Common Steps to Becoming a Mental Health CounselorGet a Bachelor's Degree. Earn a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling. Look for additional mental health counseling certifications. Keep Your Mental Health Counselor License.
At Northeastern, faculty and students collaborate at our 30+ federally funded research centers, addressing some of the biggest challenges in health, safety and sustainability. Explore our 150+ industry-aligned graduate and certification programs. Mental health counselors help clients navigate difficult life experiences, help them set goals, and provide critical emotional support. They enjoy rich and rewarding careers where they make a difference by using their listening, problem-solving and interpersonal skills.
More than 43 million U.S. adults face mental illness issues each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Because issues such as addiction, childhood trauma, and dementia in an aging population are driving demand for licensed counselors, the need for them is expected to grow 20% by 2026, according to the U.S. To be licensed in most states, prospective mental health counselors must complete 60 credit hours of graduate courses in counseling.
National accreditation bodies determine the core content that students should master throughout their experience, Wilson said. Curriculum developed taking into account national accreditation and state statutes. “We decided on 18 courses that would meet both national and state criteria, leaving two courses that could be elective, depending on where you live,” he said. In practice, students work with real clients under the supervision of a licensed counselor for a minimum of 100 hours.
Each internship requires students to spend a minimum of 300 hours, usually 30 hours per week, working at approved sites under supervision. Many schools cultivate relationships with sites, but students are often asked to find their own sites and approve them, Hudspeth said. In some states, before students take an exam and apply for their licenses, they must demonstrate hours of supervised graduate work. In Virginia, for example, graduates must acquire 3,000 hours of graduate counseling work before they can take the licensing exam, Welch said.
States require between 2,000 and 4,000 documented hours for licensing. To verify state requirements, visit the American Counseling Association or the National Board of Certified Counselors. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students and we serve more than 135,000 students online. Visit our SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, recognition and national awards.
To become a mental health counselor, you will have to go through a fairly rigorous amount of studies. This includes obtaining a bachelor's degree, then a master's degree, and finally entering a doctoral or doctoral program. If you really want to enter this field of study, request information about the programs available to you here. To obtain your mental health counselor license, the National Board of Certified Counselors advises that your state will require you to perform a certain number of hours of supervised experience.
However, your education usually doesn't stop even after you become a licensed mental health counselor. Earning your graduate degree in mental health counseling is a requirement to practice as a licensed professional mental health counselor. Those interested in becoming licensed mental health counselors must follow these five critical steps to ensure the right mix of education, work experience, and supervision required to be licensed in a state. Counselors use psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and other models of psychological treatment they have learned from an accredited mental health counseling program.
Continuing education is imperative to maintain the professional counseling license and keeping abreast of changes, updates and movements in trends in mental health care, counseling and client advocacy. It's also important to take classes that focus on cultural diversity, as mental health counselors work with men and women from diverse socioeconomic and multicultural backgrounds, she said. If you're interested in becoming a mental health counselor, it's important to consider both the potential benefits of the career and some of the potential drawbacks. Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) are two different titles for counselors who have been licensed in their state.
Demand for Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors Will Grow 25% by 2029.Depending on the severity of your conditions, mental health counselors can diagnose you with any number of mental illnesses. Earning a degree in mental health counseling from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Council for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) indicates that the program's content and quality meet the high standards set by the mental health profession. Future mental health counselors should have a thorough understanding of the mind, how it works, and the problems that may affect it. Mental health counselors combine psychotherapy with problem solving to help individuals, couples, families and groups facing a variety of mental health problems, according to the American Counseling Association (ACA).
One of the biggest rewards of being a mental health counselor is being able to have a direct impact on clients' lives and well-being. If you are attracted to helping people through difficult times, you may want to become a licensed mental health counselor. . .