May 25, 2011

Human services workers can earn master's online

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Professionals in the field of rehabilitation administration can now earn their master's degrees completely online through a new program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The College of Education and Human Services’ Rehabilitation Institute is offering for the first time this fall an executive master’s in rehabilitation administration online degree program.

“This program targets individuals with bachelor’s degrees who are already working in the field, who have human services experience and want to enhance their educational credentials and improve their employment opportunities. This is a degree program specifically designed to attract human services workers who are working and unable to come to campus to take classes. The Executive Master’s in Rehabilitation Administration (EMRA) allows them to obtain their master’s degree online, through a combination of individualized study and online class meetings, from the comfort of their own homes or the convenience of their offices,” said Carl Flowers, associate professor of rehabilitation counseling and coordinator of the online program.

Flowers said SIUC began offering the executive master’s program two years ago on campus and at off-campus locations. The new online option allows students to earn their master’s completely online in approximately two years. The curriculum utilizes innovative and non-traditional approaches to graduate training in rehabilitation administration, management and supervision, according to Flowers.

In addition to meeting the program and SIUC graduate school admission criteria, those admitted to this program must also have a minimum of three years experience in the field. Essentially, the online program enables students to complete their degrees by taking 33 credit hours of coursework as their practical experience replaces the practicum and internship typically required to earn the master’s degree, Flowers said.

The EMRA replaces the Rehabilitation Institute’s off-campus Concentrated Rehabilitation Training Program (CRTP), a 45-hour program offered at SIUC and off-campus Springfield and Chicago sites since 1974, he said.

“There is a huge need out there in a number of areas for a program like ours that enables people who are now working in the field to get their master’s degrees. It is becoming more common for a master’s degree to be a requirement for those holding rehabilitation administration positions and our program is one of just a few of its kind in the country,” said John Benshoff, director of the Rehabilitation Institute.

The executive master’s in rehabilitation administration program prepares students for careers as administrators, directors, program coordinators, supervisors, vocational evaluators and adjustment specialists, while helping the rehabilitation administrators improve research skills and enhance their professional knowledge and skills as they continue to fulfill their professional and community responsibilities, according to Flowers.

For more information about the online executive master’s program, contact Michelle Mansfield at 618/453-8263 or by email at or Carl Flowers at 618/453-8280 or by emailing