A mental health counselor is responsible for helping patients deal with their emotional and mental disorders by developing treatment plans and conducting regular counseling to track the patient's progress and condition. Mental health counselors encourage active communication from their patients, provide coping strategies for triggering situations, seek advice from other health care professionals, and guide patients on doing other activities that would help them relax. A mental health counselor must have excellent knowledge of the mental health disciplines to assist patients in their healthy lifestyle development.

Mental Health Counselor Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real mental health counselor resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Provide clinical consultation to consumers and clients regarding manage care services and other benefits available to them through their EAP programs.
  • Facilitate and co-facilitate several weekly progress groups for adults and juveniles regarding substance abuse, mental health, and managing relationships.
  • Assist with crisis intervention, (CPI) maintains treatment activities.
  • Counsele clients with various mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, and substance abuse
  • Communicate and collaborate with physicians, RN's, social workers, and therapists through daily and weekly meetings.
  • Provide clinical supervision to LPC candidates, contract clinicians and counseling psychology practicum/internship students.
  • Perform emergency mental health assessments to adults refer by local municipalities and hospitals due to acute mental and emotional distress.
  • Deescalate behavior using CPI techniques.
  • Receive training in diagnoses, physical restraints and CPR.
  • Assign, direct, and provide supervision of screening assessment complete by LPC and LCSW.
Mental Health Counselor Traits
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Emotional skills involve being able to express feelings in an appropriate way while being emphatic of others.
Problem-solving skills is the way that one is able to effectively solve a problem in a timely manner.

Mental Health Counselor Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, mental health counselor jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 11%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a mental health counselor?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of mental health counselor opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 81,200.

On average, the mental health counselor annual salary is $39,813 per year, which translates to $19.14 an hour. Generally speaking, mental health counselors earn anywhere from $26,000 to $59,000 a year, which means that the top-earning mental health counselors make $33,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Once you've become a mental health counselor, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a counselor internship, alcohol and drug counselor, crisis counselor, and group counselor.

Mental Health Counselor Jobs You Might Like

Mental Health Counselor Resume Examples

Mental Health Counselor Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 18% of Mental Health Counselors are proficient in Crisis Intervention, Mental Health, and Treatment Plans. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Emotional skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Mental Health Counselors that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Crisis Intervention, 18%

    Provided behavior modification, counseling and crisis intervention services to adults with various types of mental illness in an inpatient facility.

  • Mental Health, 13%

    Provided mental health counseling services to severely psychological disabled individuals with diagnoses of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia depression and borderline disorders.

  • Treatment Plans, 10%

    Collaborate with service providers/ assisted living facility staff and clients to perform clinical assessments and develop treatment plans.

  • Group Therapy, 8%

    Facilitated group therapy to clients diagnosed with chronic mental illnesses, who required close monitoring within a structured environment.

  • Patient Care, 7%

    Coordinated the observation of patients through individual and group sessions and documented patient charts with significant patient care observations.

  • CPR, 5%

    Certified in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), First aid, Seizure, Med, HIPPA, and Blood Borne pathogens.

"crisis intervention," "mental health," and "treatment plans" aren't the only skills we found mental health counselors list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of mental health counselor responsibilities that we found, including:

  • The most important skills for a mental health counselor to have in this position are communication skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a mental health counselor resume, you'll understand why: "clients talk to social workers about challenges in their lives" According to resumes we found, communication skills can be used by a mental health counselor in order to "group therapy also focused on mindfulness, communication skills, self-esteem, and employment skills. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling mental health counselor duties is emotional skills. According to a mental health counselor resume, "social workers often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations." Here's an example of how mental health counselors are able to utilize emotional skills: "provide counselling, medication administration and general emotional and behavioural support. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among mental health counselors is problem-solving skills. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a mental health counselor resume: "social workers need to develop practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems." This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "facilitated group therapy sessions with youth pertaining to conflict resolution, sexual promiscuity, and avoiding stds. "
  • In order for certain mental health counselor responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "interpersonal skills." According to a mental health counselor resume, "social workers need to be able to work with different groups of people" As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "create group therapy programs that focused on job skills training, cultural tolerance, fitness and nutrition, and interpersonal skills. "
  • Yet another important skill that a mental health counselor must demonstrate is "organizational skills." Social workers must help and manage multiple clients, often assisting with their paperwork or documenting their treatment. This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a mental health counselor who stated: "participated regularly in organizational meetings for advocacy of victims of domestic violence in the japanese community in new england area. "
  • See the full list of mental health counselor skills.

    We've found that 57.6% of mental health counselors have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 30.6% earned their master's degrees before becoming a mental health counselor. While it's true that most mental health counselors have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every nine mental health counselors did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those mental health counselors who do attend college, typically earn either psychology degrees or social work degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for mental health counselors include mental health counseling degrees or counseling psychology degrees.

    When you're ready to become a mental health counselor, you might wonder which companies hire mental health counselors. According to our research through mental health counselor resumes, mental health counselors are mostly hired by Ascension Health Alliance, Riverside Community Care, and Anthem. Now is a good time to apply as Ascension Health Alliance has 18 mental health counselors job openings, and there are 15 at Riverside Community Care and 12 at Anthem.

    If you're interested in companies where mental health counselors make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Mental Health America, Vestas, and Jewish Family & Children's Service. We found that at Mental Health America, the average mental health counselor salary is $48,526. Whereas at Vestas, mental health counselors earn roughly $48,196. And at Jewish Family & Children's Service, they make an average salary of $47,952.

    View more details on mental health counselor salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a mental health counselor include Private Practice, McLean Hospital, and Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego. These three companies were found to hire the most mental health counselors from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious mental health counselors are:

      What Counselor Internships Do

      When it comes to Counselor Internship, among the primary responsibilities is to assist in dealing with various activities such as preparing and verifying necessary documentation, observing consultations and outreach programs, guide clients and help develop multiple helpful strategies, and provide assessments. Furthermore, one can conduct counseling and consultation only under supervision. It is also essential to track the information gathered and coordinate with assigned personnel to adhere to the company's regulations and policies.

      In this section, we compare the average mental health counselor annual salary with that of a counselor internship. Typically, counselor interns earn a $1,810 higher salary than mental health counselors earn annually.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both mental health counselors and counselor interns positions are skilled in crisis intervention, mental health, and treatment plans.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a mental health counselor responsibilities require skills like "patient care," "cpr," "independent living," and "vital signs." Meanwhile a typical counselor internship has skills in areas such as "counselors," "clinical supervision," "small groups," and "new clients." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      Counselor interns really shine in the education industry with an average salary of $46,282. Whereas mental health counselors tend to make the most money in the non profits industry with an average salary of $42,898.

      The education levels that counselor interns earn is a bit different than that of mental health counselors. In particular, counselor interns are 3.3% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a mental health counselor. Additionally, they're 1.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of an Alcohol And Drug Counselor?

      A drug alcohol counselor treats addicts in either one-on-one or group settings. They help by educating and developing possible treatment plans for patients to support them in coping with their addictive personalities. A drug and alcohol counselor will evaluate to determine the progress has been successfully made towards recovery. They help patients better understand and overcome their addictions. Counselors help through offering support, rehabilitation, and guidance by using various techniques. Drug alcohol counselors seek to help an addict find the source of their addiction.

      Now we're going to look at the alcohol and drug counselor profession. On average, alcohol and drug counselors earn a $3,216 lower salary than mental health counselors a year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Mental health counselors and alcohol and drug counselors both include similar skills like "crisis intervention," "mental health," and "treatment plans" on their resumes.

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that mental health counselor responsibilities requires skills like "cpr," "independent living," "vital signs," and "recreational activities." But an alcohol and drug counselor might use skills, such as, "chemical dependency," "appropriate referrals," "asam," and "measurable goals."

      Alcohol and drug counselors may earn a lower salary than mental health counselors, but alcohol and drug counselors earn the most pay in the non profits industry with an average salary of $39,761. On the other side of things, mental health counselors receive higher paychecks in the non profits industry where they earn an average of $42,898.

      In general, alcohol and drug counselors study at lower levels of education than mental health counselors. They're 17.2% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 1.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Crisis Counselor Compares

      A crisis counselor is responsible for providing assistance and emotional support to clients under crises or mental health emergencies caused by stress, trauma, grief, and other factors. Most crisis counselors work at clinics or counseling centers, and there are instances where they can be at schools and organizations. Aside from diagnosing and providing specific treatments, a crisis counselor must also build rapport with clients, helping them feel comfortable every step of the way, and serving as a positive influence in their journey to recovery.

      The crisis counselor profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of mental health counselors. The difference in salaries is crisis counselors making $5,606 lower than mental health counselors.

      By looking over several mental health counselors and crisis counselors resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "crisis intervention," "mental health," and "treatment plans." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from mental health counselor resumes include skills like "patient care," "cpr," "independent living," and "staff meetings," whereas a crisis counselor might be skilled in "appropriate referrals," "emergency," "suicide prevention," and "community outreach. "

      Crisis counselors are known to earn lower educational levels when compared to mental health counselors. Additionally, they're 12.0% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 1.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Group Counselor

      A group counselor provides counseling services primarily in a group setting, aiming to provide clients with a supportive and healthy environment where they can work on different issues and reach personal goals. They typically conduct research and assessments, establish program objectives and guidelines, arrange various activities, and facilitate positive interactions to support one another. Additionally, a group counselor has the duty to implement policies and standards, create treatment plans, and optimize strategies to ensure clients receive optimal support and services.

      Group counselors tend to earn a higher pay than mental health counselors by about $91,253 per year.

      While their salaries may vary, mental health counselors and group counselors both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "crisis intervention," "mental health," and "treatment plans. "

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "patient care," "psychosocial assessments," "vital signs," and "community agencies" are skills that have shown up on mental health counselors resumes. Additionally, group counselor uses skills like safety rules, group setting, daily activities, and residential facility on their resumes.

      In general, group counselors reach lower levels of education when compared to mental health counselors resumes. Group counselors are 25.5% less likely to earn their Master's Degree and 2.0% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.