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Voc Rehab Benefits for STEM Grad Program

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Good afternoon,

I recently received my disability rating of 40% and am currently finishing up my BS in Mechanical Engineering from UCSD. I have about a year left, with a projected GPA of 3.7 and I plan on pursuing a master's degree in MechE as well, possibly at another institution. That said, these are my questions:

1)   If I get accepted for Voc-Rehab, I would like to extend these benefits to cover my master's degree, but how would I sell this to my counselor? For my field of study in particular, entering the workforce with an undergrad is all I really need, and this is a pretty well known fact. Entering the workforce with a Master's would certainly be more beneficial for me personally in that I would have a higher starting salary and similar perks, but it isn't needed to just "get a job." 

2)   I have heard of STEM majors telling their counselor that they plan on teaching at a community college or university, where having a master's or PHD is a mandatory credential (respectively). While I do NOT plan on teaching, could I use this "career path" to sell them on approving me for a graduate program, then simply "change my mind" and pursue a career in the workforce instead of teaching, just before I'm done with my graduate program? I ask because I hear these things all the time from different sources and I don't know how true they are.

3)   What kind of hard evidence / data would I need to sell my counselor on approving me for a graduate program, whether I choose to "pursue a teaching career" or directly tell them that I desire to have a Master's degree?

4)   For job placement, to what degree does the Voc-rehab program offer assistance? For example, if I have the skill sets and credentials to get a "top tier" job at a more prestigious company, how far will voc-rehab go (and how long) to work with me on getting this desired job? I ask because I don't know very much about this program and I'm envisioning it as like the California Employment Development Department where they simply place you somewhere so you're not unemployed. Hypothetically speaking, if I am willing to spend 6 months to a year to find a very desirable job at a very desirable company, do what degree will they put up with me in doing so? I already understand the reality of this situation from a workforce perspective and so I simply need feedback only as it pertains to the scope of the voc-rehab in this matter. Thanks!!


James Hennninger

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