What Are Popular Entry-Level Jobs in Mental Health?

Mental health counseling is a field that covers many different areas and specialties. Read on to learn more about these specialties as well as requirements for entry-level jobs in this field. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


Community mental health centers, outpatient mental health clinics, drug treatment centers and hospitals are just some of the institutions that offer entry-level jobs in mental health. Many popular entry-level jobs in mental health are offered in the areas of counseling or family services.

Important Facts about this Career

Mental Health CounselorsSocial Workers
Job Outlook29% expected increase in employment by 2022* (much faster than average)19% (faster than average)
Entry-Level EducationMaster's degreeBachelor's degree; master's degree required for some positions
Training2-4,000 hours working in a clinic under supervisionMandatory internship or supervised work in the field
Certification/LicensingLicense requiredLicensure or certification required in all states; specific requirements different in each state



Entry-level counseling positions can be found at community care centers or mental health facilities. You can find various entry-level jobs in different positions, such as admissions counseling for incoming patients or counseling for drug treatment programs. Positions as a counselor aide may also be found in these work environments. Popular mental health entry-level counselor positions include:

  • Adult mental health counselor
  • Youth counselor
  • Drug/substance abuse counselor
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselor
  • Respite counselor
  • Intake and admissions counselor

What Can I Earn?

Your income as a counselor will greatly depend on which specialty area you choose. PayScale.com reported in September 2015 that entry-level mental health counselors earned a median income of $37,005. Also, the website reported that entry-level substance abuse counselors earned a median annual income of $33,390.

Social Worker

Entry-level jobs in social work are popular for professionals entering the field of mental health. As a social worker, you'll help people cope with mental health issues, such as substance abuse or mental illness, among other problems. These types of social workers may be referred to as clinical social workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). These entry-level mental health jobs can generally be found at state or local government agencies, family services agencies, hospitals or schools. Some popular entry-level jobs in this area include child protection worker, youth services worker, program coordinator or rehabilitation assistant.

What Can I Earn?

According to PayScale.com, entry-level social workers earned a median annual income of $39,252 in September 2015. However, it's important to remember that where you work may affect how much you earn.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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