Mental health counselors: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Mental health counselors provide treatment to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Some work with specific populations, such as the elderly, college students, or children. Mental health counselors treat clients with a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal impulses. They also help with mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems.

Education Required
Most substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor positions require at least a bachelors degree. However, depending on the state and employer, educational requirements for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors can vary from a high school diploma and certification to a masters degree. Workers with psychology, clinical social work, mental health counseling, and similar masters degrees can provide more services to their clients, such as private one-on-one counseling sessions, and they require less supervision than those with less education. Those interested should research their states educational requirements.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 20% (Much faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in private practice must be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but all states require these counselors to have a masters degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. In addition, counselors must pass a state-issued exam and complete continuing education every year. Contact information for your state's regulating board can be found through the National Board for Certified Counselors.
Median pay: How much do Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors make?
$42,150 Annual Salary
$20.27 per hour

Careers for Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

  • Addiction counselors
  • Addiction therapists
  • Alcohol and drug counselors
  • Behavior disorder counselors
  • Certified abuse and drug addiction counselors
  • Certified alcohol and drug counselors
  • Chemical dependency counselors
  • Clinical mental health counselors
  • Drug abuse counselors
  • Drug counselors
  • LCMHCs
  • LMHCs
  • Licensed clinical mental health counselors
  • Licensed mental health counselors
  • Substance abuse
  • Substance abuse counselors

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