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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Jacksonville, Florida

If you want to be a mental health counselor, the Jacksonville, Florida area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 3,950 working mental health counselors in Florida; this should grow by 27% to 5,030 working mental health counselors in the state 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. Mental health counselors generally counsel with emphasis on prevention.

Income for mental health counselors is about $17 per hour or $36,770 per year on average in Florida. Nationally, their income is about $17 per hour or $36,810 annually. Mental health counselors earn less than people working in the category of Counseling and Therapy generally in Florida and less than people in the Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Jobs in this field include: human service coordinator, domestic violence advocate, and social service worker .

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Jacksonville where you can study to be a mental health counselor, among thirty-three schools of higher education total in the Jacksonville area. 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 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 Jacksonville include:

  • Career Advisor. Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Mental Health Counselor Training

University of Florida - Gainesville, FL

University of Florida, 355 Tigert Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-3115. University of Florida is a large university located in Gainesville, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 51,475 students and an admission rate of 41%. University of Florida has master's degree, post-master's certificate, and doctor's degree programs in Mental Health Counseling/Counselor which graduated seventeen, seventeen, and two 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.


Mental Health Counselor

Licensing agency: Fl. Department of Health
Address: Division of Medical Quality Assurance, 1940 N Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399

Phone: None
Website: Fl. Department of Health Division of Medical Quality Assurance

LOCATION INFORMATION: Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida photo by Digon3

Jacksonville is located in Duval County, Florida. It has a population of over 807,815, which has grown by 9.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Jacksonville, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Jacksonville are valued at $173,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 2,592 new homes were built in Jacksonville, down from 3,449 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Jacksonville are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 21.1% of Jacksonville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Jacksonville is 10.9%, which is less than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Jacksonville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.2%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Church of God-West Jacksonville, Church of Good Shepherd and Church of Our Savior are among the churches located in Jacksonville. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Jacksonville is home to the Pearl Plaza and the Lane Center as well as Memorial Park and James Park. Shopping centers in the area include 5 Points West Shopping Center, Lone Star Road Shopping Center and Normandy Mall. Visitors to Jacksonville can choose from Civista Inn, Best Western Baldwin Inn and City Center Motel for temporary stays in the area.