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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in San Bernardino, California

Mental health counselors can find many career and educational opportunities in the San Bernardino, California area. About 11,200 people are currently employed as mental health counselors in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow 21% to about 13,500 people employed. 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.

Mental health counselors earn about $19 per hour or $41,280 per year on average in California and about $17 per hour or $36,810 annually on average nationally. 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: behavioral health therapist, correctional counselor, and psychologist.

There are fifty-one schools of higher education in the San Bernardino area, including five within twenty-five miles of San Bernardino 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, you can expect to spend about six years studying 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

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 San Bernardino 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

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.

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.

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: San Bernardino, California

San Bernardino, California
San Bernardino, California photo by Ie909

San Bernardino is situated in San Bernardino County, California. It has a population of over 198,580, which has grown by 7.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Bernardino, 125, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Bernardino cost $182,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, twenty-one new homes were constructed in San Bernardino, down from one hundred fifty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Bernardino are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.6% of San Bernardino residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 3.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Bernardino is 18.6%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Bernardino residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.0%, is less than both the national and state average. Golden Avenue Church, Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are among the churches located in San Bernardino. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

San Bernardino is home to the Warm Creek Golf Course and the San Bernardino Public Golf Course as well as Plaza Park and Palm Field Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wildwood Plaza Shopping Center, Highland Avenue Plaza Shopping Center and Mountain Shadows Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to San Bernardino can choose from American Inn, Best Western Hospitality Lane and American Tex-Chem Corporation for temporary stays in the area.