A Step-By-Step Guide to Becoming a Mental Health Counselor

In the modern age, people can easily experience some forms of mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders due to the pressure from work and personal life. This is why we need more mental health counselor jobs, but how exactly do you get one? What are the requirements?

A Step-By-Step Guide to Becoming a Mental Health Counselor
A Step-By-Step Guide to Becoming a Mental Health Counselor

1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree in a Social Science, Behavioral, or Psychology Field.

Getting a bachelor’s degree in counseling related fields is the first step to becoming a professional and experienced counselor. What’s more, those related fields can help you get into other careers in health psychology, so it’s always useful to learn more. Some master’s degree programs accept students with a bachelor’s degree in similar fields, therefore, it’s quite easy to be accepted as a prerequisite.

These courses include some of the most useful subjects in psychology and mental health study in general, such as counseling skills and foundation, the evaluation of human development, introduction to psychology, and basic approaches to counseling and therapy. Those who are seeking for psychiatrist jobs also benefit from these subjects.

2. Obtain a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

Obtain a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
Obtain a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

All mental health counselors and even those that wish to have mental health therapist jobs are required to obtain a master’s degree in order to get the official licensure.

Studies that exist specifically for mental health counseling are provided by quite a few CACREP accredited universities. CACREP is a well-known and a preferred accreditor for universities that have master’s degrees in mental health counseling. However, there are other accreditors out there you can look for that also specialize in this field.

3. Finish Internship Experience for Graduates and Postgraduates

Finish Internship Experience for Graduates and Postgraduates
Finish Internship Experience for Graduates and Postgraduates

Graduates will be able to learn lots of useful things from licensed professionals, as well as gaining massive confidence after getting their licensure.

Internship experience is essential in every master’s program, as it provides real-life experience and practical knowledge for future counselors to fully prepare before advancing their career to the next stage. 

Postgraduates will be able to perform real counselings for people with real mental health problems. This will help you gain massive experience and skills in the field. It is also a requirement if you want to get the official license for a mental health counselor, and since it’s so useful, it doesn’t sound like a bad requirement at all.

4. Pass the Licensure’s Counseling Exams

Pass the Licensure’s Counseling Exams
Pass the Licensure’s Counseling Exams

You should do some research on the requirement for passing the mental health counseling programs in your state. This is because some states and some programs require you to pass the counseling examination in order to graduate and obtain your licensure. A few counseling programs that have this requirement are the National Counselor Examination (NCE), and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). In addition, some states even need additional requirements before approving your licensure, so you should get used to these exams and requirements as they are very common nowadays. 

Conclusion

Once you’ve followed and completed all the steps mentioned above, you will officially become a licensed mental health counselor. Remember that this career may be challenging at times, and you should always stay up to date with the latest knowledge on this field.