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Become A Group Home Counselor

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Working As A Group Home Counselor

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $44,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Group Home Counselor Do

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with their family and other relationships. They listen to clients and ask questions to help the clients understand their problems and develop strategies to improve their lives.

Duties

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists typically do the following:

  • Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Encourage clients to discuss their emotions and experiences
  • Help clients process their reactions and adjust to difficult changes in their life, such as divorce and layoffs
  • Guide clients through the process of making decisions about their future
  • Help clients develop strategies and skills to change their behavior and to cope with difficult situations
  • Refer clients to other resources or services in the community, such as support groups or inpatient treatment facilities

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists use a variety of techniques and tools to help their clients. Many apply cognitive behavioral therapy, a goal-oriented approach that helps clients understand harmful thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and teaches how to replace them with positive, life-enhancing ones. Furthermore, mental health counselors use cognitive behavioral therapy to teach clients to eliminate unwanted and damaging behaviors and to replace them with more productive ones.

Although some disorders can be overcome, others need to be managed. With the latter, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help the client develop strategies and skills to minimize the effects of their disorders or illnesses.

Many mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists work in private practice. They must spend time marketing their practice to prospective clients and working with insurance companies and clients to get payment for their services.

Mental health counselors provide treatment to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Some work with specific populations, such as the elderly, college students, or children. Mental health counselors deal with a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal impulses. They also help with mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems. 

Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples, and families. Unlike other types of mental health professionals, they bring a family-centered perspective to treatment, even when treating individuals. They evaluate family roles and development, to understand how clients’ families affect their mental health. They treat the clients’ relationships, not just the clients themselves. They address issues, such as low self-esteem, stress, addiction, and substance abuse.

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists coordinate patient treatment with other professionals, such as psychiatrists and social workers.

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How To Become A Group Home Counselor

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice.

Education

To become a mental health counselor or a marriage and family therapist, applicants typically need a master’s degree in psychology, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or a related mental health field. A bachelor’s degree in most fields is acceptable to enter a master’s program.

Counseling programs prepare students to recognize symptoms of mental and emotional disorders and to use effective counseling strategies. Marriage and family therapy programs teach students about how marriages, families, and relationships function and how these relationships can affect mental and emotional disorders.

Many employers prefer to hire counselors who have graduated from programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs.

Training

Candidates gain hands-on experience through postdegree supervised clinical work, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In training, they learn to provide family therapy, group therapy, psychotherapy, and other therapeutic interventions, under the supervision of a licensed counselor.

Licenses

All states require mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists to be licensed in the state in which they practice. Licensure requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of postdegree supervised clinical experience, sometimes referred to as an internship or residency. In addition, counselors and therapists must pass a state-recognized exam and complete annual continuing education classes.

Contact information for state boards regulating mental health counselors is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Contact and licensing information for marriage and family therapists is available through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Counselors and therapists often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different types of people is essential for counselors and therapists. They spend most of their time working directly with clients and other professionals and must be able to encourage good relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, both of whom need to give their full attention to their clients to understand their problems, values, and goals.

Organizational skills. Good organizational skills are especially important for counselors and therapists in private practice, who must keep track of payments and work with insurance companies.

Speaking skills. Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists need to be able to communicate with clients effectively. They must express ideas and information in a way that clients can understand easily.

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Group Home Counselor Career Paths

Group Home Counselor
Counselor Therapist
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Counselor Therapist Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Counselor Clinician Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Executive Assistant Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Executive Assistant Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Supervisor Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Lead Teacher Program Director
Director Of Program Services
8 Yearsyrs
Residential Counselor Social Worker Therapist
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Residential Counselor Clinician Social Work Supervisor
Director Of Social Work
6 Yearsyrs
Residential Counselor Social Worker Clinician
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Teacher Executive Assistant Assistant Property Manager
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Teacher Administrator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Utilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Teacher Adjunct Instructor Registered Nurse Case Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Direct Support Professional Mental Health Worker Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Direct Support Professional Therapeutic Support Staff Program Supervisor
Director Of Residential Services
7 Yearsyrs
Intensive In-Home Counselor Mental Health Therapist Program Supervisor
Residential Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Direct Support Professional Therapeutic Support Staff House Manager
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Intensive In-Home Counselor Program Coordinator Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Teacher Counselor 2.6 years
Lead Counselor 2.5 years
Group Counselor 2.1 years
Counselor 2.0 years
Program Counselor 1.9 years
Youth Counselor 1.9 years
Relief Counselor 1.9 years
Top Careers Before Group Home Counselor
Cashier 13.8%
Internship 8.4%
Counselor 7.9%
Teacher 4.9%
Volunteer 4.5%
Top Careers After Group Home Counselor
Counselor 8.0%
Cashier 6.6%
Teacher 5.5%
Internship 5.5%
Manager 3.1%
Aide 2.8%
Volunteer 2.8%

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Top Skills for A Group Home Counselor

  1. Behavioral Issues
  2. Medical Appointments
  3. Independent Living
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Administered and monitored daily psychiatric medications and medical appointments.
  • Assisted mentally challenged consumers in independent living, monitored and tracked client behaviors, assisted in behavior modification.
  • Engaged in crisis prevention and/or crisis intervention as directed.
  • Conducted intake interviews, completed mental health assessments, developed individual treatment plans, and implemented case management services.
  • Provide direct supervision and care to teen residents while teaching independence, meal planning/preparation; reform work.

Group Home Counselor Demographics

Gender

Female

52.6%

Male

30.6%

Unknown

16.9%
Ethnicity

White

63.0%

Hispanic or Latino

14.7%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

French

9.1%

Arabic

6.1%

Swedish

3.0%

Vietnamese

3.0%

Hebrew

3.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Russian

3.0%

Korean

3.0%
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Group Home Counselor Education

Schools

Cumberland County College

12.6%

University of Phoenix

9.0%

Liberty University

7.8%

San Jose State University

7.2%

Norfolk State University

7.2%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

5.4%

California State University - Fresno

4.8%

Capella University

4.8%

Wilmington University

4.2%

Virginia State University

4.2%

National University

3.6%

San Francisco State University

3.6%

University of Montana

3.6%

Old Dominion University

3.6%

Kaplan University

3.6%

Roberts Wesleyan College

3.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.0%

University of Southern California

3.0%

California State University - Sacramento

3.0%

San Joaquin Delta College

3.0%
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Majors

Psychology

15.9%

Social Work

11.4%

Criminal Justice

9.6%

Human Services

6.7%

Business

6.6%

Sociology

6.0%

Nursing

5.7%

School Counseling

4.1%

Medical Assisting Services

4.1%

Counseling Psychology

3.8%

Education

3.4%

Mental Health Counseling

3.4%

Elementary Education

3.1%

Liberal Arts

2.9%

Nursing Assistants

2.5%

Clinical Psychology

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.3%

Special Education

2.3%

Human Development

2.2%

General Studies

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

31.5%

Other

27.0%

Masters

22.7%

Associate

9.2%

Certificate

4.4%

Diploma

2.5%

Doctorate

1.8%

License

0.9%
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