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Mental Health Counselor

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All About Mental Health Counselors

Career Description Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.

A Day in the Life of a Mental Health Counselor

  • Modify treatment activities or approaches as needed to comply with changes in clients’ status.
  • Maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients’ treatment.
  • Act as client advocates to coordinate required services or to resolve emergency problems in crisis situations.
  • Guide clients in the development of skills or strategies for dealing with their problems.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling programs on clients’ progress in resolving identified problems and moving towards defined objectives.
  • Supervise other counselors, social service staff, assistants, or graduate students.

Mental Health Counselor Required Skills

Mental Health Counselors state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Other Mental Health Counselor Job Titles

  • Mental Health Case Manager
  • Behavior Analyst
  • Mental Health Specialist
  • Mental Health Clinician
  • Group Home Counselor

What Kind of Mental Health Counselor Job Opportunities Are There?

In the United States, there were 157,700 jobs for Mental Health Counselor in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 23.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 36,500 new jobs for Mental Health Counselor by 2026. The BLS estimates 21,600 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Mental Health Counselors in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Mental Health Counselor are Utah, Arizona, and Virginia. Watch out if you plan on working in Illinois, Kansas, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What Tools do Mental Health Counselors Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Mental Health Counselors:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Database software
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Oracle PeopleSoft
  • Scheduling software
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Statistical software
  • Patient electronic medical record EMR software
  • Netscape Navigator
  • Management information systems MIS
  • Office suite software

How to Become a Mental Health Counselor

What kind of Mental Health Counselor requirements are there?

Mental Health Counselor Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Mental Health Counselor?

Mental Health Counselor Work Experience

Career changers with experience as a Mental Health Counselor sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Katie Spencer via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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