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Addiction counselors and mental health counselors specialize in recognizing issues that challenge individuals and families, and providing the appropriate therapy and support. Working out of public and private treatment facilities, or with private clients, addiction and mental health counselors can make a real difference in many lives. Professionals in the addiction and mental health counseling field lay the groundwork for their career with rigorous academic studies, beginning with a bachelor’s degree followed by the mandatory master’s degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 86,100 addiction and mental health counselors were employed in 2008. The actual job estimate for addiction and mental health counselors look better than the BLS estimate. According to the BLS, addiction and mental health therapists made an annual median salary of $37,030 in 2008. Earnings for addiction and mental health counselors vary by the candidate's education and work history, and by the employer's industry. State employed addiction counselors were at the top of the pay scale, with a median annual salary of $45,350. Among mental health counselors, those who worked for local governments earned the most, with an annual median of $45,510.
Bachelor's and master's degrees in addiction counseling or mental health counseling are generally required for entry-level positions. The Occupational Information Network notes that the vast majority of professional counselors, nearly 73%, have a psychology degree at the bachelor level or higher.
Common addiction and mental health counseling programs generally include a curriculum that touches on areas like sociology, psychology, social and cultural sensitivity, human development, counseling techniques, diversity, and science classes specifically crafted to address the effects of substance abuse and other physically destructive disorders. In counseling positions, as with all professions, a significant gap in earnings exists between bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates: Median earnings of $64,116 per year for master’s degree holders compared to $52,624 for bachelor’s degree holders, according to 2008 BLS numbers. All levels of addiction and mental health counseling degrees can be found online at many online degree programs across the country. Online mental health and addiction counseling graduate programs, which are counted among the best, provide a master’s-level education that is similar to those pursued at a local ground school - namely, it is just as competitive and comprehensive.
Have you looked at the job placement and earnings data for this career field, and particularly this program? How many semester hours of graduate study are required in your psychology master’s degree program? Have you checked the licensing requirements of every state and does this program meet those specifications? Counselors of all kinds are professional listeners and communicators, with a strong desire to help others and to inspire respect.
Because counselors may work with large groups, organizational and time management skills are important, along with command presence and strong leadership skills. Addiction and mental health counselors work with hard cases, and their work can be unpleasant and stressful.
Addiction and mental health counselors often work as part of a counseling team in rehabilitation and treatment programs.
My job is to provide a safe and positive environment wherein people feel free to talk about problems or issues they are struggling with. Conducting initial mental health assessments, determining a diagnosis, and creating a treatment plan. I complete a session note for each and every appointment, it is important to complete the note within a couple of days of the appointment.
I am responisble for collecting payment and co-payment for each client and provide our billing personnel with the information needed to bill insurance companies.
I am available by phone for clients who are in crisis, and it is important that I respond non-emergency messages within 24 hours.
After taking a few years of and having two children, I began working as a part-time staff member for another private residential treatment center. After completing my master’s degree and internships, I was offered a position at a very small private practice. Being a Clinical Mental Health Counselor requires a master’s degree in mental health counseling. It is wise for someone who is going to be counseling others to receive counseling of their own.
In order to maintain a successful and full practice, clients need to like and respect their counselor.
I love being in a clean, positive atmosphere wherein I am allowed to express myself while assisting others.
Documentation is time-consuming and if not addressed on a daily basis, can quickly become overwhelming. Where do you see this profession going – for both yourself, and for someone just starting? Learn about the various types of counseling specialties and the degree you need to become a counselor.
Read on to learn about fields of counseling you can earn your degree in, including mental health counseling, school counseling, community counseling, rehabilitation counseling, substance abuse counseling, guidance counseling and vocational counseling. Mental Health Counselors help people cope with emotional and mental trauma such as depression, stress, addictions and substance abuse. Rehabilitation Counselors help people deal with the personal, social, and vocational effects of disabilities.
Both psychologists and counselors help people cope with emotional stress, but licensed clinical, counseling, or educational psychologists must have a doctorate in psychology, which requires 5-to-7 years of postgraduate work.
Once you become a counselor, you’ll generally divide your time between counseling patients, researching mental health issues and analyzing patient conditions. Marriage and family therapists use therapeutic techniques to treat individuals, family groups, or couples.
School Psychologist (MA, MS, EdS): Trained in psychology with an education and child development emphasis. Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor (MFT, MFCC- MA, MS): Training in psychology or social work. Most counselors have a post-bachelor’s graduate degree (MA or PhD) from a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited program. With a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, you might become one of the many who incorporate different therapies into treatment programs.
Rehabilitation counseling deals with assisting people with disabilities to reach specific life goals and improve their quality of life.
Read how a psychology professional made the switch to the career of her dreams as a life coach and career guide.
Counselors must earn a four-year undergraduate degree, and typically a master’s degree, in order to begin their practice.
Recreational therapists—also called therapeutic recreation specialists—have helped people who are mentally and physically injured become active. As a speech pathologist or therapist, you’ll evaluate and treat children and adults with speech, language and swallowing problems.
Whether a person has a physical, mental, developmental or emotional disability, rehabilitative counseling helps them achieve personal goals. If your passion for theology is as strong as your desire to counsel people in need, then you may want to consider a career in pastoral counseling. Counseling is a very broad category that encompasses many opportunities in any number of counseling subfields. Often, counselors will be one of the first resources available to people in need of emotional and psychological support. Here are answers to 7 frequently asked questions about counseling degree programs and the career you can have once you earn your degree. Once you complete your clinical psychology degree, your salary options are as wide open as the field itself.
Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in New Mexico. Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in New Jersey. Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in North Dakota. Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in Ohio.
New Hampshire offers many opportunities for those wishing to practice as a social worker, therapist, counselor or psychologist. Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in the state of Oklahoma. Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in Rhode Island.
Licensing is a critical and necessary step before you can become a practicing social worker, psychologist, therapist or counselor in Nevada. Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in South Dakota. Keep reading to learn about going to psychology school and getting licensed to practice in Nebraska.

Keep reading to learn about going to psychology school in Missouri, and what licensure you’ll need to practice in the state. In Mississippi, you’ll need to become licensed to practice in the helping professions.
Maine sets high standards of education and experience for people seeking to engage in the helping professions. Licensing is a necessary step before you can legally practice social work, psychology, therapy or professional counseling in Louisiana. What do you need to do to be licensed to practice in the helping professions in the state of Illinois? All you need to know to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in Utah. Licensing is a required step before you can become a practicing social worker, psychologist, therapist or counselor in Idaho.
If you would like to get the training and skills to help people cope with life issues, keep reading to learn about going to psychology school in Hawaii. Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in Vermont.
Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in Washington. If you want to get the education and skills to help people cope with mental health problems, keep reading to learn about getting licensed in Delaware. Connecticut is a great place to study to become a psychologist, social worker, therapist or professional counselor. Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in Wisconsin. Learn what you need to do to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor or therapist in West Virginia.
Learn all about Wyoming licensing requirements to become a psychologist, social worker, professional counselor and therapist. By requiring practitioners to get licensed, Alaska seeks to set high standards of education, training and experience. Alabama is a great place to study to become a social worker, therapist, counselor or psychologist. Read an interview with a licensed clinical MSW and get tips about safety in the field and taking care of yourself away from the stress of the job. You may be surprised to learn that there are many intriguing—and lucrative—positions for a graduate with only a bachelor in psychology degree. Find licensing requirements to become a psychologist, social worker, and more, in North Carolina. Find all the licensing requirements to be a psychologist, social worker, and more, in South Carolina. Read about the current trends in the field of social work and learn who you’ll help as a social worker.
An MSW Online is a great degree if you want to take your social work career to the next level. As a social worker, you advocate for others, be they young or old and you’ll work with clients from every station in life.
Get your psychology degree in Indiana and learn how you can have a great career in the Hoosier State.
Read about a marriage and family counselor’s entry into the field and her expert advice for new counseling students. Your compassion and commitment to helping people are the most important qualities for a successful career as a marriage and family therapist.
A master’s degree in counseling or marriage and family therapy is required in most states in order to begin practicing. Marriage and family therapists work in social services agencies, universities, community mental health centers—and in private practice.
School accreditation provides standards and measurements of quality, so make sure your online course for substance abuse counseling is accredited. There are several nonprofit and for-profit schools that offer substance abuse counseling degree programs online. Get your psychology degree in Texas and learn how you can have a great psychology career in the Lone Star State.
School counselors help and encourage students develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in school and in life. You’ll need patience and tolerance in your role as a school counselor but students will thrive under your guidance.
Earning a four-year undergraduate degree is the first step in your education toward becoming a school counselor.
Here are answers to your questions about degree programs and careers in school counseling in a nutshell.
Mental health counseling salaries are good, but you’ll make up for money with the personal rewards of the profession.
Often, mental health counselors will be one of the first resources available to people in need of emotional and psychological support. Earning a four-year undergraduate degree is the first step in your education toward becoming a mental health counselor.
Read everything you’ll need to know in a nutshell about mental health counseling schools and careers.
What are the similarities and differences between online PhDs in counseling psychology and clinical psychology? With an undergraduate degree in marketing, Nancy Brandes never anticipated finding her calling in school counseling several years after graduation. Child psychology represents a subset of family therapy, school psychology, developmental psychology and any fields of psychology that work with children. School neuropsychologists apply its principles in the education system, providing evaluation and rehabilitation for school-age children with difficulties. School psychologists work in elementary and secondary schools or district offices, and their salaries can be lucrative, depending upon education. Earning a four-year undergraduate degree is the first step in your education toward becoming a school psychologist. School psychologists can work in private practice and in a number of educational environments.
Because this is a health profession, it is regulated by the government and anyone who wishes to practice in the field of mental health has to pass state mandated education and certification. Because we are trained to think that certain majors can only lead to a limited number of career paths, we can sometimes find some kinds of career changes surprising. The bulk of my work consists of providing bilingual psychotherapy and facilitating medication management to individuals and families. Analyzing and interpreting, searching for and exploring themes, and writing coherently and as grammatically correct as possible.  Writing and rewriting essays helped! I minored in Counseling at John Jay and went to Fordham University for my masters in mental health counseling.
For current students interested in this line of work, do you have any recommendations on what they can do now to start directing their career path? Seek out Internships, interview people in the field and their colleagues, shadow someone, and network. This site is part of the CUNY Academic Commons, an academic social network for the entire 24-campus CUNY system.
Unless otherwise stated, all content on the CUNY Academic Commons is licensed under a Creative Commons license. As the world population increases and stressors afflict people, the demand for mental health counselors will heighten. Mental health counselors work with individuals, couples and groups to help them deal with emotional and psychological problems. Mental health counselors treat mental and emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, addiction and substance abuse, suicidal impulses, grief, low self-esteem, trauma and stress. Overcoming harmful addictions and behaviors is an intensely personal struggle, but it is made easier by intelligent and sympathetic advice and information.
However job outlook is strong, since behavioral counseling has proven effective for alcoholics, drug abusers and those with other self-destructive conditions like eating disorders. According to the Occupational Information Network, a project of the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, there are expected to be 35,500 positions available to qualified addiction and mental health counselors between 2008 to 2018. Addiction and mental health counselors who worked in hospitals earned median annual wages of $44,210. Addiction counselors working in residential mental health and substance abuse facilities earned an annual median of $25,950. Licensing requirements generally include a counseling, behavioral science or psychology master's degree in addition to supervised clinical experience. The report revealed that only 9% have no formal education beyond a high school diploma, while the 18% that remains have completed at least some college. Supervised clinical components are extremely important at both the master and doctoral level and usually take the form of clinical rotations.

The advantage lies in its more flexible and remote format that may better suit both working students and professionals.
Counselors cultivate an attentive, sympathetic personality so they can gather information that may be useful in creating a personalized counseling plan. Their relationships with their coworkers are often subject to the same stresses as with their patients and clients; counselors who are cooperative and personable can add to the team's cohesion and effectiveness.
There are a total of 5 women in our practice, and we see an average of about 80 clients per week altogether. It is important that I pay particular attention to making sure each client feels comfortable enough to return for treatment.
Best practice is to complete the note directly after each session, however, this is not always possible. I then transferred within the agency to a facility that provided housing, school, and counseling for male, youth, sex offenders. The mental health counselors at the facility suggested I return to school and receive a master’s degree so that I could be a mental health counselor at the facility. It is important that someone considering this field enjoys people and is able to make healthy connections with others. It is important that counselors are staying up-to-date on best practices and are participating in continuing education. Being in private practice gives me the opportunity to create the environment I feel is most conducive to wellness for both myself and others.
With the recent addition of mental health coverage being mandatory along with medical coverage, more people are taking advantage of our services. I have been very fortunate to have access to and interaction with professionals for whom i have great respect and admiration.
I would also only recommend this profession to someone who is dedicated to on-going learning and self-evaluation. You’ll work with people who are suffering from a wide variety of conditions ranging from career and stress management issues to more serious conditions like chemical addiction and suicidal depression.
They are concerned with modifying behavior and enhancing communication and understanding among all family members. Coursework generally includes psychology, sociology, child development, statistics, in addition to research and counseling techniques. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) grants a general practice credential, National Certified Counselor (NCC), to counselors who have passed their examination, have completed a graduate degree and have two years of fieldwork. This is not the case, however, and people from a spectrum of academic disciplines (English, Linguistics, History, Philosophy, Social Work) end up working as mental health counselors and therapists.
I work with adults who are diagnosed with mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia. It can be really stressful and overwhelming and you’re also more susceptible to vicarious trauma. As part of my graduate program, I did an internship for one year where I provided individual counseling under supervision. You can get $30 off $100 purchase, $20 off a $70 purchase, or $10 off a $40 purchase when you enter promo code “30771” at checkout! Employment opportunities for mental health counselors are forecast to rise 30 percent by 2016, a faster growth rate than the average for all U.S.
Patients may be struggling with depression, suicidal impulses or self-esteem issues, or may have trouble handling feelings of anxiety in general.
Specific requirements for counselors vary among states, though prospective counselors should plan on focusing their classes on subjects that pertain to their field of study. Also called substance abuse counselors and behavioral counselors, addiction counselors focus on helping those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, or problems with gambling or eating disorders. This field of counseling also provides information about job and career concerns, educational decisions, emotional and mental health issues, and relationship problems. Prison overcrowding problems and evolving laws have made private and public drug treatment programs a great alternative to minor jail sentences given to drug and alcohol abusers. This particular figure includes the BLS-predicted 18,100 predicted new positions as well as positions vacated by retirement, career change and early termination. For those at the bottom 10%, a little less than $24,240 was the average salary and the top 10% earned a salarythat was more than $59,460 a year. Counselors who worked in residential mental health and substance abuse facilities earned the least of any large group: an annual median of $33,240. Be sure to check if the online counseling graduate program requires supervised clinical work; if it doesn't then it is unlikely that it meets your state’s licensing requirements for counselors.
Going to graduate school is a big decision that takes careful planning and thorough research.
But counselors must also be skilled at working independently, and should possess a high level of physical and emotional energy to handle the range of problems that they treat. Clients need to feel they are making progress if they are going to continue seeking counsel. Maintaining boundaries is not always easy, but it is important that I practice what I preach.
One of the benefits of working for someone is, I get paid regardless, it is my boss who takes the hit when insurance companies or private pay clients do not pay the agreed upon amount in a timely manner. I keep my work cell phone with me at all times and am frequently checking messages and fielding coaching calls.
Some MFTs use psychotherapy of a non-medical nature, referring patients to psychiatrists for medication.
I also create treatment plans, conduct intake assessments, suicide assessments, and crisis intervention for emergency situations, and present case presentations at staff meetings.
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Some mental health counselors work with couples to help resolve marital or relationship problems, and also with families in handling interpersonal matters.
For example, those looking to act as a counselor on a college campus would take courses in student affairs as well as therapy techniques. Community outreach, advocacy, and mediation activities are also functions of addiction and mental health counseling. Substance abuse and behavioral counseling positions are expected to grow by 18,100 new jobs over a decade, for a 2018 sum of 104,200 positions. Before client leaves my office, we determine a skill or concept that client would like to focus on, and set a weekly goal. Ongoing assessment and honest communication with clients about their progress is essential to providing the best possible treatment. This allows me to attend school programs, soccer games, and take off other important days for my family.
My boss is very generous with me, and she has given me extra payment for assisting with training new counselors in our practice. Another challenge comes when friends, family, and other community members are wanting my input on their problems. The treatment team at the clinic I work in consists of social workers, case managers, nurse practitioners, vocational counselors, and psychiatrists.
Counselors can work in a private practice, in a group setting with colleagues, or as part of a school’s health program.
With an impressive 21% growth rate, more than triple the 9.2% predicted growth of the entire civilian workforce, this is a great, expanding industry to get involved with.
I also appreciate that if an emergency arises with my own family, I am able to contact and reschedule clients. Private practice is another story, because so much depends on one’s ability to retain clients. This is where it is important to have boundaries and know when to refer them to another professional counselor in the community. Counselors typically rely on talk therapy to treat patients, allowing them to discuss their problems and then create a plan for addressing them. I have been working full-time in private practice for 3 years, and plan to make about 55K this year. Prescription medications may also be recommended for those dealing with depression or anxiety disorders. Private practice does not generally allow for additional benefits, I do not receive medical or retirement benefits. Applies pre-tax and does not apply to gift cards, e-gift cards, gift wrapping or shipping & handling of discounted items. Cannot be used in combination with other offers or promo codes on the same items, or in combination with Associate Discount. Discount will be applied in stores at checkout to all eligible items and will be deducted upon return of any item to which the discount was applied.

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