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Your master’s degree in mental health counseling allows you to enter a variety of fields and to help both kids and adults who are coping with issues ranging from developmental disabilities to behavioral problems. Whether you use your new degree to help someone who has had a stroke regain independence or assist someone fighting chemical addiction with the tools they need to recover, a master’s in mental health counseling can be put to good use in the following fields.
#1 Rehabilitation Counselor
For those who need help becoming independent, whether they are born with a developmental or physical disability or become injured and need to relearn basic life skills, a rehabilitation counselor is a must. You can use your new Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling to secure a position in this field; in some states, additional licensing may be required.
An individual working in this field works with kids, teens and adults with a variety of disabilities and helps with everything from basic skills like making purchases or balancing a checkbook to social interactions and independent living skills. A rehabilitation counselor may work closely with a team to help an individual client gain needed skills; physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and behavioral therapists are often involved in rehabilitative care as well.
Some typical duties for a rehabilitation counselor include:
- Working with individual patients to establish actionable goals and plans of care
- Working in a clinic or other setting to improve the lives of patients of all ages
- Assisting those recovering from stroke, accident or other issues to regain functions and interact socially with others
- Help young adults with disabilities cope with life after high school and provide assistance with communication and social skills.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a rehabilitation counselor is $34,670 and this field is experiencing faster than average growth.
#2 Clinical Therapist
If you acquire your Master’s in Mental Health, you can work as a clinical therapist in a variety of settings, providing care to the general public or specific populations. As a clinical therapist, you could work in a medical office, in a care facility or in a group therapy setting. The topics you will deal with will depend on your interests, your employer and your areas of expertise. Clinical therapists provide counseling and assistance for those suffering from PTSD, depression, eating disorders and some addictions in solo or group sessions.
When you work as a clinical therapist, you help people work through the issues that are causing them to have less success or enjoyment from life. In this field, you can expect to handle any or all of the following tasks:
- Lead group therapy sessions in a variety of settings
- Offer strategies and support for clients
- Create training programs and plans of care for clients with disabilities or who are recovering from injury or illness.
You can work in a group home, therapy center, hospital setting, adult daycare or other care environment and use your skills to help others live healthier lives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a clinical therapist is $44,170 per year and the field is experiencing much higher than average growth.
#3 Addiction or Chemical Dependency Counselor
Use your Master’s degree in Mental Health to help those struggling with chemical addiction or dependency. In most cases, your master’s degree is needed to begin the licensing process; this career requires specific certification that varies by location. Individual states control the requirements for becoming a chemical dependency counselor, but your master’s degree is enough to qualify you for licensing in most locations.
As a chemical dependency counselor, you’ll work with other clinical and medical staff to create programs designed to support individuals who are battling substance abuse problems. You could work for a government agency, in a healthcare setting or in a rehabilitation clinic setting. No matter where you work, you’ll have the following responsibilities:
- Working with individual patients to discover the reasons behind their harmful behavior
- Helping those struggling with addiction heal personal relationships and return to society
- Assisting those in recovery with building the coping and life skills they need for success
- Leading group education and therapy sessions designed to support those who are struggling or who are in recovery
- Possibly provide verification that a substance abuser is completing treatment or working with a court to provide treatment as a requirement for diversion programs.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for substance abuse counselors was $41,070 and the field is seeing stronger than average growth.
#4 Marriage and Family Counselor
Providing therapy and support to couples in crisis or entire families is the primary responsibility of the marriage and family counselor. Your master’s degree makes it possible to work in this field in most locations; some areas may require additional certification. You’ll work in a private or healthcare setting and provide the support needed for couples and families to heal or get through troubling times. You may meet with individuals and then groups and create plans and strategies to strengthen the family bond and improve relationships.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a rapidly growing field and the median salary for 2016 was $44,170.
#5 School and Career Counselor
You can use your Master’s in Mental Health degree to work in a school setting and counsel individual students and groups on their education and vocational options. A school and career counselor can work in a high school, college or vocational setting and help young adults determine which career suits them best. You can also find work in the non-profit or government sector in this field, helping those who have become unemployed or who have been out of the job market choose the right path.
- Provide assistance exploring job options and possibilities
- Provide counseling for students and parents who are unsure of what steps to take next
- Lead college prep and application workshops
- Offer assessments and testing to discover strengths and weaknesses and uncover some ideal professions or fields for your clients
- Provide letters of recommendation or other support for those in the application process.
In 2016, school and career counselors had a median salary of $54.560 and were seeing average growth, according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
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- Rehabilitation Counselor (2017, August 18) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/rehabilitation-counselors.htm
- Clinical Therapist (2017, August 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
- Substance Abuse Counselor (2017, August 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm
- Marriage and Family Counselor (2017, August 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm
- School and Career Counselor (2017, August 18) Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm