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

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for mental health counselors in the Ontario, California area. About 11,200 people are currently employed as mental health counselors in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow 21% to 13,500 people employed. 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%. Mental health counselors generally counsel with emphasis on prevention.

The income of a mental health counselor is about $19 hourly or $41,280 annually on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 hourly or $36,810 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as mental health counselors in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy nationally. Jobs in this field include: licensed chemical dependency counselor, group counselor, and clinical social worker.

There are twenty-two schools of higher education in the Ontario area, including one within twenty-five miles of Ontario where you can get a degree to start your career as a mental health counselor. Given that the most common education level 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 Ontario 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.
  • Health Education Specialist. Promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies and environments. May also serve as a resource to assist individuals, other professionals, or the community, and may administer fiscal resources for health education programs.
  • 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.
  • Social Services Assistant. Assist professionals from a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, to provide client services, as well as support for families. May assist clients in identifying available benefits and social and community services and help clients obtain them. May assist social workers with developing, organizing, and conducting programs to prevent and resolve problems relevant to substance abuse, human relationships, or adult daycare.
  • 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

Loma Linda University - Loma Linda, CA

Loma Linda University, , Loma Linda, CA 92350. Loma Linda University is a small university located in Loma Linda, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 4,115 students. Loma Linda University has 3 areas of study related to Mental Health Counselor. They are:

  • Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Clinical/Medical Social Work, doctor's degree.
  • Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 6 students 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: Ontario, California

Ontario, California
Ontario, California photo by Sfan00_IMG

Ontario is situated in San Bernardino County, California. It has a population of over 171,691, which has grown by 8.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Ontario, 127, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Ontario are priced at $164,100 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, eight new homes were constructed in Ontario, down from three hundred seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Ontario are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 31 minutes. More than 10.5% of Ontario residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 2.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Ontario is 14.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Ontario residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.0%, is less than both the national and state average. Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses, Country Church of Ontario and Grace Missionary Baptist Church are all churches located in Ontario. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Ontario is home to the Ontario Motor Speedway and the West End Multi-Service Center as well as Del Rancho Park and Unity Park. Shopping malls in the area include Galvin Park Shopping Center, Vineyard Freeway Shopping Center and Ontario Vineyard Marketplace Shopping Center. Visitors to Ontario can choose from Best Western Ontario, Best Western Ontario Airport and Amerisuites Ontario Mills for temporary stays in the area.