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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Irvine, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for mental health counselors in the Irvine, California area. 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.

A person working as a mental health counselor can expect to earn about $19 per hour or $41,280 annually on average in California and about $17 per hour or $36,810 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. 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. Jobs in this field include: correctional counselor, human service coordinator, and therapist.

The Irvine area is home to 112 schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Irvine where you can get a degree as a mental health counselor. Mental health counselors usually hold a Master's degree, so you can expect to spend about six years training to become a mental health counselor if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with 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 Irvine 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.
  • 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

Intercoast Colleges - Carson, CA

Intercoast Colleges, One Civic Plaza-Ste 110, Carson, CA 90745. Intercoast Colleges is a small college located in Carson, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 143 students. Intercoast Colleges has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated fifty-four students in 2008.

Long Beach City College - Long Beach, CA

Long Beach City College, 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach, CA 90808-1706. Long Beach City College is a large college located in Long Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,097 students. Long Beach City College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated twenty-three, twenty-eight, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Intercoast Colleges - Orange, CA

Intercoast Colleges, 3745 W. Chapman Avenue #100, Orange, CA 92868. Intercoast Colleges is a small college located in Orange, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 93 students. Intercoast Colleges has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated forty-six students in 2008.

Cypress College - Cypress, CA

Cypress College, 9200 Valley View, Cypress, CA 90630-5897. Cypress College is a large college located in Cypress, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,990 students. Cypress College has a one to two year and a two to four year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated twenty-one and zero students respectively in 2008.

Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science - Los Angeles, CA

Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, 1731 E 120th St, Los Angeles, CA 90059. Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science is a small university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 249 students. Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.

Saddleback College - Mission Viejo, CA

Saddleback College, 28000 Marguerite Pky, Mission Viejo, CA 92692-3635. Saddleback College is a large college located in Mission Viejo, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,706 students. Saddleback College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated seventeen, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Rio Hondo College - Whittier, CA

Rio Hondo College, 3600 Workman Mill Rd, Whittier, CA 90601-1616. Rio Hondo College is a large college located in Whittier, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,505 students. Rio Hondo College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated nine, nine, four, and zero students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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: Irvine, California

Irvine, California
Irvine, California photo by SoCal L.A.

Irvine is situated in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 207,500, which has grown by 45.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Irvine, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Irvine are valued at $283,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-five new homes were built in Irvine, down from two hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Irvine are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and computer and electronic products. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 58.4% of Irvine residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Irvine is 7.3%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Irvine residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Irvine is home to the International Raceway and the Heritage Park Library as well as Heritage Park and Alderwood Park. Shopping centers in the area include Heritage Plaza Shopping Center, Alton Square Shopping Center and Arbor Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Irvine can choose from Atrium Hotel At Orange County Airport and Amerilodge Electronics for temporary stays in the area.