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Most mental health counselor positions require a master's degree in counseling, psychology or a related mental health fields.
Students can typically enroll in a master's degree program with a bachelor's degree from a wide range of fields.
Most education programs include an internship which allows students to work with a licensed or certified mental health counselor. Counseling Theory and Practice Looks broadly at counseling as a profession, including its philosophical underpinnings, various theories, scope, and organization. Clinical Mental Health Counseling Overview Gives historical, current, clinical, and training perspectives on issues in mental health counseling.
Human Development Overviews the development of humans throughout their lifespan, from infant to childhood to adult, as related to physical growth, intellectual and emotional growth, and sexuality.
Psychopathology Examines psychopathology, or the study of the origins and behaviors for mental disorders, in the context of psychology and psychiatry. Counseling Assessments Gives an understanding of applying individual and group techniques for assessment patients.

Field Experience in Mental Health Counseling Supervised clinical experience in a facility such as a hospital, college, or agency. The licensing requirements for mental health counselors vary by state and by the area of specialization, however, in most states mental health counselors are required to have a master's degree in counseling and 2 years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience outside of the master's degree program. Mental health counselors take the National Board for Certified Counselors exam to become a nationally recognized certified counselor. Work location: Schools, community centers, hospitals, government agencies, mental health facilities and private practice settings.
The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) provides facts about mental health counselors. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) offers a state board directory as well as exam, registration and state licensure information. Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Created by the US Department of Labor, this article on mental health counseling (with coverage of marriage and family therapy careers) gives a snapshot of this career through various statistics and descriptions. Experience might include, for example, one-to-one or group counseling, assessment of patients, case presentations, and participation in conferences or staff meetings.

Some counselors work in the evenings and during the weekends to accommodate their clients' schedules or to help people and families dealing with a crisis.
Students who join the American Mental Health Counselors Association have the opportunity to supplement their education program with real-world applied learning opportunities.
Also mental health counselors are usually required to complete yearly continuing education requirements. After receiving a nationally certified counselor certification and completing the required hours working with patients, mental health counselors can take an additional exam to become a certified clinical mental health counselor. Students attending the ACA Conference & Expo have opportunities to meet peers, counselor educators, scholars and authors.

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