If you are considering a career in clinical counseling, you are in good company. It takes courage and compassion to dedicate your career to helping others. Fortunately, the career prospects for clinical counselors are excellent. With strong job growth expected, once you obtain the necessary credentials there should be a variety of career paths available to you.
The Strong Demand for Mental Health Counseling
The field of mental health counseling is expected to grow by 30% over the next 10 years—good news for anyone pursuing a career as a clinical counselor. The strong projected demand indicates that finding a job as a counselor should be easier than ever before.
Career Paths as a Clinical Counselor
There are a variety of career paths available to clinical counselors. Some of the options include:
- Family Services
- Outpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers
- Inpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers
- Private Practice
Specific job titles include:
- Outpatient Clinician
- Addiction Counselor
- Crisis Counselor
What Does it Take to Become a Clinical Counselor?
A Master’s Degree
The majority of mental health counseling positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, although a master’s degree tends to be the standard. Most programs range from one to three years in length. The more in-depth the training, the longer the program.
There are several paths to becoming a counselor, depending on your interests and preferences. Common master’s degrees that apply to counseling include psychology, mental health counseling, clinical social work, and related degrees.
The licensing required for clinical counselors varies from state to state and you will need to meet the licensure requirements for your state before you can practice as a counselor. By researching the state requirements, you can determine what specific degree—if any—your state requires for counseling work. Not all states require a degree, but most require you to at least pass an exam before you can work as a counselor.
A Note on Private Practice
If you plan on establishing your own counseling practice, be aware that the criteria for getting licensed as a clinical counselor in private practice are more rigorous than working in other positions. All states require that counselors in private practice be licensed. Most states expect you to have a master’s degree as well as a certain number of hours of practice under supervision—typically 2,000 to 4,000 hours.
In addition to meeting the education and experience requirements, you will also need to pass an exam and engage in continuing education as you practice.
Enjoy a Rewarding Career as a Clinical Counselor
It can be challenging to meet the necessary requirements to become a clinical counselor, but the hard work is worth it. You can enjoy a rewarding career with strong projected growth over the long-term.
Want to learn what it takes to be a clinical counselor? Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology offers a master’s in clinical counseling degree online or on-campus. Contact Alliant International University to learn more.