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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for mental health counselors. There are currently 2,790 jobs for mental health counselors in Colorado and this is projected to grow 36% to 3,790 jobs by 2016. This is better than 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.

Income for mental health counselors is about $16 hourly or $34,880 per year on average in Colorado. Nationally, their income is about $17 per hour or $36,810 yearly. Earnings for mental health counselors are better than earnings in the general category of Counseling and Therapy in Colorado and not quite as good as general Counseling and Therapy category earnings nationally. Mental health counselors work in a variety of jobs, including: counseling psychologist, group home counselor, and therapist.

There are sixty-two schools of higher education in the Aurora area, including two within twenty-five miles of Aurora 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 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 Aurora 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.
  • 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

University of Phoenix-Denver Campus - Lone Tree, CO

University of Phoenix-Denver Campus, 10004 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree, CO 80124-5453. University of Phoenix-Denver Campus is a small university located in Lone Tree, Colorado. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,957 students. University of Phoenix-Denver Campus has a master's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated twenty-seven students in 2008.

Community College of Denver - Denver, CO

Community College of Denver, 1111 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80204-2026. Community College of Denver is a medium sized college located in Denver, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,006 students. Community College of Denver has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Mental Health Counseling/Counselor which graduated six and three 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.


Aurora, Colorado
Aurora, Colorado photo by Tom

Aurora is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 319,057, which has grown by 15.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Aurora, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Aurora are priced at $238,200 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, five hundred ten new homes were built in Aurora, down from 1,202 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Aurora are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 24.6% of Aurora residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Aurora is 8.2%, which is greater than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Aurora residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.

Aurora is home to the Victory Grange and the Magee as well as Montview Park and Del Mar Park. Visitors to Aurora can choose from Corporate Housing Solutions, Comfort Inn-Airport and Denver Airport Marriott at Gateway Park for temporary stays in the area.