Health Career Center

Mental Health

Mental health is one of the largest branches of the field of healthcare and offers an array of career opportunities. Mental health specialists, including counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and nurses, help people suffering from mental health disorders, emotional problems, substance abuse, addiction, anger or depression, and relationship issues. Mental health specialists help their patients correct their problems and teach them how to prevent them.

Mental health specialists work with people from a wide range of backgrounds. They assist children, adolescents, young adults, adults, and the elderly. Counseling specialists work with individuals, couples and families. Approaches to care and treatment may include medical intervention, cognitive therapy, psycho-social therapy, psycho-therapeutic, or a combination of the aforementioned.

The majority of mental health specialists hold advanced degrees in their field of expertise and have typically received training in behavioral science, cognition, psychology and brain function. Psychiatrists are one of the few mental health specialists that can prescribe medication in addition to providing psychotherapy and other treatments.

The following a few of the most popular mental health careers:
  • Professional Counselors are probably the most numerous of mental health professionals. They provide mental health, substance abuse, addiction and relationship counseling services and therapies to millions of people throughout the world. Counselors work with individuals, couples, families and groups to treat a wide range of emotional and mental disorders. While professional counselors work with an assortment of healthcare organizations, most work in community health centers and clinics. Some counselors work with well established managed care organizations. Others operated private practices. The minimum entry-level requirement to become a licensed counselor is typically a master's degree. Most states require counselors to obtain a license before they can practice. The most common designation for professionals counselors is LPC (licensed professional counselor). You can learn more about a career in professional counseling at The American Counseling Association.

  • Psychologists are highly education mental and behavioral health professionals trained to help people deal with everything from the stresses of everyday life to severe mental health disorders. There are two common types of psychologists: counseling psychologists and clinical psychologists. Counseling psychologists provide therapies designed to help individuals, families and groups cope with the emotional and mental stresses of relationships and life. Clinical psychologists work in clinical settings, including hospitals, clinics, etc. Most states required psychologists to be licensed before they can practice. Before applying for licensure, applicants must obtain a Ph.D. or Psy.D. in psychology from and APA accredited program. You can learn more about a career in psychology from the American Psychological Association.

  • Psychiatrists are the doctors of the field of mental health. They are licensed medical doctors (MDs) who diagnose and treat mental health disorders. They are one of the few mental health practitioners who prescribe medication. As medical doctors, psychiatrists have an in depth understanding of mental health as it relates to other medical illness. You can learn more about a career in psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association.

  • Social Workers come in contact with individuals and families each and every day who struggle with some form of emotional or mental illness that affects their ability to interact socially. Part of a social worker's job is to help these individuals identify and address their mental health issues and enhance their ability for healthy social functioning. In addition to working with individuals, social workers help families, groups and communities to enhance social well being and health. Social workers assist people struggling with a myriad of challenges including divorce, poverty, alienation, addiction, discrimination, disability, unemployment and mental illness. The minimum educational requirement for becoming a social worker is typically a bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study from an accredited college or university. You can learn more about becoming a social worker from the National Association of Social Workers.

  • Psychiatric nurses are trained registered nurses who specialize in treating individuals who have been diagnosed with some form of mental health illness or disorder. In addition to becoming a licensed registered nurses these professional often earn degrees or receive specialized training in behavioral therapy. You can learn more about a career in psychiatric nursing from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

Mental Health careers:
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Psychologists specialize in analyzing human behavior and brain function. They study all features of human experience, including child development, cognitive function, and human relationships. Psychology offers a wide array of career opportunities.

Salary: $30,000 - $78,654

Education: 4 - 8 Years (beyond high school)

Job Outlook: Excellent

Learn more...