How Do I Become A Mental Health Counselor?

If you are someone who enjoys helping others overcome their issues, then you may enjoy being a mental health counselor. A mental health counselor is charged with the task of helping people overcome their anxieties, fears and depression. You may even help someone avoid suicide by serving as his or her mental health counselor. Maybe you have wondered, “How do I become a mental health counselor?” You can help people deal with past abuse and be a positive force in their lives by serving as a mental health counselor.

What’s it like to be a mental health counselor?

A mental health counselor is someone who is a great listener. You should enjoy listening to the obstacles that other people face in their lives. You will listen to people talk about their emotions, psychological issues and their relationships with family members and friends. If a person is dealing with a difficult life transition, then you may counsel him or her through that life transition. You can help people develop goals for resolving their psychological issues. You also have the ability to help patients learn how to cope with overwhelming emotions. You become an ally to the person who deals with all of these mental health issues. When you work as a mental health counselor, you may also help clients who have experienced abuse in their past. You may help clients who struggle with addictions to alcohol, drugs or sex.

Education Requirements

If you want to become a mental health counselor, then you will need to ultimately obtain your Master’s degree in mental health counseling. It is okay if you begin your career with a bachelor’s degree. It is essential for you to obtain a strong understanding of human psychology before you become a mental health counselor. After you have completed the necessary educational requirements, you will then have to obtain the appropriate state license in order to begin counseling people and helping them deal with mental issues. Depending on the state in which you plan on practicing within, you will need to obtain a certain number of hours of clinical experience in order to practice. Most states require 2,000 to 4,000 hours of clinical experience. You will also have to pass a statewide exam in order to obtain your license. After you receive your license, then you will also have to pursue continuing education credits to continue practicing as a mental health counselor. To become a mental health counselor, there are also two levels of certification that you can obtain. The most basic level of certification that you can obtain is the National Counseling Certification.

Salary & How to Get a Job

The average salary of a mental health counselor is about $42,000 a year. Mental health counselors will make more money depending on which city they ultimately choose for practice purposes. In New York, for example, mental health counselors will frequently make about $65,000 a year. To become a mental health counselor, you should look for positions within a hospital or mental health institution. You can also look for positions in private charities, such as shelters for abused women. You may need to take on volunteer positions in the beginning stages of your career. It is not uncommon for students to gain internship experience before they begin practicing as mental health counselors.

When you become a mental health counselor, you will have the tremendous ability to make an impact in the lives of people who need your help. You will be able to help people deal with very difficult emotions and help them regain stability in their lives.