Mental Health Counselor Career

mental-health-counselor-500Mental health counselors help individuals manage and heal from mental and emotional disorders and problems. These problems may manifest themselves in their relationships with family members, work colleagues and friends. In order to be a good mental health counselor, you need to be able to listen to clients, ask questions to help them understand their issues, and develop strategies to improve their situations.

As a mental health counselor, you might diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders like anxiety and depression, encourage clients to discuss their experiences and feelings about those experiences, and help clients process difficult changes in their lives.

Mental Health Counselor Career Snapshot

Mental health counselors tend to work in individual and family services, outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers, hospitals and government agencies.

Further details on a career as a mental health counselor are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly pay for mental health counselors.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Master’s degree while 34% have a Bachelor’s degree.

Mental Health Counselor Education

Mental health counselors typically have a master’s degree, although some practice with a bachelor’s degree as well.

Mental Health Counselor Job Duties

As a mental health counselor, you might be asked to work with clients who are going through difficult life changes such as divorce or loss of employment, or you might work with people who have had traumatic childhoods or suffered difficult situations as an adult. You would work to help guide clients in making decisions about their lives as they move forward.

Mental health counselors may help clients employ strategies and skills to help change harmful behavior or deal with difficult situations. If you select this field, you may also work with other mental health professionals in the community to provide additional services such as group therapy, support groups or inpatient treatment units at hospitals.

Mental Health Counselor Salaries

If you choose to be a mental health counselor, you might start your career earning around $26,300 according to May 2015 statistics. Most in this field earn around $43,880, and top performers can make upwards of $68,790.

Mental Health Counselor Job Outlook

As a mental health counselor, you have a positive job outlook with growth projected around 20 percent from 2014 to 2024. Growth will be fueled by the fact that more insurance policies are covering mental health services.

Mental Health Counselor Skills & Traits

Mental Health Counselor Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Mental Health Counselors:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Social Perceptiveness
• Service Orientation
• Speaking
• Critical Thinking
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Inductive Reasoning
• Written Comprehension
• Blood pressure cuff kits
• Desktop/notebook computers
• Electronic medical thermometers
• Scanners
• Email software
• Caring for others
• Recording information
• Maintaining relationships
• Getting information
• Working with the public

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