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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Chula Vista, California

Chula Vista, California provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for mental health counselors. There are currently 11,200 jobs for mental health counselors in California and this is projected to grow 21% to about 13,500 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for mental health counselors are expected to grow by about 24.0%. In general, mental health counselors counsel with emphasis on prevention.

The income of a mental health counselor is about $19 hourly or $41,280 per year on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 per hour or $36,810 per year on average. Mental health counselors earn less than people working in the category of Counseling and Therapy generally in California and less than people in the Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Mental health counselors work in a variety of jobs, including: group counselor, counseling psychologist, and residential child care counselor.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Chula Vista where you can study to be a mental health counselor, among sixty schools of higher education total in the Chula Vista area. The most common level of education for mental health counselors is a Master's degree. It will take about six years to learn to be a mental health counselor if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Mental Health Counselor

Mental Health Counselor video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, mental health counselors counsel with emphasis on prevention. They also work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health.

Mental health counselors maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients' treatment. They also encourage clients to express their feelings and consider what is happening in their lives, and help them to evolve insight into themselves and their relationships. Equally important, mental health counselors have to collect data related to clients through interviews and tests. They are often called upon to guide clients in the development of skills and strategies for dealing with their problems. They are expected to modify treatment efforts and approaches as needed to comply with changes in clients' status. Finally, mental health counselors formulate, organize and lead structured programs of counseling, work, study, recreation and social activities for clients.

Every day, mental health counselors are expected to be able to piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for mental health counselors to monitor clients' use of medications. They are often called upon to formulate and conduct programs to stop substance abuse or improve community health and counseling services. They also supervise other counselors, social service staff and graduate students. They are sometimes expected to schedule and direct employee workshops and training about mental health issues. Somewhat less frequently, mental health counselors are also expected to guide clients in the development of skills and strategies for dealing with their problems.

Mental health counselors sometimes are asked to design and implement treatment plans on the basis of clinical experience and knowledge. They also have to be able to ready and maintain all required treatment records and reports And finally, they sometimes have to learn about new developments in their field by reading professional literature, attending courses and seminars, and establishing and maintaining contact with other social service agencies.

Like many other jobs, mental health counselors must have strong self control in the face of challenging situations and have a strong concern for others.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chula Vista include:

  • Career Advisor. Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
  • Child and Family Services Worker. Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist single parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers on how to deal with problem children.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist. Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of professional services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.
  • Rehabilitation Counselor. Counsel individuals to maximize the independence and employability of persons coping with personal, social, and vocational difficulties that result from birth defects, illness, or the stress of daily life. Coordinate activities for residents of care and treatment facilities. Assess client needs and design and implement rehabilitation programs that may include personal and vocational counseling, training, and job placement.
  • Substance Abuse Specialist. Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Mental Health Counselor Training

Palomar College - San Marcos, CA

Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069-1487. Palomar College is a large college located in San Marcos, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 28,093 students. Palomar College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated eleven, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

San Diego City College - San Diego, CA

San Diego City College, 1313 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101-4787. San Diego City College is a large college located in San Diego, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,372 students. San Diego City College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated forty-seven and nineteen students respectively in 2008.


Certified In Thanatology: Certification in Thanatology (CT) is a foundation certification that enhances the professional designation established by the academic discipline of each certificate holder.

For more information, see the Association for Death Education and Counseling website.

Distance Credentialed counselor: A Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) will be nationally recognized as a professional with training in best practices in Distance Counseling.

For more information, see the Center for Credentialing & Education, Inc. website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chula Vista, California

Chula Vista, California
Chula Vista, California photo by FlickreviewR

Chula Vista is located in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 219,318, which has grown by 26.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chula Vista, 134, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Chula Vista are valued at $226,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eleven new homes were built in Chula Vista, down from three hundred twelve the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chula Vista are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 22.2% of Chula Vista residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chula Vista is 12.3%, which is the same as California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Chula Vista residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Seventh Day Adventist Church, First Christian Church and First Church of Christ are some of the churches located in Chula Vista. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Chula Vista is home to the Fenton Ranch and the Chula Vista Municipal Golf Course as well as Los Ninos Park and Library Park. Shopping centers in the area include Florence Shopping Center, Rio Sweetwater Plaza Shopping Center and Genesis Square Shopping Center. Visitors to Chula Vista can choose from Best Western Chula Vista Inn, Bay Cities Motel and Big 7 Motel for temporary stays in the area.