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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Hartford, Connecticut

Mental health counselors can find many career and educational opportunities in the Hartford, Connecticut area. There are currently 2,010 working mental health counselors in Connecticut; this should grow 29% to 2,600 working mental health counselors in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for mental health counselors are expected to grow by about 24.0%. In general, mental health counselors counsel with emphasis on prevention.

A person working as a mental health counselor can expect to earn about $17 per hour or $35,570 yearly on average in Connecticut and about $17 per hour or $36,810 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for mental health counselors are not quite as good as in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy in Connecticut, and not quite as good as the overall Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Jobs in this field include: mental health specialist, group home counselor, and family counselor.

The Hartford area is home to sixty-two schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Hartford where you can get a degree 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 training to become 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 Hartford 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.
  • 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

Asnuntuck Community College - Enfield, CT

Asnuntuck Community College, 170 Elm St, Enfield, CT 06082. Asnuntuck Community College is a small college located in Enfield, Connecticut. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,769 students. Asnuntuck Community College has an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling.

Naugatuck Valley Community College - Waterbury, CT

Naugatuck Valley Community College, 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, CT 06708-3089. Naugatuck Valley Community College is a medium sized college located in Waterbury, Connecticut. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,880 students. Naugatuck Valley Community College has 2 areas of study related to Mental Health Counselor. They are:

  • Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, associate's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties, associate's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Tunxis Community College - Farmington, CT

Tunxis Community College, Rts 6 and 177, Farmington, CT 06032-3187. Tunxis Community College is a small college located in Farmington, Connecticut. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,328 students. Tunxis Community College has an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated two students in 2008.

Holyoke Community College - Holyoke, MA

Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Ave, Holyoke, MA 01040. Holyoke Community College is a medium sized college located in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,592 students. Holyoke Community College has a less than one year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated two students in 2008.

Northwestern Connecticut Community College - Winsted, CT

Northwestern Connecticut Community College, Park Pl E, Winsted, CT 06098. Northwestern Connecticut Community College is a small college located in Winsted, Connecticut. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,721 students. Northwestern Connecticut Community College has an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling.

Middlesex Community College - Middletown, CT

Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Rd, Middletown, CT 06457-4829. Middlesex Community College is a small college located in Middletown, Connecticut. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,624 students. Middlesex Community College has an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling.

Manchester Community College - Manchester, CT

Manchester Community College, Great Path, Manchester, CT 06045-1046. Manchester Community College is a medium sized college located in Manchester, Connecticut. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,649 students. Manchester Community College has 2 areas of study related to Mental Health Counselor. They are:

  • Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated zero and twenty students respectively in 2008.
  • Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties, less than one year and associate's degree.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LICENSES

Counselor, Professional

Licensing agency: Department of Public Health
Address: Health Care Systems Branch, Practitioner Licensing & Investigations Section, 410 Capitol Avenue, P.O.Box 340308, Hartford, CT 06134-0308

Phone: (860) 509-7603
Website: Department of Public Health Health Care Systems Branch Practitioner Licensing & Investigations Section

LOCATION INFORMATION: Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford, Connecticut photo by Contimm

Hartford is situated in Hartford County, Connecticut. It has a population of over 124,062, which has grown by 2.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Hartford, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Hartford cost $82,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, eight new homes were constructed in Hartford, down from twelve the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Hartford are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is administrative and support and waste management services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 24 minutes. More than 12.4% of Hartford residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Hartford is 14.4%, which is greater than Connecticut's average of 8.3%.

The percentage of Hartford residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Our Lady of Sorrows Church, All Saints Orthodox Church and Sacred Heart Church are all churches located in Hartford. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church.

Hartford is home to the Albany Avenue Branch Hartford Public Library and the North Meadows Industrial Park as well as Little Hollywood Historic District and West End North Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Park Plaza Shopping Center, Pavillion at State House Shopping Center and Civic Center Mall Shopping Center.