Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Riverside, California
Riverside, California provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for mental health counselors. There are currently 11,200 working mental health counselors in California; this should grow by 21% to about 13,500 working mental health counselors in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for mental health counselors, which sees this job pool growing by about 24.0% over the next eight years. Mental health counselors generally counsel with emphasis on prevention.
Income for mental health counselors is about $19 per hour or $41,280 annually on average in California. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $36,810 annually. 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. People working as mental health counselors can fill a number of jobs, such as: clinical supervisor, mental health program specialist, and therapist.
There are twenty-three schools of higher education in the Riverside area, including five within twenty-five miles of Riverside where you can get a degree to start your career as a mental health counselor. 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 starting with a Bachelor's degree.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Mental Health Counselor
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 Riverside 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 - Riverside, CA
Intercoast Colleges, 1989 Atlanta Ave, Riverside, CA 92507. Intercoast Colleges is a small college located in Riverside, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 135 students. Intercoast Colleges has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated seventy-three students in 2008.
Palo Verde College - Blythe, CA
Palo Verde College, One College Drive, Blythe, CA 92225. Palo Verde College is a small college located in Blythe, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,100 students. Palo Verde College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated fifty-five and zero students respectively in 2008.
Mt. San Jacinto Community College District - San Jacinto, CA
Mt. San Jacinto Community College District, 1499 N State St, San Jacinto, CA 92583-2399. Mt. San Jacinto Community College District is a large college located in San Jacinto, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 18,162 students. Mt. San Jacinto Community College District has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated seven, seven, and zero students respectively in 2008.
College of the Desert - Palm Desert, CA
College of the Desert, 43-500 Monterey Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260. College of the Desert is a medium sized college located in Palm Desert, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,632 students. College of the Desert has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated fifteen, four, and zero students respectively in 2008.
San Bernardino Valley College - San Bernardino, CA
San Bernardino Valley College, 701 South Mount Vernon Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92410-2798. San Bernardino Valley College is a large college located in San Bernardino, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 13,317 students. San Bernardino Valley College has a one to two year and a two to four year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated thirty-seven and zero 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: Riverside, California
Riverside is located in Riverside County, California. It has a population of over 295,357, which has grown by 15.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Riverside, 123, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Riverside cost $328,500 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, sixty-nine new homes were built in Riverside, down from three hundred forty-two the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Riverside are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 19.1% of Riverside residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.9%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Riverside is 15.2%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.
The percentage of Riverside residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.0%, is less than both the national and state average. All Saints Episcopal Church, All Souls Universalist Church and Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church are all churches located in Riverside. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Riverside is home to the Riverside Art Museum and the Riverside Municipal Auditorium and Soldiers Memorial Building as well as Evans Park and Fairmount Park. Shopping malls in the area include Adams Plaza Shopping Center, Jurupa Grand Center Shopping Center and Five Points Shopping Center. Visitors to Riverside can choose from Airport-Inn, Arlington Motor Inn and Best Western of Riverside for temporary stays in the area.