How to become mental health therapist?

General requirementsbe of good moral character; be at least 21 years of age; meet educational requirements; meet experience requirements; meet testing requirements; and complete courses or training in identifying and reporting child abuse offered by a New York State approved provider; Once licensed, you can apply for mental health counseling certifications. The NBCC offers a Certified Mental Health Clinical Counselor (CCMHC) certification for counselors who have completed a 60-credit graduate degree, who are either an NCC and have at least 3,000 hours of graduate clinical experience. To work as a licensed professional mental health counselor, you'll likely need a master's degree. This advanced degree of mental health counseling may require an additional one to four years of graduate study, depending on your program choice, type of enrollment, and how often you take courses.

You must also complete your clinical hours for a specified period based on state guidelines. For example, the California Behavioral Services Board stipulates that a licensed professional clinical counseling candidate complete 3,000 hours for a minimum of 104 weeks. BLS projects employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorders and mental health counselors to grow 25% by 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. 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.

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. 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. New York has only one level of counseling license that is known as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). New York has many of the usual requirements for obtaining the state license, such as education obtained, supervised experience, examination, and also includes special emphasis on training for the recognition of child abuse.

Because each journey is unique, the steps you take to become a licensed mental health counselor may differ from those of your peers. 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. In New York, licensed mental health counselors (LMHC) can evaluate and provide treatment to individuals or groups suffering from psychological, behavioral, developmental, or emotional problems. As a result, there may be a greater need for mental health professionals now, and this page can help you understand the common steps to becoming one.

States may specifically require the National Counselor Exam for Licensing and Certification (NCE) or the National Mental Health Clinical Counseling Exam (NCMHCE). You will then need to pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) licensing board exam and apply for the license. The field of mental health counseling offers specializations for those who want to focus on one or more areas of mental health. Those seeking to become mental health counselors should do their own due diligence and determine the appropriate pathway and type of license for themselves and within their state of practice.

A mental health counselor is not the same as a psychiatrist, who is a medical professional licensed to prescribe medication for diagnosed disorders. Many common counseling career paths, such as Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT), require a license issued by state agencies. Mental health counselors offer support to individual clients, couples, families, or groups with similar situations. Mental health counselor certifications may also require additional education, experience, and testing.

Other positions that may interest you include health educators, community health workers, social workers, and school counselors. Here are the specific steps you can take to become a licensed mental health counselor. An important part of becoming a licensed mental health counselor is making sure you have completed the required education and training at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. .


Diana Anzaldua
Diana Anzaldua

Diana Anzaldua, LCSW - S, TYCT, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher in Central Texas. As the founder and owner of Austin Trauma Therapy Center, she teaches clients new skills for coping and adapting to the daily stresses of life so they can live the life they imagined by connecting them to their true authentic selves. Diana has been featured in industry magazines & websites such as Bustle, Hello Giggles, Yahoo, PBS, Allure, and more. Diana started this website to help answer FAQs for people interested in learning more about therapy around the world!