Clinical Mental Health Consultant: Qualifications, Job Description, and Salary (2023)

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    Mental health is fundamental to a person's well-being. One in five Americans suffers from a mental illness (National Institute of Mental Health “Mental Illness”, December 2019). Self-regulation can become increasingly difficult due to chemical imbalances, trauma, or life circumstances. Fortunately, there are mental health counselors who can help people overcome their illnesses and lead more controlled lives.

    Mental health counselors work directly with individuals, couples, and groups to diagnose and treat mental health problems. Professionals in this field use psychotherapy, problem solving, or other techniques to help their clients identify and overcome their difficulties. Mental health counselors help treat eating disorders, PTSD, trauma, alcoholism, addiction, and abuse. They often work with diverse demographic groups, including older adults, children, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or other underrepresented populations.

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    Professionals who work as mental health counselors have earned master's degrees, completed supervised internships, and received state licenses. To work as a mental health counselor, individuals must have exceptional empathy, self-reflective skills, listening skills, patience, and tact. Licensing requirements vary by state, as do titles, including Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPC), Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor ( LPCC).

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    Mental health counselors earn a median annual salary of $44,630 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS 2019), openings for mental health counselors (including those specializing in substance abuse and behavioral disorders) are projected to increase by 22% between 2018 and 2028. This will create 68,500 new jobs across the country and equals one adult. Score more than four times the national average for all occupations during the same period (5 percent).

    Below is an overview of this successful career, including required education, steps to enter the field, and shared roles and responsibilities.

    Specializations and Types of Degrees as a Mental Health Counselor

    A master's degree is usually required for a career as a mental health counselor. Typical degrees include a Master of Science in Counseling Studies, a Master of Science in Professional Counseling, or a Master of Arts in Counseling.

    While there are many programs that can be completed online, it takes between 2,000 and 4,000 internship hours to become licensed. and trauma.

    Admission requirements for mental health counseling programs

    Masters in Mental Health Counseling require students to have completed at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution prior to admission. Courses preparing for a master's degree include psychology, sociology, and education. Some schools require students to submit GRE scores. Students must also submit all school transcripts, and most programs require letters of recommendation, resumes, and personal statements.

    Mental Health Counselor Program Accreditation

    Mental health counseling programs have two accrediting bodies. EITHERCouncil for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs(CACREP) accredits master's and doctoral programs in counseling and related fields in the United States and internationally. They are approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the US Department of Education's primary organization that recognizes accrediting bodies.

    Programs may also be accredited by theMaster's Accreditation Board in Psychology and Counseling(MPCC). MPCAC-accredited programs must provide science-based education that is culturally engaging. MPCAC is a member of the Association of Specialty and Professional Accreditors (ASPA), an organization that ensures a minimum standard for specialist and professional programs.

    Attending an accredited institution gives students the confidence that the education they receive is recognized by employers, testing agencies, licensing boards, and other institutions.

    On-Campus Mental Health Counselor Degree Programs

    University of Kansas - School of Education

    The University of Kansas Master of Science in Counseling Psychology aims to educate multiculturally competent counselors with a strong background in theory, research, and clinical practice. The Faculty of Education ranks 18th in the countryUS news and world report(2019) so that students can be sure of attending a high-level program.

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    Diversity is at the forefront of this program and they are committed to including underserved communities in all aspects of their program. Graduation requires students to complete 60 credit hours of courses and 600 hours of practice. Additionally, students have the opportunity to choose one of three options to demonstrate their proficiency in the program. You can take a full exam, complete a project, or write a thesis.

    Applications for admission are due in January, and students must submit GRescores along with transcripts, recommendations, and a resume.

    • Location: Lawrence, Kansas
    • Time frame:Two and a half to three years
    • accreditation: Master of Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC)
    • Monthly payment: $1,000.95 per credit hour

    Texas A&M University - College of Business Education and Human Services

    Students who wish to become Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) may complete Texas A&M's Master of Science in Counseling to fulfill education and practice requirements. This 60 credit hour program can be completed in ten semesters part-time or seven semesters full-time. By taking a few additional courses, students can also qualify to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).

    Students are required to take courses in multipopulation counseling, crisis intervention, and group dynamics and processes. Admission is year-round and students can start at the beginning of each semester. GRescores are required for admission, as well as an essay in response to an application. Students must also submit all dissertation transcripts and three letters of professional recommendation.

    • Location: Commerce, Texas
    • Time frame:2 years
    • accreditation: Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP)
    • Monthly payment: $2,328.71 per lesson

    Online or Hybrid Mental Health Counselor Degree Programs

    Northwestern University - Family Institute

    Northwestern University offers a full online Master of Arts in Advice for students who need the flexibility to complete their studies on their own schedule. Although this program is online, it is very collaborative and offers interactive experiences between peers, teachers, and professionals in the field.

    Online students receive the same education as students on campus. Northwestern aims to train students to be highly reflective counselors through personal experiences that challenge students to reflect on their own identity and how it might affect their approach to counseling.

    This program has four start dates per year and offers a standard program for those who already have a background in psychology, or a bridge to counseling program for those without training or experience in the field.

    Applicants must submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, resume, letter of intent, and recent photograph to be considered for admission. As part of the admissions process, students participate in a group interview with other prospective students and a faculty member to assess empathy, self-reflection, and listening skills.

    • Location: Evanston, Illinois
    • Time frame:18 months to three years
    • accreditation: Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP)
    • Monthly payment: $18,689 per quarter

    NYU - Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

    NY Up's online Master of Arts in Mental Health and Wellness Counseling prepares students for admission and employment as a mental health counselor. Graduates of this program have worked in private clinics, government agencies, and treatment facilities as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs).

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    This intensive program requires students to complete 60 credit hours, 100 practicum hours, and a 600-hour internship to graduate. This flexible program allows students to complete courses at their own pace while providing a collaborative environment with online tools.

    Students learn to evaluate individuals and groups and then apply a variety of assessment-based counseling skills. Students gain practical skills while practicing at an NYU-approved location in communities across the country.

    Admission is rotating, and students can choose from four different start dates each year. GRE scores are not required for admission, but transcripts, a resume, references, a letter of intent, and an application fee are required.

    • Location: New York, NY
    • Time frame:21 dulce
    • accreditation: Master of Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC)
    • Monthly payment: $1,795 per credit hour

    How long does it take to become a licensed mental health counselor?

    On average, it takes at least ten years of education, including high school, to become a mental health counselor. Supervised internship requirements vary by state and can have a large impact on the number of years it takes to gain approval in the profession. It typically takes two to four years after completing a master's degree to be able to take a licensing exam.

    How to become a licensed mental health counselor: step by step guide

    Step 1: Finish High School or Get a GED (Four Years)

    Earning a high school diploma or GED demonstrates the commitment and ability to complete a program. Graduate institutions expect students to have met this minimum requirement prior to admission. Students who want to get a head start when applying to colleges or universities should take advanced or AP courses and earn college credit while still in high school.

    Stage 2: complete a bachelor's degree (four years)

    Students pursuing a career as mental health counselors often complete a bachelor of science or bachelor's degree in sociology, psychology, education, or a related field. Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA as this makes students more competitive for graduate admissions. Students must ensure that the program they are participating in is regionally or nationally accredited.

    Step 3: Obtain an advanced degree (two to eight years)

    All states require mental health counselors to have a master's degree. The length of study varies by program, but can range from 18 months to three years. Some students choose to pursue a Ph.D. To become a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through theNational Board of Certified Consultants(NBCC), the program a student completes must meet minimum standards, including length, content, and practice requirements.

    Level 4: Full supervised practice (two to four years)

    Requirements vary by state, but to qualify as an NCC, graduates must complete 3,000 hours of work experience and 100 hours of counseling supervision. Upon completion of the supervised practice, graduates will perform all the functions of a consultant under the supervision of a licensed consultant. It is imperative to check each state's regulations to ensure hours are recorded correctly, as requirements vary.

    Step 5: Pass the state exam (time varies)

    Each state has its own requirements for passing the mental health counselor exams. Some states require thatNational Consultant Exam(NCE) oNational Review of Clinical Mental Health Counseling(NCMHCE). In other states, you can choose which test you want to take or take your own exam. NBCC has created a directory detailing the requirements for each state.

    Step 6: Apply for a state license (time varies)

    Once all state requirements are met, including supervised practice hours and passing test scores, prospective counselors can apply to their state agency for state licensing.

    What do psychotherapists do?

    Mental health counselors work in mental health clinics, schools, private practices, hospitals, government agencies, correctional facilities, and businesses. Its main tasks include:

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    • Evaluation and diagnosis of mental health problems in clients
    • Talk to clients about their experiences, feelings, and concerns.
    • Offer a client a variety of mental health therapies based on the client's needs
    • Set mental health goals and help your clients achieve them
    • Help clients identify obstacles to their recovery and develop strategies to overcome them.
    • Maintenance of customer records.
    • Work with other health professionals to coordinate client services.
    • Group therapy sessions.
    • Work with clients to develop problem solving skills for future problems.

    Mental Health Counselor Certifications and Licensing

    The license of a mental health counselor varies by state. The most common titles issued by the state are Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Counselor (LMHC), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). EITHERNational Board of Certified Consultants(NBCC) has created a directory detailing the requirements for each state. Mental health counselors must be licensed in all 50 states. NBCC offers specialty certifications in school counseling, addictions, and clinical mental health.

    How much do psychotherapists earn?

    According to the Bureau of Statistics and Labor (2019), mental health, behavioral, and substance abuse counselors earn an average of $46,050 per year. The bottom 10% make $26,950 (or less) per year, while the top 90% make $70,100 (or more) per year.

    Clinical Mental Health Consultant: Qualifications, Job Description, and Salary (1)

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    Kimmy is a freelance writer with extensive experience writing about health and education careers. She has worked in public health, health-related non-profit organizations, and as a Spanish interpreter for doctors' offices and hospitals. She has a passion for learning and this drives her to keep up with the latest trends in health. When she's not writing or researching, she pursues her passion for nutrition and an active outdoor lifestyle.

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    What are the duties of a mental health consultant? ›

    As a mental health consultant, your primary responsibilities are to assist with therapy interventions and lead therapy sessions for individuals, families, and small groups. Your job duties also include consulting with patients, identifying troublesome behavior, and recommending psychiatric services when necessary.

    What is the highest paid mental health professional? ›

    Psychiatrists prescribe medications for patients with mental illnesses. Psychiatrist positions are by far the highest-paying jobs for psychology majors. The average salary is $217,798, according to PayScale.

    What is the mental health consultation model? ›

    Mental Health Consultation/Collaboration involves a process of interaction between two professionals (pertaining to a mental health issue): the consultant, who is a specialist, and the consultee who invokes the consultant's help in a current work problem that he believes is within the area of the specialized competency ...

    How much does a mental health consultant earn in Canada? ›

    The national average salary for a Mental Health Consultant is $63,684 in Canada. Filter by location to see Mental Health Consultant salaries in your area. Salary estimates are based on 296 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by Mental Health Consultant employees. How accurate does $63,684 look to you?

    What skills do you need to be a mental health consultant? ›

    Mental health consultants must have excellent communication and listening skills to understand and assess the client's situation and evaluate the level of their emotional and psychological distress. They also need to monitor progress on the client's state and use different psychotherapy methods and treatment plans.

    What qualifications do you need to be a mental health advisor? ›

    They will normally have a professional background such as Psychiatric Nursing, Occupational Health or Social Work and/or extensive experience of supporting people with long-term mental health conditions.


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