Rehabilitation Technology Certificate

The purpose of this certificate is to train interested engineers and non-engineers in the field of rehabilitation technology using formal classroom instruction, project design and fabrication, and internship. Enrollment in this certificate program will provide interested engineering students exposure to rehabilitation technology. For non-engineering rehabilitation professionals (e.g., vocational rehabilitation counselors, special education teachers, transition and supported employment specialists), the certificate program will provided specialty training in the application of rehabilitation technology.

Potential employment opportunities include positions in a variety of settings, e.g., public/private schools (K-12), postsecondary education (community college, university), assistive technology assessment centers, state departments of rehabilitation, community rehabilitation programs or other non-profits, independent living centers, rehabilitation centers, recreational programs, or other projects funded through private or government resources related to the assessment, identification, and/or acquisition of assistive technology devices and/or services.

Application Process

Students interested in pursuing this certificate must first be accepted to the San Diego State University Graduate Division. After application, a student must submit unofficial undergraduate transcripts (official transcripts not required) and a letter of application to Drs. Saia and Töreyin. The 1-2 page letter of application should describe the student’s interest in the Certificate, why he/she wants to pursue it, and what he/she hopes to do upon completion of the program. These items are to be submitted in the Program Application. Prospective student interviews are held with both program advisors to discuss the certificate process and individual student objectives. The Application for a Graduate Certificate Program must be signed by Dr. Töreyin and submitted to the Graduate Division. The Application for Completion of a Graduate Certificate Program must be completed and signed after completion of coursework and internship hours. The Certificate is then issued by the Graduate Division and mailed to the student.

For more information, or to submit letters of interest:

Toni Saia, Ph.D., CRC, LAC
Department of Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education
San Diego State University
Email: [email protected]

Hakan Töreyin, Ph.D.
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
San Diego State University
Email: [email protected]

Specifically, the certificate program will offer the following:

  • Expose graduate rehabilitation and engineering students to the problems and promises of rehabilitation engineering as a field of specialization.
  • Provide a number of interrelated training activities that will improve the professional competence of employed rehabilitation workers.
  • Provide opportunities for extensive training, in the form of extended internships with knowledgeable rehabilitation professionals whose backgrounds are in such specializations as: communicative disorders, rehabilitation engineering, physical and occupational therapy, rehabilitation electronics, prosthetics and orthotics, rehabilitation counseling, special education, biomechanics, etc.
  • Both formal classroom instruction and guided problem-solving opportunities in designing, building, customizing, and delivering rehabilitation technology for enhancing the integration of individuals with disabilities into school, residential, community, and employment settings.

This is an advanced trans-disciplinary academic certificate at the post-baccalaureate level. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in engineering, rehabilitation, or special education, or a related allied health field. Students admitted into the program must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in all certificate coursework with no less than a grade of “C” in all courses. Depending on the background and work experience, students may be required to remove deficiencies through additional coursework as part of the certificate requirements.

Students in the certificate program will complete 12 units of formal coursework and one semester of internship (200 hours) as described below unless the program advisors approve alternative courses.

This post-baccalaureate certificate program may be completed as an area of specialization within the MS in Rehabilitation Counseling, or as a stand-alone certificate program. As a stand-alone program, the 15-unit certificate typically takes 3 semesters at part-time status (i.e., 6 units or less), due to scheduling of courses, or about 16 months. If taken while enrolled in the MS degree program, the 15 units are embedded in the 60-unit degree. Students typically finish the degree and certificate in 2.5 to 3 years as full time students (i.e., at least 9 units/semester). Students then earn both the MS degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and the Certificate in Rehabilitation Technology.

View the Federal Financial Aid Disclosure for this certificate program.

Certificate Courses

ARP 607
(Applications of Rehabilitation Technology, 3 units)
Equips rehabilitation professionals with the knowledge and skills to: 1) help an individual with disabilities assess their potential need for assistive technology; 2) to assist in matching those needs with appropriate recommendations for adaptations, equipment, and/or services to expand vocational opportunities; and 3) to access information about assistive technology resources appropriate for work, home, and other community environments. Students will have access to AT users and other colleagues from rehabilitation engineering, occupational/physical/speech therapy, and electrical and mechanical engineering in order to brainstorm ideas for modifications and adaptations. Course content will include research on state-of-the-art assistive technology devices and service delivery systems, person-driven assessment strategies, approaches for accessing funding and other community resources, and models for collaborating with individuals with disabilities, their families and significant others, and professionals in order to effectively integrate the assistive technology into the user’s lifestyle.

Electrical Engineering 502
(Electronic Devices for Rehabilitation, 3 units)
Acquaints students with the design and application of electronic devices used in rehabilitation, explains the assistive technology needs of people with disabilities, and presents possible solutions. This is a non-traditional and practical electrical engineering course that requires student involvement in the collaborative assessment of people with disabilities for their cognitive, communicative, and physical abilities.

Administration, Rehabilitation, and Postsecondary Education 685A
(Medical and Psychological Aspects of Disability, 3 units)
Covers the impact of different disabilities (e.g., visual and sensory impairments, orthopedic impairments, burns, amputation, chronic pain, cancer, developmental and learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries) in terms of functional limitations, rehabilitative services needed, and environmental adjustments required.

Electrical Engineering 798
(Special Study in Rehabilitation Technology Design, 3 units)
Provides students hands-on opportunities to work with rehabilitation professionals, occupational and physical therapists, and other non-engineers on technology teams in the design and fabrication of customized adaptations for persons with disabilities.

A formal course proposal is required for this special individual studies course. The 1-2 page proposal should emphasize the technical nature of the proposed activities and include specific goals and objectives, a proposed timeline for project completion, and the expected outcome (e.g., research study, assistive technology project). This proposal must be approved by the advisor, Dr. Töreyin, before students are eligible to enroll in the course. Students are expected to meet regularly with Dr. Töreyin throughout the semester to report on the progress of the study.

Internship ARP 745
(one semester, 3 units, 200 hours)
Provides guided field experience through placement with knowledgeable practicing rehabilitation professionals in such settings as the Sharp Rehabilitation Center, Access Center of San Diego (independent-living center [ILC]), SDSU SASC High Tech Center, the California Department of Rehabilitation, Community College DSPS and High Tech Centers, community rehabilitation programs, vendored assistive technology programs, and transition programs within school districts. Students are required to electronically submit weekly logs to document their hours, activities, and reflections to the faculty supervisor. A focus activity is required for the internship that must be documented in a short report. Details are provided in the internship seminar syllabus and student handbook.