What Education Is Required for a Mental Health Counseling Career?

Mental health counselors are not required to have as much education as psychiatrists. Job duties vary greatly according to career roles and specializations, which may include substance abuse counseling, group counseling, or family counseling. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education Requirements

Mental health counselor's typically need a master's degree in psychology, social work, counseling, or a related field. Counselors also need a license in order to practice.

Important Facts About This Degree

Prerequisites Most master's programs require bachelor's degree
Common Courses Ethics, human development, counseling techniques, substance abuse counseling, psychopathology, career development, assessment techniques
Online Availability Offered partially online; many programs may include internships or field work
Continuing Education Necessary to maintain certification

Certification and Licensure

For licensure in mental health counseling, educational requirements are more advanced. Licensure candidates must have a master's degree in counseling and between 2,000 - 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. They must also pass a state exam.

Those who wish to earn the National Certified Counselor credential through the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. must hold a master's degree in counseling from a regionally accredited university, have at least 3,000 hours of field experience, 100 of which should be supervised, and earn a passing score on the board's exam. This is a voluntary advanced certification and separate from general licensure, but may enhance employability.

Career Options

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines mental health counselors as practitioners who assist people with emotional and social problems. Mental health counselors may be tasked with a wide range of duties depending on the field in which they specialize and the population they serve. The BLS projects that the overall mental health counseling field will grow by 29% between 2012 and 2022.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Maryville University

    Maryville University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Maryville University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

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