How to Become a Mental Health Counselor

How to Become a Mental Health Counselor

As more people seek counseling for various emotional, psychological and behavioral issues, the demand for mental health professionals increases. When quality of life is impacted by problems or disorders that prevent a person from functioning well on a daily basis, trained professionals may be required to help them achieve and maintain a sense of mental stability. This is the goal of the mental health counselor.

What does a mental health counselor do?

The responsibilities of a mental health counselor are vast in scope. The counselor’s aim is to fpromote mental health and wellness by addressing the needs of clients on either an individual or group basis. Mental health counselors rely on their education and experience to apply methods designed to treat people struggling with issues such as stress, depression, substance abuse, and grief.

Mental health counselors are trained to offefr advice and to redirect negative thought processes into positive, productive attitudes, with regard to events in the client’s life. Those who are employed as counselors in the mental health field often consult with professionals in related careers including psychologists, school counselors, clinical social workers and psychiatrists.

The majority of mental health counselors work in a private setting, though some may establish their practice in a hospital or community health setting. They tend to have flexible schedules in order to meet the needs of busy clients who require counseling sessions in the evening or during the weekend. Click here to find out how to become a mental health counselor.

What kind of training does a mental health counselor need?

While some states will grant a counseling license to those who have earned a bachelor degree in mental health, most require the completion of an accredited master degree program that consists of 48 to 60 semester hours and two years of supervised training in a mental health clinic. Students may focus on specializations such as clinical mental health or community counseling. Courses are generally concentrated in areas such as human growth and development, group work, assessment and relationships.

Most states allow only licensed mental health counselors to practice. Licensure can be earned through the completion of a master’s program, clinical training and the passing of a state exam. Counselors may also opt for national mental health certification through additional prerequisites that include passing a board exam and receiving professional recommendations. Click here to get a list of online mental health degree programs.

What are the prospects for a career as a mental health counselor?

Mental health careers, including other counselor jobs are expected to grow by 30,000 between 2006 and 2016, with high demand for specialists in child and family counseling through state-run programs. (1) Click here for a list of programs to get your mental health degree online.

How much do mental health counselors make?

Mental health counselor salary in the United States is between $26,236 to $44,076, with the average being around $35,000 yearly. (2)

Mental health counselor careers can be rewarding for people who desire to assist others in addressing and resolving their problems and value the concepts of confidentiality, trust and respect.

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