What Are My Career Options with a Mental Health Counseling Degree?

Graduates who have earned master's degrees in mental health counseling may have career options that include working as substance abuse counselors, disaster counselors, or marriage and family counselors. Mental health counselors work in schools, clinics, hospitals, and mental health treatment centers. Read on for more information about mental health counseling career options. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counselors typically hold graduate degrees in mental health counseling as well as state-issued counseling licenses. These licenses are required by most states. Mental health counselors, sometimes referred to as licensed professional counselors, are trained to assist individuals, couples, and families with psychological, emotional, and social problems. They often work in concert with psychologists and mental health doctors such as psychiatrists. Career options for mental health counselors include working in private practice, schools, hospitals or community health clinics. Counselors may specialize in areas such as substance abuse, disaster counseling, and marriage and family counseling.

Important Facts About Career Options in the Laboratory Sciences

Occupation Median Salary (2014) Job Outlook (2014-2024) Work EnvironmentSimilar Occupations
Mental health counselors $40,850 20% growth Full-time with possible evening and weekend appointments Psychologists; physicians; social workers
Substance abuse counselors $39,270 22% growth Full-time, but your place of employment may require evenings, weekends, or holidays Rehabilitation counselors; social workers; social and human service assistants
Marriage and family counselors $48,040 15% growth Full-time with possible evening and weekend appointments Psychologists; social and community service managers; social workers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Substance Abuse Counselors

The overuse or abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs can cause death and psychiatric and behavioral problems. Mental health counselors who specialize in substance abuse counseling are prepared to treat individuals and groups who struggle with addictions to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. These mental health counselors often work in clinics and treatment centers. Substance abuse counselors may be called upon to intervene in situations where a substance abuser will not seek help on his or her own. The counselor then uses intervention therapy to help both the abuser and their family members by assessing the situation, identifying an appropriate treatment center, transporting the abuser to the center, and coordinating services.

Marriage and Family Counselors

Some mental health counselors work with married couples and families who are having difficulties in their relationships. A marriage and family counselor diagnoses behavioral and emotional problems that may be causing a family's conflicts. Using psychotherapy and behavior counseling, a mental health counselor helps families understand and resolve their problems. The counselor works individually with each family member and with the family as a whole during therapy sessions.

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