Individuals struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse often need focused help to recover their well-being, and make changes in behavior that will improve their lives. Counselors offer the treatment and support that helps people recover. Substance abuse counselors and behavioral disorder counselors, teach clients how to cope with life’s problems without turning to substances, modify problem behaviors, help them rebuild relationships and, if necessary, reestablish their career. Mental health counselors treat clients with a variety of mental and emotional health issues and relationship problems. They may specialize in a population such as students, children, or the elderly. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors work in a wide variety of settings, including mental health centers and hospitals, prisons, and addiction or eating disorder treatment centers. Although rewarding, the work can be stressful, with large workloads, and often limited resources. They also may have to intervene in crisis situations or work with disturbed clients. Most counselors work full time. In some settings, they may need to work evenings, nights, or weekends. All states require mental health counselors to be licensed, which requires a master’s degree, internship, and a period of professionally supervised practice. For substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor positions, educational requirements can vary from a high school diploma and certification to a master’s degree. Licensure requirements vary by state and position, though all who work in private practice must be licensed.
What they do:
Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.
On the job, you would:
Maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients' treatment.
Encourage clients to express their feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives, helping them to develop insight into themselves or their relationships.
Collect information about clients through interviews, observation, or tests.
Math and Science
sociology and anthropology
therapy and counseling
Arts and Humanities
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
talking to others
understanding people's reactions
looking for ways to help people
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Internet browser software
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Client information database systems
Patient electronic medical record EMR software
Electronic mail software
master's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.