professionals who assist individuals and groups with their personal
problems in order to help them become more self-sufficient. Individuals
that specialize in mental health counseling concentrate on promoting
optimum mental health through various programs and services. They help
individuals deal with suicidal impulses, self-esteem issues, addictions
and substance abuse, stress management, job and career concerns, marital
problems, educational decisions, and issues associated with aging.
Beginning with the interview process, mental health counselors make
observations that help them determine a treatment plan that will
accomplish their client’s goals. They often use personality, aptitude, and
psychological tests to determine more precisely the needs of a particular
patient. They often work closely with other mental health professionals
including psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to ensure that
all of the patient’s needs are being met. Mental health counselors are
also responsible for maintaining records of tests and counseling services,
and making sure that all records are kept confidential. They frequently
conduct research and report their findings in professional and trade
journals. Anyone interested in a career as a mental health counselor
should be emotionally stable, sensitive to people’s feelings, and have
excellent oral and written communication skills.
Mental health counselors are employed in a
variety of settings including private practice, hospitals, correctional
institutions, mental health clinics, schools and universities, drug and
alcohol rehabilitation centers, halfway houses, and residential care
facilities. They may work long, irregular hours including nights and
High School Preparation:
interested in a career in mental health counseling should take high school
courses in biology, geometry, algebra, English, health occupations/medical
professions education, sociology, literature, psychology, computer skills,
social studies, and speech.
Individuals interested in mental health
counseling must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in counseling,
psychology, education, sociology, or social work. Most employment
opportunities for mental health counselors require a master’s degree or a
doctoral degree. Voluntary certification is available through The National
Board of Certified Counselors. An internship, a taped sample of clinical
work, or other professional experience, as well as passing a written
examination is required to receive this certification.
Students interested in counseling should
contact schools for information on admission and course of study.
For educational institutions in
offering this course of study click here.
Employment opportunities for mental
health counselors are expected to grow faster than the average for all
other occupations through the year 2012. The demand for mental health
professionals will continue to increase due to the increasing availability
of federal funds to construct and improve statewide mental health
networks. Mental health counselors are also becoming increasingly involved
in crisis management and preventative counseling as it relates to young
people. Another boom in employment will result from employers who are
increasingly offering employee assistance programs that provide mental
health and substance abuse programs. Employment will also increase as many
counselors retire or leave the profession for other reasons.
with education and experience
Health Counselors Association
801 N. Fairfax
Street, Suite 304
Fax: (703) 548-4775