A mental health counselor is a trained professional who specializes in diagnosing, assessing, and treating mental illnesses. Counselors work with individuals, couples, and families to help them achieve emotional health and wellness. This career path can be rewarding both personally and financially. But before you embark on this road, there are several things to consider. Longevity Live Paid Content.
Why Pursue a Career as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor?
Licensed mental health counselors are in high demand. As the population ages and the need for mental health services increases, opportunities for licensed counselors are expected to multiply over the next decade.
In addition, research has shown that counseling can be effective in helping people manage their symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. By helping others cope with these issues, you can make a difference in their lives and help improve overall mental health throughout your community.
More jobs for mental health counselors
A report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for licensed mental health counselors (LMHC) is estimated to increase by 23% from 2020 to 2030.
The rate is much faster than the average rate of other professions. One reason for this growth is that people with various issues require help and may not know where to turn. For example, licensed mental health counselors can assist with substance abuse, trauma, stress disorders, depression, or anxiety.
Dealing with grief, retirement, loss and other stressors
Additionally, licensed mental health counselors work with clients on specific problems or issues, such as grief or relationship difficulties. They also assist in coping with life changes such as divorce or the death of a spouse or loved one, remarriage, loss of job, and retirement. An LMHC also helps to overcome stress from moving away from home, losing friends who move away from town/city or moving into assisted living facilities at an elderly age.
To be a mental health counselor is a promising and rewarding career. You can make a fortune by helping people recover from mental trauma. In addition, you can easily make a hefty earning by practicing from anywhere around the country.
Becoming a mental health counselor in New York or any other big city will provide more opportunities for a booming career. These professionals with master’s degrees can earn up to $200,000 a year in 2022, while the average salary of undergraduates can range between $50,000-$100,000 annually.
Steps to Become a Mental Health Counselor
Choose Your Specialization
There are different types of mental health counselors, all with their career opportunities, education requirements, and salary ranges. If you want to specialize in a certain area, like substance abuse counseling or marriage and family therapy, you need to complete additional coursework at the master’s level. For example: if you want to work in substance abuse counseling, it’s great to undertake any undergraduate classes on drugs and alcohol. But if you have not taken such classes yet, then your best bet would be to enroll in an MSW program first.
Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree and Get Extensive Clinical Experience
There are specific educational requirements to become a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC). To treat clients with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, these professionals require roughly 700 hours per year of supervised clinical.
Earn a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling
To earn a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling program, you must complete around 60 credits. It takes about 30 months to complete the program. This degree gives students the skills needed to work as mental health counselors.
The Master of Mental Health Counseling program offers an academically rigorous curriculum taught by experienced faculty who are leaders in their fields. The program is designed to give students opportunities to gain hands-on experience. It includes understanding clinical settings through practicum courses and field education experiences. It also provides an opportunity for students to obtain an internship while enrolled in their final year of study.
Complete Fieldwork Experience after Graduation
It is necessary to have fieldwork experience after completing graduation. The fieldwork experience is a unique and challenging opportunity to learn more about the field of mental health counseling. In addition, you will experience working with clients struggling with various issues, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Working with these clients gives a better understanding of how to help people who are going through difficult times.
Obtain Your State License as a Mental Health Counselor
To obtain your state license, you must complete all the appropriate prerequisites for an undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution. It includes courses in psychology, sociology, social work, and counseling.
You also need to complete an internship at a mental health clinic or agency that the state board approved for psychology or social work. The internship must last roughly 36 months of full-time counseling under clinical supervision.
You are required to pass the examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). This examination is a standardized test to get a license to practice as a mental health counselor. It measures your knowledge of the theory, principles, and techniques of the practice of psychology. The EPPP is administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). This organization establishes licensing standards for psychologists across the country.
A licensed mental health counselor is a master in the art of helping people. They can guide and help those suffering from a mental illness and prevent them from relapsing into their previous condition. You can achieve it through psychotherapy sessions and other interventions that improve one’s quality of life.
A Licensed Mental Health Counselor needs to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work. These degrees will provide the necessary knowledge about human behavior, the causes of mental illnesses, and how to treat them effectively. It also gives the knowledge to use various methods, including talk therapy or medication therapy. A master’s degree may be required if they wish to specialize in certain types of patients.