How to Become a Mental Health Counselor: Useful Tips

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Back in the day, mental health wasn’t a priority in most homes. In fact, most people were not comfortable speaking about psychological issues like depression. However, in recent times, more and more people have become aware of the importance of prioritizing mental health. WHO and other organizations have also made efforts to create global awareness on matters of mental health.

Consequently, the demand for mental health counselors has been on the rise. If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, you may be wondering how to become mental health counselor (discover more at and whether or not it’s a lucrative career. In this guide, you’ll find out what it takes to start a career as a mental health counselor, what you can expect to earn, and how to stand out from the pack in the job market. So let’s get to it.

First Things First, What Does the Job Entail?

The first thing you need to do before familiarizing yourself with the LMHC requirements is to understand the job description. A mental health counselor is not like any other counselor. Their duties are specific – they mostly deal with patients who are battling psychological disorders or mental illnesses.

The primary role of a mental health counselor is to help their patients cope by diagnosing their condition and offering proper treatment plans. The counselor also monitors the effectiveness of the treatment plan and adjusts it accordingly, if needed. A good mental health counselor:

·       Is empathetic

·       Has excellent communication 
and listening skills

·       Knows when to involve the patient’s
family in group therapy

·       Makes details reports of sessions
and uses different tools to make each session a success

·       Knows how to get their patient to
open up about issues they wouldn’t normally talk to other people about

·       Works with other healthcare
providers such as doctors to provide holistic care

·       Recommends effective coping
mechanisms such as support groups to ensure their patient gets better

·       Knows when there are hindrances that
could impact the patients progress negatively

·       Keeps what is discussed in therapy
sessions confidential.

Procedure on How to Be a Mental Health Counselor

“What do I need to do to become a mental health counselor?” “Which mental health counselor degrees should I take to better my chances of becoming a mental health counselor?” These are some of the questions that go through the minds of individuals who are looking to pursue mental health as a career. If you’re interested in this career path, you may also be asking yourself the same questions. Here’s what you need to do.

Get the Right Academic Qualifications

The first thing you ought to do is to obtain your mental health counselor degree. Most institutions will require you to have either a master’s degree or doctorate to practice counseling in the area of mental health. If you don’t already have your bachelor’s degree, that’s the first requirement to qualify for a master’s program.

You have several options for a bachelor’s degree. You can enroll for a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology, social work, or psychology. All these courses are acceptable and will enable you to enroll for a master’s degree in this area of specialization.

Get Hand-On Experience Through an Internship Program

Before you get hired for any job, your employer will want to know whether or not you have the relevant experience. In most states, you’ll be required to finish an internship program through which you’ll acquire hands-on experience working under a licensed mental health counselor.

After the internship program, you also have the option to do more fieldwork. Doing so will give you an edge in the job market. Besides, it is also a must-do in most states.

Apply for Your License

Some states will allow you to apply for your license after completing your internship program. But in others, you must sit for and pass a licensing examination to get the license. So make sure you check the requirements in your state before beginning the application process.

Apply for Jobs and Keep Updating Your Resume

Once you have your mental health counselor license and all the necessary certifications, you can apply for a job. After mental health licensing, you’ll have access to various job opportunities. You can work in hospitals, schools, mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers, or even open a private practice where you’d deal with different types of patients.

However, due to the broad nature of this career, it’s best to narrow down to one specification and stick to that. This way, it will be easier to find a job that focuses on what you want to pursue and enhance your skills in that area.

Also, make sure you further your studies and stay updated with what’s happening in your field of expertise. Doing so makes you stand out from other counselors, which in turn improves your employability.

How Much Should You Expect to Earn?

Mental health counselors make different amounts depending on the states they reside in. On average, if you have a mental health license you should expect to earn anywhere from $46,000 to $63,000 a year. However, this sum may also vary depending on your employer and your qualifications. The more qualified you are, the higher the likelihood that you’ll be paid more.

In conclusion, it’s crucial to ensure you have all the academic requirements before trying to pursue a career in this highly competitive and lucrative field. Recruiters are quite strict about it and will only employ individuals who meet all their requirements. Therefore, don’t try to cut corners. Apply for a relevant bachelor’s course, enroll for a master’s degree, and then apply for your license. With this approach, you’ll be well on your way to your dream job, and you’re more likely to succeed at it.