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All About Mental Health Counselors

Example of Mental Health Counselor Job 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.

Life As a Mental Health Counselor: What Do They Do?

  • Plan or conduct programs to prevent substance abuse or improve community health or counseling services.
  • Perform crisis interventions with clients.
  • Assess patients for risk of suicide attempts.
  • Monitor clients’ use of medications.
  • Develop and implement treatment plans based on clinical experience and knowledge.
  • Modify treatment activities or approaches as needed to comply with changes in clients’ status.

What Every Mental Health Counselor Should Know

These are the skills Mental Health Counselors say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

  • Behavior Analyst
  • Residential Child Care Counselor
  • Therapist
  • Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Mental Health Program Specialist

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. There will be an estimated 21,600 positions for Mental Health Counselor per year.

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.

Tools & Technologies Used by Mental Health Counselors

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

Becoming a Mental Health Counselor

Individuals working as a Mental Health Counselor have obtained the following education levels:

Mental Health Counselor Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Mental Health Counselor?

Mental Health Counselor Work Experience

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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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