Careers in Mental Health Counseling
Mental Health Counselor Job Outlook
- Children: Counselors who take courses with an emphasis in child and adolescent mental and behavioral health care are needed to address the increasing mental health concerns for youth in the United States.2
- Veterans: Approximately 20 million military veterans reside in the U.S.,3 and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as local communities, need more research and mental health services to meet their needs. Counselors may fill these gaps.
- Adults with addiction: Individuals who struggle with substance use, particularly with opioid addiction, are in need of treatment from mental health counselors.4
Mental Health Counselor Jobs
Mental Health Counseling Job Titles
- Staff therapist: In this position, therapists will counsel individuals or groups regarding psychological, emotional, or behavioral problems. New staff therapists may work under the supervision of seasoned licensed therapists until they are fully licensed.
- Psychotherapist: Using a range of research- and practice-based techniques, psychotherapists help and treat individuals experiencing emotional and psychological difficulties.
- Substance use counselor: Counselors who specialize in substance use and other behavioral disorders—such as alcoholism, drug addiction, gaming disorder, and eating disorders—help clients modify destructive behaviors.
- Career counselor: These counselors guide adults and college students who are unemployed, entering the workforce, or looking to make a change. Career counselors may need licensure depending on state requirements.
- Clinical director: Often found in nursing homes, rehab facilities, behavioral health clinics, and health care clinics, clinical directors oversee hiring, scheduling, and supervision within an agency. A license may or may not be required to hold this job.
- Human resources manager: Counselors in HR departments may maintain an employee handbook, improve recruitment and retention, create a certain company culture, or develop performance assessment models. A license may not be required to fulfill this role.
Mental Health Job Settings
Mental Health Counselor Salary
Skills Needed for Clinical Mental Health Counseling Jobs
- Diagnose conditions that cause people to seek therapy.
- Evaluate clients’ mental and physical health, barriers to wellness, or problematic behavior and recommend treatment plans.
- Work with clients to identify behaviors or situations that interfere with achieving mental wellness.
- Assist clients in developing skills and behaviors necessary to cope with difficult situations, modify their behavior, or overcome mental and emotional barriers.
- Refer clients to other mental health professionals as needed, such as social workers or psychiatrists, to create a well-rounded plan for mental wellness.