If you have an interest in mental health and wellness, you may like working as a clinical counselor. As of 2013, clinical counselors earned a median salary of $72,713. Explore a day in the life of a clinical counselor and the field's educational requirements to learn more about this career path.
What Do Clinical Counselors Do?
Clinical counselors provide mental health counseling on the individual, couple, or small group level. Whether the patient is dealing with a death or trauma, or interpersonal issues such as a divorce, the job of a clinical counselor is to support the patient and help them cope with these challenges. Clinical counseling combines the traditional talk therapy model with a results-oriented approach, so that a patient can change their outlook, combat a bad habit, or find personal growth.
Clinical counselors also assist with the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions, although they are unable to prescribe medication. Essential skills for a successful career in clinical counseling include: communication, listening, empathy, and compassion. These skills are crucial in forging a strong therapist-client relationship.
How to Become a Clinical Counselor
Clinical counselor education requirements vary by state. Many states require a Master's of Science with a clinical counseling concentration; some positions in the clinical counseling field require PhD training. Any master's program that is accredited by the APA, as Alliant's are, will help you start your clinical counseling career.
If your state does not require licensing, you can obtain your Master's degree and complete any related practice hours needed to get your degree. Once you have completed your online or on-campus program, you may then begin your career in clinical counseling.
Career Paths You Can Expect With a Clinical Counseling Degree
Clinical counselors work in a variety of settings, including mental health centers, health maintenance organizations, schools and universities, businesses, and research centers. Some counselors work one on one with patients, while others serve as teachers and mental health researchers.
If you're ready to help support your fellow man, make a lasting impact in your community, and take the next steps in your clinical counseling education online or on-campus, please contact the Alliant admissions department today.