Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Santa Rosa, California
For those living in the Santa Rosa, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for mental health counselors. There are currently 11,200 jobs for mental health counselors in California and this is projected to grow by 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%. Mental health counselors generally counsel with emphasis on prevention.
A person working as a mental health counselor can expect to earn about $19 per hour or $41,280 per year on average in California and about $17 hourly or $36,810 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. 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. Mental health counselors work in a variety of jobs, including: human service counselor, human service coordinator, and behavioral health therapist.
There are seven schools of higher education in the Santa Rosa area, including one within twenty-five miles of Santa Rosa 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. 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 if you have 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 Santa Rosa 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
Santa Rosa Junior College - Santa Rosa, CA
Santa Rosa Junior College, 1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401-4395. Santa Rosa Junior College is a large college located in Santa Rosa, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,350 students. Santa Rosa Junior College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated twelve, three, 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: Santa Rosa, California
Santa Rosa is situated in Sonoma County, California. It has a population of over 155,796, which has grown by 5.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Santa Rosa, 159, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Santa Rosa are priced at $193,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty new homes were built in Santa Rosa, down from three hundred sixty-eight the previous year.
The three big industries for women in Santa Rosa are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 27.6% of Santa Rosa residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Santa Rosa is 10.1%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.
The percentage of Santa Rosa residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 32.1%, is less than both the national and state average. United Pentecostal Church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Bennett Valley Baptist Church are among the churches located in Santa Rosa. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Santa Rosa is home to the Sonoma County Administration Center and the Quarry Picnic Area as well as Live Oak Park and Coffey Park. Shopping malls in the area include Montgomery Village Shopping Center, Saint Francis Shopping Center and Flamingo One Stop Shopping Center. Visitors to Santa Rosa can choose from Amansi, Astro Motel and Beautiful Weddings & Events for temporary stays in the area.