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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.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Mental Health Professional||Creoks Mental Health Services, Inc.||Claremore, OK||Oct 01, 2012||$70,720|
|Mental Health Professional||New Life Cognitive Behavioral Services, Inc.||Reading, PA||May 01, 2010||$62,610|
|Mental Health Professional||New Life Cognitive Behavioral Services, Inc.||Reading, PA||May 10, 2010||$62,610|
|Mental Health Professional Clinician||Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.||Anchorage, AK||Nov 09, 2015||$53,500|
|Mental Health Professional Clinician||Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.||Anchorage, AK||Sep 11, 2015||$53,500|
|Mental Health Professional||Recover Health Services LLC||Saint Anthony, MN||May 15, 2015||$52,175|
|Mental Health Professional||Recover Health Resources LLC||Saint Anthony, MN||May 15, 2015||$52,175|
|Mental Health Professionals-Therapist||AsociaciÓN de PuertorriqueÑOS En Marcha, Inc.||Philadelphia, PA||Sep 01, 2010||$52,000|
|Mental Health Professional||New Life Cognitive Behavioral Services, Inc.||Reading, PA||Sep 26, 2012||$41,740|
|Qualified Mental Health Professional (Qmhp)||Asian Health & Service Center||Portland, OR||Jan 08, 2016||$41,600|
|Out Patient Mental Health Professional||Creoks Mental Health Services, Inc.||Tulsa, OK||Sep 09, 2014||$40,000|
|Qualified Mental Health Professional||Hutchinson Regional Medical Center||Hutchinson, KS||Jan 01, 2013||$39,083|
|Mental Health Professional||Creoks Mental Health Services, Inc.||Claremore, OK||Oct 01, 2012||$36,000|
|Qualified Mental Health Professional||Asian Health & Service Center||Portland, OR||Aug 12, 2014||$34,018|
|Qualified Mental Health Professional||Asian Health & Service Center||Portland, OR||Jul 07, 2012||$34,018|
|Qualified Mental Health Professional||Asian Health and Service Center||Portland, OR||Jun 22, 2010||$33,016 -
|Qualified Mental Health Professional||Branches of Hope, LLC||Martinsville, VA||Sep 20, 2013||$31,305|
|Qualified Mental Health Professional||Asian Health and Service Center||Portland, OR||Jun 22, 2010||$31,305|
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