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

Mental health counselors can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Visalia, 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. In general, mental health counselors counsel with emphasis on prevention.

Mental health counselors earn about $19 per hour or $41,280 yearly on average in California and about $17 per hour or $36,810 annually on average nationally. 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, correctional care and treatment worker, and child care counselor.

The Visalia area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Visalia where you can get a degree 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 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 Visalia 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Porterville College - Porterville, CA

Porterville College, 100 E College Ave, Porterville, CA 93257. Porterville College is a small college located in Porterville, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,401 students. Porterville College has a one to two year and a two to four year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated five and zero students respectively in 2008.

Fresno City College - Fresno, CA

Fresno City College, 1101 E. University Ave, Fresno, CA 93741. Fresno City College is a large college located in Fresno, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 23,063 students. Fresno City College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated sixty-three, eleven, 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.


Visalia, California
Visalia, California photo by Capricorn90

Visalia is situated in Tulare County, California. It has a population of over 121,040, which has grown by 32.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Visalia, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Visalia are valued at $200,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, five hundred seventy-four new homes were constructed in Visalia, down from nine hundred twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Visalia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is public administration, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 18.9% of Visalia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Visalia is 10.0%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Visalia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 51.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Parkside Chapel Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, Grace Lutheran Church and Holy Family Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Visalia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Visalia is home to the Tulare County Juvenile Hall and the Visalia Community Center as well as Pinkham Park and Lincoln Park. Shopping centers in the area include Fairway Shopping Center, Visalia Mall Shopping Center and Towne and Country Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Visalia can choose from Best Western Visalia Inn and Blacklakecondo for temporary stays in the area.