Where Do Most Mental Health Counselors Work?

Mental health counselors are employed in a variety of settings from hospitals to residential care facilities. Learn about the most popular positions held by licensed mental health counselors.

Where Do Most Mental Health Counselors Work?

Mental health counselors are employed in a variety of settings, from inpatient and outpatient treatment centers to correctional facilities and hospitals. Substance abuse counselors may work in residential treatment centers, while geriatric counselors are often employed by centers and organizations that provide services to the elderly. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has more than 1,200 community outpatient clinics, VA hospitals, and VA veterinary centers in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 31 percent of school and professional counselors work in colleges, universities, and vocational schools at the state, local, and private levels.

Government sector jobs are the highest-paying for mental health counselors, followed by hospitals and then private practice. Most counselors work full-time, although some may work nights and weekends depending on their client load and desired flexibility. Today, mental health counselors are finding employment in a growing range of settings. Private practice is just one option; depending on your passions and areas of expertise, you could work in community agencies, hospitals and other healthcare organizations, public or private schools and universities, assisted living centers, and more.

A supervisor of a provisional license holder is defined as a clinical social worker licensed in Florida, a marriage and family therapist, or a mental health counselor. When offering individual treatment or conducting group therapy sessions, professionals with a graduate degree in counseling usually work in a mental health center. An associate degree in counseling prepares graduates to work in residential care facilities as substance abuse or addiction counselors. Most of the time, this type of counselor focuses on a particular area of expertise such as mental health counseling, family and marriage counseling, or substance abuse counseling.

As a school adjustment counselor, you'll work in a school setting to address the mental health needs of children, teens, and young adults. Mental health counselors can provide services to clients in a particular population and work in settings such as substance abuse clinics, adoption services, counseling centers, family care centers, and private practices. By offering a variety of counseling services focusing on mental health, rehabilitation, substance abuse, and other areas of social work, counselors with undergraduate and graduate degrees find work in social service or non-profit agencies. The prison system also employs counselors to provide individual and group therapy to people who are incarcerated or living in a correctional facility. Community counselors are hired by localized mental health agencies to help local people interact with community leaders and bridge the gap between support services found in surrounding areas.

A master's degree in counseling can lead to employment as a social worker, mental health counselor, or case manager in a mental health agency or center. By earning a master's degree in counseling aspiring mental health counselors will be prepared to make a difference in their community. We've listed the most popular positions held by licensed mental health counselors and what you can expect to do in these positions: minimum of a master's degree earned from a mental health counseling program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Related Educational Programs (CACREP) consisting of at least 60 semester hours or 80 quarterly hours of clinical and didactic instruction including courses such as mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, social work services, case management services, crisis intervention services, family therapy services, group therapy services, rehabilitation services. A doctorate in counseling qualifies professionals to hold positions as coordinators or directors of mental health agencies. Explore the positions typically held by licensed mental health counselors and what you can expect to do in these positions.