There are 175 different mental health counseling degree programs in our directory, with the Master's (by far, with 160 programs) and Doctoral degrees being the most widely offered across the United States.
Deciding on the right specialization as a counselor includes considering the various aspects of the focus itself. Those interested in helping people that suffer from emotional turmoil or those having trouble adjusting to life's motions, will find a suiting profession in mental health counseling.
Mental Health Counseling ProgramsMental health counseling is one of the most preferred titles for upcoming counselors. As a mental health counseling major, new students will find that the curriculum is similar in structure to other counseling majors, but has more focus toward the general aspects of counseling.
Typical Timeline of Study
The average amount of schooling for this type of degree is 6 years overall, including approximately 4 years for undergraduate school and 2 years for graduate school. Following educational requirements, 1-2 years of supervised work experience follows, which varies depending on the applicant's individual state requirements.
Accreditation of a university ensures that the degree will be accepted by the student's respective state for licensure. Mental health counseling is a career path that requires licensure upon completion, so college choice is a huge determinant in a student's future.
As with most other majors, students must first delve into a bachelor's degree program. Most people find that psychology and counseling majors are both great complementary degrees for a future master's degree in counseling.
Typical Mental Health Courses
While in an undergraduate program, students are required to complete various general education requirements. These courses include, but are not limited to mathematics, humanities, and history courses. Communications courses are also effective for those pursuing a mental health counseling degree. Future professionals should choose an undergraduate degree that contributes to their future career in mental health services.
Graduate Degrees in Mental Health Counseling
Since all states require that graduates hold at least a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling before applying for licensure, this is the most preferred level of education for professionals.
Requiring around two years less education than a doctoral degree, it allows for less time in school and more time working in the field. In a master's program, students will find that the curriculum is more major-based and specific.
Typical Master's Level Coursework
Courses include material pertaining to normal and abnormal mental health, introduction to psychological pharmaceuticals, and ever therapy. The in depth programs provided by accredited schools give students experience with the historic and theoretical concepts in psychology as well as introducing new techniques for application.
Students in mental health counseling will work in the classroom and in laboratory settings so that they will fully comprehend the research aspect as well as the application of the different applications of mental health counseling.
Gaining Work Experience
Every state requires that graduate degree holders take part in 1-2 years of supervised work experience, varying state to state. This requirement can be completed after the degree program has been completed or in conjunction with the appropriate degree program. Students must find a licensed mental health counselor that is willing to supervise future mental health counselors in order to complete this requirement.
Resources are available in each state to assist students with finding a licensed professional to work under. This work experience provides future counselors with the necessary expertise needed to work in the field.
Willing acceptance of critique during this supervision period is a positive attribute that professionals should use to better their overall practice.
Preparing for Counseling Licensure
In addition to the educational requirements and work experience, students are also required to pass the state board exam in their respective state as a last step to becoming licensed. These exams are designed to test different aspects within their specialization in order to guarantee that the licensees going through the program meet the state's standards for practice with the public.
Each state values the integrity of their licensure system, making it a very thorough process regardless of the location.
Mental Health Counseling as a Career
Working in the mental health counseling field involves identification of mental illnesses or ailments, development of treatment plans, and implementation of psychological techniques in order to assist clients with emotional issues, coping needs, or general life adjustment.
As a licensed mental health counselor, new professionals will find that the demand in their field is high. Mental health counselors work with a variety of different people from varying backgrounds. The expectation for growth in recent years is over 29%, making this an ideal choice for new students.
What do mental health counselors do?
Mental health counselors work with people suffering from mental disabilities that are having issues with everyday life. Stress, communication, and abuse are just a few of the many aspects of counseling that professionals will come in contact with.
An Example of a Mental Health Counseling Client
Helping people find solutions to their struggles is one of the main duties of a mental health counselor. As an example, a counselor may have a client that suffers from an anxiety disorder. This client needs help completing daily tasks.
The client is distracted by stresses in her life and needs assistance developing a plan of action. A mental health counselor would evaluate the client's lifestyle, determine the stressors and their development, and implement a treatment plan accordingly. The effects of these treatments will result in the patient's lifestyle being changed for the better.
There is no replacement for a great mental health counselor. These counselors are needed in varying fields, ranging from clinical settings to private practices. Mental health counselors provide a knowledgeable consult for emotional issues as well as other behavioral issues.
In a world that is filled with high personal expectations and a strong work ethic, mental health counselors are needed to ensure that individuals are facing challenges with dignity and making choices that will lead their lives in the right direction.
Counseling Degrees by State