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Working As a Youth 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

  • $29,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Youth 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 Youth 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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Youth Counselor Career Paths

Youth Counselor
Counselor Therapist Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Counselor Clinician Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Counselor Therapist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Consultant Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Instructor Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Supervisor Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Consultant Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Program Director
Director Of Program Services
8 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Team Leader Program Director
Director Of Residential Services
7 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Executive Assistant Assistant Property Manager
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Teacher Program Coordinator Therapist
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Clinical Social Worker Social Work Supervisor
Director Of Social Work
6 Yearsyrs
Residential Counselor Social Worker Clinician
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Teacher Administrator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Utilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Residential Counselor Mental Health Worker Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinician Office Manager House Manager
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Clinical Social Worker Program Supervisor
Residential Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Administrator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Teacher Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Youth Counselor?

Average Yearly Salary
$29,000
Show Salaries
$23,000
Min 10%
$29,000
Median 50%
$29,000
Median 50%
$29,000
Median 50%
$29,000
Median 50%
$29,000
Median 50%
$29,000
Median 50%
$29,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Magellan Health
Highest Paying City
Glendale, AZ
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
1.9 years
How much does a Youth Counselor make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Youth Counselor in the United States is $29,880 per year or $14 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $23,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $38,000.

Real Youth Counselor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Youth Counselor II Danbury Youth Services, Inc. Danbury, CT May 15, 2013 $48,001 -
$56,349
Youth Counselor Bethel Ministries of Orange County Seattle, WA Oct 23, 2013 $45,434
Youth Counselor New York Asian Women's Center NY Jun 17, 2016 $40,000
Youth Counselor Tampa Korean Evangelical Church, Incorporated Lutz, FL Sep 12, 2015 $35,526
Youth Development Counselor Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. Lenox, MA Dec 12, 2016 $34,436
Bilingual Youth Counselor Friends of Youth Renton, WA Apr 26, 2016 $33,280 -
$37,620
Youth Development Counselor Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. Lenox, MA Dec 12, 2016 $31,514
Youth Development Counselor Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. Great Barrington, MA Sep 05, 2016 $31,514
Youth Development Counselor Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. Lenox, MA Jun 25, 2015 $30,992
Youth (Adolescence) Counselor New Vision Youth Community Center Glenside, PA Oct 01, 2011 $30,616
Youth (Adolescence) Counselor New Vision Youth Community Center Glenside, PA Oct 01, 2014 $30,616
Youth Development Counselor Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. Lenox, MA Dec 12, 2016 $30,262
Youth Development Counselor Good Shepherd Services New York, NY Nov 24, 2014 $30,025
Youth Development Counselor Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. Lenox, MA Nov 07, 2016 $29,948
Youth Development Counselor Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. Lenox, MA Aug 22, 2016 $29,948
Youth Development Counselor Hillcrest Educational Centers, Inc. Lenox, MA Jun 20, 2016 $29,948

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Top Skills for A Youth Counselor

  1. Behavioral Issues
  2. Crisis Intervention
  3. Treatment Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised children and young adults under intensive treatment for psychiatric and behavioral issues in a residential, courtyard-based treatment facility.
  • Monitored and provided safety and structure to teenage residents by utilizing a level system as well as non-violent crisis intervention techniques.
  • Implement individual and group treatment plans for youthful offender rehabilitation while providing security, controlling and maintaining custody and safeguarding juveniles.
  • Provided counseling to individuals to identify and solve complex personal and family problems under direct supervision of the program director.
  • Created and implemented educational/recreational activities.

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Top 10 Best States for Youth Counselors

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Connecticut
  4. Maine
  5. New York
  6. New Jersey
  7. Nevada
  8. Hawaii
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Alaska
  • (26 jobs)
  • (674 jobs)
  • (130 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (356 jobs)
  • (191 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (272 jobs)
  • (29 jobs)

Youth Counselor Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 35,386 Youth Counselor resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Youth Counselor Resume

View Resume Examples

Youth Counselor Demographics

Gender

Female

50.2%

Male

36.8%

Unknown

13.0%
Ethnicity

White

63.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

73.2%

French

8.7%

Portuguese

2.5%

German

1.9%

Italian

1.8%

Arabic

1.5%

Russian

1.4%

Chinese

1.4%

Mandarin

1.0%

Japanese

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Hmong

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Cantonese

0.6%

Greek

0.5%

Hindi

0.4%

Urdu

0.4%

Swedish

0.3%

Swahili

0.3%

Hebrew

0.3%
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Youth Counselor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.9%

Liberty University

8.6%

Capella University

7.0%

Walden University

5.6%

Miami Dade College

5.1%

University of Louisville

5.0%

Ashford University

5.0%

Kaplan University

4.8%

Grand Canyon University

4.3%

Brigham Young University

3.7%

Arizona State University

3.6%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.5%

Strayer University

3.5%

Monroe College

3.4%

University of Iowa

3.4%

Virginia State University

3.3%

Saint Cloud State University

3.2%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.1%

The Academy

3.1%

University of Memphis

3.0%
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Majors

Criminal Justice

17.8%

Psychology

16.0%

Social Work

11.0%

Business

9.3%

Human Services

5.8%

Sociology

5.6%

Mental Health Counseling

3.2%

Education

3.2%

Counseling Psychology

3.1%

Nursing

3.1%

School Counseling

3.0%

Communication

2.8%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

General Studies

2.4%

Medical Assisting Services

2.1%

Elementary Education

1.9%

Kinesiology

1.9%

Health Care Administration

1.8%

Human Development

1.8%

Management

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.1%

Other

21.6%

Masters

20.0%

Associate

10.3%

Certificate

3.2%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

1.2%

License

0.3%
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Updated May 19, 2020