Mental health counselor degree

The career of a mental health counselor requires extensive training. The reason is because it is a combination of counseling and behavior science which require specific education that cannot be obtained even at the undergraduate level. Students who wish to pursue a career in this field should budget at least six years of post-secondary education followed by continuing education programs as part of their professional development process.
Students who become mental health counselors usually take an undergraduate program in psychology or social work, as both areas deal with mental health issues. Not all schools in the US offer a graduate degree program in mental health counseling, and some schools have very specific undergraduate requirements. So it is best for students to do thorough research before they submit their undergraduate applications. This is a traditional area of study so most programs will be done in a classroom setting. It is very rare for a school to offer it as an online program.
Mental health counseling tends to be an interdisciplinary program at some schools, which means that it falls under the jurisdiction of more than one faculty. Because of the counseling component combined with mental health or behavioral science, it may fall under social work/counseling and medicine or psychology and medicine.
Regardless of which program you plan to take to pursue this career path, the demand for mental health counselors have been on the rise in recent years for a number of reasons:
One, it has become socially accepted to seek help for a condition that does not cause physical pain. However, research has shown that stress and mental health can lead to a myriad of issues with your body as they take a toll on your immune system.
Two, our lives have become increasingly complex. Issues in life (such as a death in the family, divorce or unemployment) can cause a strain on our mental and emotional being. Because everyone reacts to stress differently, it is important to seek help to prevent more serious issues or harm from happening.
Three, employers are starting to realize that mentally stable and happy employees equal a productive work place. There are far more employee assistance programs in place these days where they can visit a mental health counselor for help without additional financial strain.
Finally, governments are starting to place more funding for holistic programs to promote physical and mental health. Thus, there are more mental health wards opening up in hospitals that are designed to help patients with their mental and emotional issues as a preventative measure.
A career as a mental health counselor can be very rewarding for the right individual. Helping people overcome their mental health issues can be a leap towards to helping them reach their potential. For more information on the types of programs available for students wanting to pursue a career path as a mental health counselor, please contact your high school counselor.

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