Careers for mental health counselors are in great demand. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “In 2014, there were an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older with SMI [Serious Mental Illness].” If you’re looking to earn a degree in the counseling field or change up your current career path, mental health counseling may be a great option for you.
What is a Mental Health Counselor?
Mental health counseling services are a great way for individuals struggling with mental health challenges to find the help that they need. Mental health counselors work hard to be a safe place for their patients and help them find a treatment plan to help them learn healthy behavior and improve their lives. Mental health conditions are more common than most people think, making professionals counselors extremely valuable. There are many different career options for those looking to enter the world of mental health counseling. Some careers for these incredible mental health professionals include helping people manage mental illnesses such as depression, phobias and substance abuse, as well as emotional issues involved in relationships.
What Are the Education Requirements for Mental Health Counselors?
It is important to note that becoming a mental health counselor does require dedication and commitment. While a bachelor’s degree can open some doors, a master’s degree is the best path to take on your way to becoming a licensed mental health counselor. More specifically speaking, a master’s degree in social sciences is most commonly a requirement. However, the job outlook is high and the career has the opportunity to be lucrative. The average salary of a mental health counselor in 2015 was $43,190. Keep reading to learn about five great career options for mental health counseling…
1. School Mental Health Counselor
The National Alliance for Mental Illness reports that 50.6 percent of children ages 8-15 received mental health services in 2015. A position for a mental health counselor in a school requires one to develop treatment plans, conduct counseling sessions and perform psycho-educational interventions. Crisis management and familiarity with DSM IV are necessary. A mental health professional wanting this job must attend 28 hours of clinical training. School-based therapists work 1o months out of the year. The setting will likely be in a public school but may also include residential or outpatient clinics or a mental health center. Becoming a licensed professional counselor is preferred.
2. Careers Coach or Career Counselor
There were 168,200 positions for mental health counselors in 2015. Counselors with a specialty in career coaching and job readiness are in demand. This type of position may include program management and partnering with therapeutic or educational staff to meet company and individual employment goals. Career counselors may also teach and handle the certification of computer classes. They will be responsible for curriculum development for volunteers and will monitor the completion of classes. Career coaches may plan and execute transition plans for program participants.
3. Marriage and Family Therapist
A qualified therapist provides support for adults experiencing difficulties in their marriage. Negative emotional health can promote relationship issues, just as issues in a relationship can affect emotional health and overall wellness. A marriage and family therapist will provide structured counseling, address family dynamics and offer skills-building sessions for individuals and families. Therapists will complete assessments and execute treatment plans that may include multidisciplinary meetings in hospitals and schools. Marriage and family therapists use scholarly treatment methods to deliver the best care. Two years of counseling experience is often required and working with children under the age of 10 is common. The therapist performs a variety of tasks and is given latitude for creativity.
4. Chief Medical Officer
Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals employee approximately 6,770 individuals. A chief medical officer (CMO) provides supervision of a health care team. They assist with training and collaborate with corporate medical director. The CMO ensures compliance with hospice agencies and monitors the functions of all regulatory groups. They also track data needed to attain benchmarks for policy implementation and performance standards. The CMO addresses issues of concern affecting the quality of care and establishes policies and procedures. They assist with payroll, business plans and computer programs as well as attend OSHA and Medicare/Medicaid seminars. The CMO has a strong knowledge of federal and state regulations.
5. Clinical Social Worker
The industry with the highest concentration of employment includes outpatient care centers with 26,250 jobs including positions for clinical social workers. Clinical social workers help with planning, developing and implementing a facility’s social services programs according to government and local standards. They collaborate with administrative staff to identify medically related social needs of participants. Social workers complete resident assessments, forms and reports and submit them to the director. They maintain strict confidentiality of medical records and coordinate efforts with the family by providing relevant information. They also supervise financial assistance programs involving local agencies.
Entering the Field of Mental Health Counseling…
Aspiring mental health counselors may have their work cut out for them in terms of education and certifications, but society craves their work. Now more than ever, the world needs mental health professionals who are dedicated to their practice and truly care. Political initiatives are spotlighting mental health issues and the world needs skilled professionals in this field. With a growth rate of 19 percent, the job outlook for a careers as mental health counselors is positive. If you’re looking to find a career as a licensed mental health counselor so that you can help people with a wide array of mental health disorders, we wish you the best of luck.