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Become An Intake Counselor

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Working As An Intake 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

  • $42,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Intake 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 An Intake 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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Intake Counselor Career Paths

Intake 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
Therapist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Clinician Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Clinician Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Consultant Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Mental Health Therapist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Mental Health Therapist Clinical Social Worker
Senior Social Worker
6 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Team Leader Program Director
Director Of Residential Services
7 Yearsyrs
Intake Coordinator Patient Care Coordinator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Intake Coordinator Patient Care Coordinator Nurse Manager
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Intake Coordinator Clinical Coordinator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Utilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Lead Teacher House Manager
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Advocate Clinical Social Worker
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Specialist Administrator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Alcohol And Drug Counselor Clinical Social Worker Social Work Supervisor
Director Of Social Work
6 Yearsyrs
Alcohol And Drug Counselor Behavioral Specialist Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Alcohol And Drug Counselor Program Coordinator Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Addictions Counselor Mental Health Therapist Psychotherapist
Health Unit Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Primary Counselor 2.5 years
Clinical Counselor 2.5 years
Intake Coordinator 2.2 years
Intake Worker 2.1 years
Crisis Counselor 2.0 years
Intake Counselor 2.0 years
Phone Counselor 1.9 years
Intake Specialist 1.9 years
Top Careers Before Intake Counselor
Internship 15.2%
Case Manager 10.3%
Counselor 9.5%
Therapist 5.7%
Volunteer 4.4%
Clinician 2.6%
Teacher 2.1%
Top Careers After Intake Counselor
Counselor 12.0%
Case Manager 11.4%
Therapist 9.8%
Internship 6.4%
Clinician 5.2%
Volunteer 3.0%
Teacher 2.8%
Consultant 2.8%
Specialist 2.5%

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Top Skills for An Intake Counselor

  1. Appropriate Referrals
  2. Crisis Intervention
  3. Mental Health Services
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed telephone intakes, answered member eligibility and benefits questions and made appropriate referrals.
  • Provided individual and group therapy on an ongoing basis, crisis intervention and facilitated recovery orientated groups for men and women.
  • Referred individuals for additional services in their community such as mental health services, social services and medical care.
  • Conducted initial intake assessments to determine appropriateness for admission and appropriate treatment level of care.
  • Educated individuals on psychological, emotional, physiological effects on substance abuse, relapse prevention and identifying triggers.

Intake Counselor Demographics

Gender

Female

65.0%

Male

22.0%

Unknown

13.0%
Ethnicity

White

60.1%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Black or African American

12.7%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.6%

French

7.8%

Russian

4.4%

Chinese

3.3%

Italian

3.3%

Filipino

2.2%

Cantonese

2.2%

Mandarin

2.2%

Swedish

1.1%

Portuguese

1.1%

German

1.1%

Armenian

1.1%

Hindi

1.1%

Tagalog

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Bengali

1.1%
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Intake Counselor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.5%

Capella University

8.7%

Liberty University

6.9%

Walden University

6.5%

New York University

5.8%

Prairie View A & M University

5.5%

Grand Canyon University

5.5%

Webster University

4.7%

Florida State University

4.7%

Fordham University

4.4%

Louisiana Tech University

4.4%

Arizona State University

4.0%

Chicago School of Professional Psychology

4.0%

San Francisco State University

3.6%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.6%

Temple University

3.6%

University of Oklahoma

3.6%

Mercer University

3.3%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

3.3%

Columbia University

3.3%
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Majors

Social Work

18.6%

Psychology

14.2%

Mental Health Counseling

10.5%

School Counseling

10.3%

Counseling Psychology

8.5%

Criminal Justice

4.9%

Business

4.8%

Human Services

4.8%

Clinical Psychology

3.8%

Family Therapy

2.9%

Education

2.3%

Sociology

2.2%

Nursing

1.9%

Rehabilitation Science

1.9%

Law

1.9%

Health Care Administration

1.6%

Human Development

1.3%

English

1.2%

Human Resources Management

1.2%

Public Health

1.0%
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Degrees

Masters

48.8%

Bachelors

26.3%

Other

10.6%

Associate

5.3%

Doctorate

4.6%

Certificate

3.7%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.2%
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Intake Counselor Videos

Mental Health Counselor, Career Video from drkit.org

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