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What Is a Mental Health Counselor?
Mental health counselors work toward promoting the best possible level of mental health for both individuals and groups. They may work with children, adults, families, individuals, groups, etc. They may also range in several specializations such as substance abuse counseling, grief counseling or stress management counseling.
Mental health counselors fall into the area of social occupations. Social occupations are usually along the lines of helping people and offering services to people in need. Mental health counselors are skilled in various proficiencies, especially those dealing with communication. The various skills that they must encompass are active listening, social perceptiveness, critical thinking, service orientation, active learning, learning strategies and public speaking.
These positions have many more responsibilities, though, than just “counseling” the client. The counselor must first interview and evaluate the client. The next step would be to set up a treatment plan and may modify this treatment plan if need be for the client’s sake. The counselor may also work with other professionals to evaluate clients and set up treatment plans. They may even supervise other counselors and help them in the right direction with counseling clients.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum level of education needed for this line of work. Although most of the opportunities do require a master’s degree and some more advanced opportunities even require a Ph.D., M.D. , Ed.D, or Psy.D. The training involves knowledge of psychology, therapy and counseling, proper use of the English language, education and training, sociology and anthropology, customer and personal service, and administration and management.
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Job Outlook in New York
The employment prospects for mental health counselors in the state of New York are very favorable. There are over 250 openings on average each year with approximately 140 of these openings being replacement openings. In 2004 there were 6,190 mental health counselors employed in New York and it is foreseen that this number will jump to approximately 7,340 in the year 2014, which is an 18.6 percent change. The starting salary for entry-level workers is $21,730 and the salary for experienced workers is $42,470.
Mental health counselor jobs can be found in various places including clinics, hospitals and medical centers. Licensure may come for some after attaining all the required education, experience and examination requirements. To be a licensed mental health counselor, an individual must have attained a master's degree in counseling or a related major, experienced 600 clocked supervised hours of internship as a graduate student, and have 3,000 supervised hours after attaining the graduate degree. One must also take the state examination which is the "National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination" (NCHMCE) and also have taken a child abuse course.
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Summing It Up
Educational requirements for mental health counselor jobs vary depending on which organization an individual may be employed. The skills though remain constant throughout. A mental health counselor must maintain excellent communication skills, attending skills and socialization skills for proper effectiveness with a client. The job outlook in the State of New York is excellent for mental health counselors and the more education attained the better off they will be economically.