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5 Careers for Mental Health Counselors

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].” Careers for mental health professionals include helping people manage mental illnesses such as depression, phobias and addiction as well as emotional issues involved in relationships. A master’s degree in social sciences is required. The average salary of a mental health counselor in 2015 was $43,190. Explore these five jobs for clinical 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 preparing treatment plans, conducting counseling sessions and performing psycho-educational interventions. Crisis management and familiarity with DSM IV are necessary. Most mental health counselors 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. A professional counseling license is preferred.

2. Careers Coach

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. The job coach 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. 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.

Related Resource: 20 Most Affordable Top Ranked Schools for an Online Master’s in Educational Psychology Degree

Political initiatives are spotlighting mental health issues. With a growth rate of 19 percent, the job outlook for careers for mental health counselors is positive.