
If you come in and say I want to work for Department of Rehabilitation then you want to work for VA or other agency, it's not like we would make you stay with that original one. You're going to be exposed to a lot of different things in the field, students, faculty, get presenters. You may want to go in a different direction.
We always check in with you and find out what is it you want to do and your program of study really fits what you want to do as a professional.
One thing I'll say also is that you have a lot of applied clinical training experience [INAUDIBLE]. Programs like we have classes on theory, classes on research in the field. But a lot of the stuff in the program is really applied. So when you get out in the field you actually can do the work of a rehabilitation counselor.
Like Mark has assignments in classes where you're actually learning how to evaluate the nature of somebody's disability on the employment sector. I have assignments in my assessment classes where we actually work with an individual with a disability and you give them some kind of assessment, present your report and results to that individual. So the not just a theoretical or just something you read in the book. You really are performing something that's real and that you can use for future jobs.
And then you have a lot of clinical training. You have over 600 hours of time that you have in the field. You're going to be evaluated and supported by a rehabilitation counselor working in the field. You get to try out all the things you're talking about in your classes.
So maybe, like, one day you hear something in Mark's class and the next day you're actually using that skill in a place, in your internship. You gets that very hands-on field training.
I think a lot of our students have said what they're learning in the class they're able to apply right away, especially working in the field. So a lot of stuff in classes, you can apply that right away. A lot of our students find that to be exciting, it's something that's really valuable to them.
We have [INAUDIBLE]. We have currently four stipends. We have three stipends would be relative to our on campus [INAUDIBLE]. And these are funding from the federal government. And what they're trying to do is they're trying to really facilitate more students going for master's [INAUDIBLE] rehabilitation. So Craig had mentioned before there's a thing called the employment [INAUDIBLE].
So if you're receiving a stipend, you have to do work after you graduate that's relevant to the work of a rehabilitation counselor. And it could be working for the Department of Rehabilitation, it could be working for the VA. A lot of our graduates [INAUDIBLE].
And the formal end is one year of employment payback for every semester of -- support. Craig, can you say typically what are most students getting per month?

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>> I'd say average around $1,000 while they're in school [INAUDIBLE]. Usually people are getting $8,500 to $9,000 per year. That's going to cover [INAUDIBLE]. There are additional fees. For me [INAUDIBLE]. It's amazing because if you get [INAUDIBLE] it can help pay for that [INAUDIBLE]. And after you graduate you pay for time worked [INAUDIBLE] so it's not like money deducted. [INAUDIBLE] But it's a really good program and we're very lucky to have it. [INAUDIBLE]

>> If you are able to get it, be grateful [INAUDIBLE].

>> Don't ever feel like you're bugging me by asking me questions.
[INAUDIBLE] I'd rather you bug me every day with questions [INAUDIBLE].


>> And then we have on here international experience. Karen mentioned that she has guided trips to China to -- I know China and Hong Kong for sure. We've had students who were placed in Ireland for internships. I have two students going to Australia next semester for their internship. So I think you come into the program and you really are interested in having some kind of international experience, among all the faculty we probably have some connection with almost anyone in the world.
So I think, you know, if you want to do that it's an exciting part of your training. And pretty unique. There's not many students around the country doing. And I think there's really something pretty amazing about being in another country, kind of seeing how that country provides services to people with disabilities.
If you have the opportunity to share what you're learning in your program with the countries you're working with. That's the kind of thing you would discuss with your advisor and really talk about it if you have the interest. And then we would try to plan your academic record, your academic plan so that it could really facilitate and being able to do international [INAUDIBLE].
So the last thing I wanted to get into it how do you apply? And when I email you this weekend, I gave you the URL for it. So this is the website. You can go to prospective students. And one thing I would check off for sure is looking at our [INAUDIBLE]. Under accreditation from agency called the [INAUDIBLE]. That's a major organization that accredits. We maintain [INAUDIBLE] data where you can look at what are our outcomes in terms of employment, what kind of things are students doing when they finish the program?
We look at graduation rates, we look at GPA of our students. We look at demographic profiles of students. We look at retention. We look at the different sectors we have available. Those are all things I think are good to research. So you really feel you have informed sense about the program you go into.
The other thing is really check out, look at admission, procedures on campus. So you click on this and you're going to go to this next part of the website that kind of takes you through step by step of the applications.
And the main one I would focus on is up here. You got two major applications. You have something called Cal State apply. That takes you to Cal State apply. And you have rehabilitation counseling program application. So those are totally two separate applications.
And the Cal State apply, this is where you get into the Cal State University system. There's two things that they have to have -- everything else you can disregard -- they're going to ask you some additional questions, just disregard that. All you have to have for Cal State apply are GRE score, Craig will get them or I will get them.

>> The official scores have to go to graduate admissions. And then the second thing is any post-secondary experience, all your official transcript from any kind of post-secondary experience goes to graduate admissions. Here at Cal State apply. And the deadline for both your transfer and and GRE scores are April 2019. So you really wanted to make sure you get it in by that point.
With the GRE, we don't put a lot of weight on it. So I wouldn't take a study course, I wouldn't spend thousands of dollars to prepare for it. It's something you have to have. But you do have to have GRE scores when you apply to the program.
And then the other thing that's going to be I think is we're going to look at more closely which is going to be applying to the department directly, separate set of applications.
So this goes through something called [INAUDIBLE] an online system where you can upload all of your documents. So you're never going to mail us the physical mail. You're never going to mail, just electronically.
So if you're at this website, you upload a resume, a statement of purpose -- it's like can be any length of space. It's really up to you to be able to articulate your reasons for wanting to be in this program. And I mentioned when we do interview for admission, we'll ask you a lot of questions about what you write in your statement of purpose. And then the last thing is you'll give email addresses of letter writers, a professor, somebody who supervised you. You're going to think I'm joking but it's true. Don't have, like, your mom or dad something like that write your letter. We have had family members write letters. We assume they're probably going to say you're great. We don't want a family member or friend, it really should be a professional relation.
This system will send a request to write a letter on your behalf. You're never asking them directly. It goes through the system. And then when all your materials are uploaded, then Mark, myself, the other faculty members, we can access all of your materials that you uploaded into the system.
And that deadline is April 1st 2019.

>> Someone you work for?

>> I would say at least one supervisor and at least one who has been a former professor. Yeah?


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>> Yeah, if you think that person could speak to you, you know, I guess in some capacities it might be helpful. I think probably it would carry more weight to have a professor of an undergraduate program. Okay, great. Those are good.
You know, if you're wondering [INAUDIBLE] you can always email me and then just say how does this sound as far as letter writers? I can get back to you and say this would be or this would be a better choice. But I think that would work.
And let's go back to Cal State apply. Here's another really hard deadline, March 1st 2019 which is when you have to give it to the system. You have to start an application. And then you got -- you have up until April 1st to actually get it in. We don't have control over deadlines or extensions.
And the other thing would be with the GRE, if you use academic [INAUDIBLE] for that test I would start that process and applying for that right now. Because it takes quite a long time for the GRE testing people to get that in place. You know, you don't want to put that off too long.
And then typically when you take the GRE, takes about four weeks for the scores to get to you. If you're waiting until March, that might be pushing in terms of getting the scores in on time.
And then once we get all your materials, we schedule interviews as they come in. If we think you're a good candidate interview for the program, like if you get everything in by the end of January, we would schedule an interview at that time. You might get admitted at that time.
So I mean, don't feel like you have to put it off until March or April.
Mark, anything you would add?


>> Yes.

>> If we have the GRE, we have to wait -- the GRE will have to call, they just send it to you.

>> Yes [INAUDIBLE]. Some people have their application [INAUDIBLE].


>> Yeah, some people will mail it. But a lot of schools do it electronically.

>> Okay.


>> It's got to be official. If it's not official transcripts, we won't take them.


>> Also make sure [INAUDIBLE].


>> We automatically get your grades.

>> The transcript, yeah.

>> You have to do other things like apply.

>> Transcripts, yes.

>> I graduated from [INAUDIBLE] but I transferred from City College. So do I need to get the transcript from City College? Okay.

>> If you have anything to add, I would say -- with respect to applications, I mean, it's all important but [INAUDIBLE] personal statement. You know? So if there's anything that I would say, take that pretty seriously, I would take that part pretty seriously.

>> Yes.


>> Not at the same time. But if we have had siblings who have graduated like in different years. We've had a parent and child. Two parents and one child.

>> And we even had one student go into labor in our class. There's all sorts of family and things that happen. But yeah, I think two students at the same time that's probably -- I think that hasn't happened.


>> No, we will totally treat you as unique individuals. It's not going to have any bearing on -- yeah. I mean, as long as you have different ID numbers. You'll probably have two different faculty members.

>> I have a plethora of questions, but I'd rather ask them individually.

>> Sure. Absolutely.

>> We'll hang out for a little bit afterwards.

>> Thank you.

>> As I said, you know everyone who came here tonight. We'll have the URL's we showed here tonight for applying. I'll have Craig and my information. We definitely want you to stay in contact with us. I think Craig mentioned there's no amount of time that would be annoying to us to contact us. I really want to reinforce that. If you have questions, we want to be here and answer those, be as supportive as we can through the application process.
But I think that's about it. So really appreciate you being here tonight. Spending some time with us. We hope to see your application.

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