Learning how to become mental health counselor is the first step toward discovering a rewarding career in the mental health area. The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) is the governing body that offers to license and asks that those desiring accreditation have a master’s degree in counseling or a connected field to meet their certification criteria. You can observe the steps below to become a licensed mental health counselor:
Earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a connected field
First, achieve a bachelor’s degree to schedule you for graduate studies. Your undergraduate courses generally comprise a combination of science and liberal arts classes in psychology and human development. This helps create a foundation for your education and introduces you to different parts of mental health to help you decide what department you want to focus on in your master’s programs. Some core psychology courses may include:
- General Psychology
- History of Psychology
- Human development
- Abnormal psychology
Earn a Master’s of Mental Health Counselling
After getting your undergraduate degree, you may move on to achieving your master’s degree. This degree normally takes two to three years to finish. The courses during your master’s program include classroom learning and immediate counseling experience in pretend situations. The necessities for applying for a master’s program in Canada are:
- 16 years of education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a connected field
- 75% to 80% in your bachelor’s degree grades
- B+ or the best grade in your central
- A clean criminal record
- Completion of the general record examination (GRE)
Complete an internship and other required post-graduate experience per certification or licensure conditions
To better prepare yourself for a part as a licensed professional and how to become mental health counselor, achieve knowledge via managed counseling. You can get this knowledge by applying for an internship or volunteering in your community. Your school can generally help you find these options.
Get your license
With the CCPA. Certification indicates you’ve completed their evaluation and passed their qualifications to practice as a licensed expert. To receive certification, known as the Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) designation with the CCPA, applicants must fulfill the following criteria:
- Hold a professional membership with the CCPA
- Keep a graduate degree in a connected field of study from an accredited university
- Demonstrate evidence of a minimum of eight graduate-level courses in specific areas of study that include counseling theories, counseling and communication skills, professional ethics, a supervised counseling practicum, and four elective courses that meet CCPA’s coursework areas
- Demonstrate recent and relevant professional counseling experience that includes 150 hours for those who graduated less than five years ago from their master’s program and 800 hours for those who graduated better than five years ago from their master’s program
- Evidence of management by a primary clinical supervisor who satisfies CCPA needs
- Two CCC contact papers completed by graduate-level counselors, counselor educators, or counseling managers
- A criminal record check
It’s essential to follow additional education to hold your license and keep updated on new developments in the area. This can help create you a better counselor. A doctorate isn’t required to work as a certified mental health counselor, but the following one can develop your knowledge and offer more job chances for your career. The CCC certification certificate is valid for three years, during which you accrue 36 Continuing Education Credits (CECs) to show professional development and to continue your certificate for another three years.
Where do and how to become mental health counselor work?
Mental health counselors can work in a type of setting, including hospitals and clinics, drug abuse treatment programs, and inside residential mental health institutions. Certified professional counselors often work in government positions, private practices, schools, and employee help programs suggested by organizations and businesses. The majority of mental health counselors are full-time workers. Some inpatient facility employees work different shifts, including evenings, nights, and weekends. These mental health professionals can work in numerous settings, including:
- Adoption agencies
- Branches of the military
- Detention centers, such as jails and prisons
- Home health care
- Hospice care
- Law enforcement agencies
- Mental health clinics
- Regular and psychiatric hospitals
- Private practices
Career Outlook for Mental Health Counselors
Following to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, mental health counseling jobs are projected to increase by 23% from 2020 to 2030, much shorter than average. The industries that use the most mental health counselors include outpatient care centers, personal and family services, inpatient/residential care facilities, and regional government.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also lists California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York as having the most increased employment levels of essence abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors.
If you’re interested in becoming a counselor in Texas, California, New York, Florida, or any other state, it is important to educate yourself about the needs of the state where you are interested in becoming a counselor since per state has its conditions.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook shows that the median annual pay for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and how to become mental health counselor was $48,520 in May 2021. Salaries vary turning on the industry and setting. For example, counselors used by the government earned a median salary of $60,450 per year, while mental health counselors used in individual and family services acquired about $47,940 per year (as of May 2021). Level of education, location, and experience may also affect salary level.
Skills for mental health counselors
Mental health counselors, via their education and training, make essential skills that allow them to practice their work effectively, ethically, and safely. Some of these skills include:
- Communication skills: Mental health practitioners talk with and educate patients about therapy operating their communication skills.
- Critical thinking skills: They can assess and evaluate a patient’s situation and devise successful treatment programs.
- Interpersonal skills: A counselor’s ability to manage connections and maintain a professional tone, among other qualities, is a foundation of the counselor-patient relationship.
- Listening skills: Mental health counselors recognize that the first step in assisting their clients is to actively listen to what they say and don’t say.
- Research skills: To solve problems and stay informed about the latest research in mental health, counselors use these skills to expand their knowledge.
Pros and Cons to Consider
If you are interested in becoming a mental health counselor, it is important to consider both the potential advantages of the career as well as some of the potential drawbacks.
One of the most important tips of being a mental health counselor is standing capable to have a direct impact on the lives and well-being of clients. Counseling allows professionals to both control and treat psychological desperation, which can help clients lead healthier and more satisfied lives.
One possible downside to consider is the fact that the job can occasionally be stressful since counselors sometimes require to moderate and help clients who may be emotional, angry, or even aggressive.
Good stress management and emotional regulation capabilities can be important in keeping a good balance in your life as you fake the rigors of your job and other life responsibilities and goals.
Reasons to See a Mental Health Counselor
People often face mental health challenges throughout life. Such struggles can include anxiety, depression, grief, addiction, and difficulty in managing life’s stresses and challenges. Some of the causes you might want to desire the help of a mental health counselor:
- You are encountering repeated, undisciplined thoughts or memories related to a recent traumatic affair.
- Life seems intense and unmanageable.
- You feel indifferent to things you used to enjoy and severed from the people around you.
- You have been operating substances to manage your problems.
- Your anxiety feels overwhelming.
- Your relationships feel strained and not what they are utilized to be.
- You just feel like you would help by talking about your problems with a professional.
Remember, you don’t need to be sharing symptoms of a psychological disease to seek help from a mental health professional.
Counselors, as well as other mental health professionals, can help you with a vast range of regards, from stress to health to relationships. Whether your goal is to achieve insight into your behaviors, become a better partner or parent, or become more motivated to acquire your goals, consulting and how to become mental health counselor expert can help.
If you are looking for a counselor, you can use the help provided by the National Board of Certified Counselors to discover certified counselors in your area. You can also discuss your symptoms and requirements with your primary care physician who can then refer you to a mental health counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
A Word From Verywell
Mental health counselors play an essential role in the delivery of psychological services. If you feel that you might benefit from counseling, talk to your doctor to know more about your options and if a mental health counselor might be the right fit for your requirements.
If you are interested in a career in this area, spend some time researching what you will need to do to become a counselor. Mental health counseling is just one career opportunity on this site, and you might desire to consider related careers such as social worker, clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, or counseling psychologist.