By Laurie Davies
According to the American Counseling Association, counseling is a collaborative effort between a counselor and client(s) that aims to:
If it sounds simple, it’s not. Human behavior is complex and so too is Mental Health Counseling! But, as any successful counselor will tell you, there’s almost no more gratifying job than helping someone overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of a fulfilling, productive life. You could be the difference-maker that helps clients elevate their well-being and make recovery a reality.
If you would like to help others as a counselor, you’ll need a mix of soft skills based in interviewing and assessment, along with theoretical knowledge based in human psychology. According to Indeed.com, skills that those practicing mental health counseling should have include:
A mental health counselor should also master skills in counseling ethics, social and cultural diversity, human growth and development and the differences between one-on-one and group dynamics. The variety of skills is understandable, given the number of career paths that are possible with a mental health counseling degree.
Right about now you might be asking, “So, what can I do with a master’s in counseling?” Or perhaps your heart is racing because a counseling program sounds like the right fit for you. Either way, read on.
To pursue a career as a mental health counselor, you’ll need to earn master’s degree in counseling and meet the requirements for licensure in the state where you want to practice.
At University of Phoenix, a Master of Science in Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MSC/CCMH) is a 60-credit, online clinical mental health counseling program and can be completed in three to four years, including practicum and internship requirements. Students in the Phoenix area also have the option to complete an accredited, campus-based version of this program. (The Phoenix, Ariz., campus counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)).
In addition to core classes, clinical mental health counseling program students attend three residencies with online and in-person components that are designed to develop their counseling skill sets. These soon-to-be counselors also gain hands-on working experience through required clinical placements This can help prepare students to work with a variety of populations in different settings
Licensing requirements vary by state, so be sure to review the state licensure requirements in the state where you wish to practice.
Job growth for mental health counselors is projected to be 23% between 2020 and 2030, according to BLS. This is much more robust growth than the projected national average growth rate of 8% for all professions. They may find work in both the public sector, such as agencies, hospitals and rehabilitation centers, as well as in private practice.
Christina Neider, EdD, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at University of Phoenix says several interrelated factors may be driving this trend. “The pandemic definitely heightened the need for access to mental health care. Meanwhile, the stigma around mental health care is [declining]. You see athletes talking about it openly. A whole-person concept is becoming more of a topic with healthcare clinicians,” Dr. Neider says.
This adds up to increased demand for skillful mental health counselors who have achieved a counseling degree.
With the jobs outlook pointing in such a positive direction, you might be wondering about the kinds of careers you could pursue once you earn a master’s degree in counseling.
According to U.S. Department of Labor figures cited by the American Counseling Association, more than 665,500 counselors work with patients ranging in age from children to seniors in agencies, organizations, private practice, personal and healthcare delivery systems and other settings.
According to O*Net, the national primary source of occupation information developed under the sponsorship of the Department of Labor, reported job titles for mental health counselors include behavior analyst, school counselor, mental health counselor, correctional counselor and case manager.
What would it look like to be a master’s level counselor, specifically? What kind of career path can those pursuing mental health counseling expect? Average salary, education requirements and job outlook are highlighted below.
Overview: 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 emotional health issues and relationship problems.
National Median Salary: $47,660 in May 2020 for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors, according to BLS.
Education Requirements: A master’s degree and an internship is typically required, according to BLS.
Job Outlook: 23% between 2020 and 2030, according to BLS.
The MSC/CCMH program at University of Phoenix is designed to prepare competent professional counselors who will contribute as leaders in the field of mental health. Earning your MSC/CCMH at University of Phoenix has distinct advantages. These include:
The MSC/CCMH program involves a variety of delivery formats depending on the subject matter and the competencies to be developed. These formats involve, but are not limited to, the following:
While University of Phoenix does not guarantee job or salary outcomes — those hinge on geographic location, experience, competition and other individual factors — this much is clear: the demand for skilled mental health counselors is high.
The salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location, and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level, or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.
At University of Phoenix, students learn from practitioner faculty with deep experience in clinical practice and supervision. That means, in other words, that students learn from Professional counselors and counseling educators who are active in the field.
Studying mental health counseling may be the first step on a rewarding professional journey, and the Master of Science in Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling from University of Phoenix offers an ideal pathway to putting theory into practice.
Learn more about why mental health is at the forefront of national discussion.
Get started on your Master of Science in Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling at University of Phoenix!
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