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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Overland Park, Kansas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for mental health counselors in the Overland Park, Kansas area. The national trend for mental health counselors 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 $16 per hour or $34,470 yearly on average in Kansas. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $36,810 yearly. Incomes for mental health counselors are not quite as good as in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy in Kansas, and not quite as good as the overall Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Mental health counselors work in a variety of jobs, including: crisis intervention therapist, counseling psychologist, and behavior support specialist .

There are sixty-one schools of higher education in the Overland Park area, including one within twenty-five miles of Overland Park where you can get a degree to start your career as a mental health counselor. Mental health counselors usually hold a Master's degree, so 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 Overland Park 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.
  • 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

Kansas City Kansas Community College - Kansas City, KS

Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State Ave, Kansas City, KS 66112. Kansas City Kansas Community College is a medium sized college located in Kansas City, Kansas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,800 students. Kansas City Kansas Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated zero and five students respectively in 2008.

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Overland Park, Kansas

Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park, Kansas photo by Americasroof

Overland Park is located in Johnson County, Kansas. It has a population of over 171,231, which has grown by 14.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Overland Park, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Overland Park are valued at $408,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-four new homes were constructed in Overland Park, down from three hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Overland Park are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, finance and insurance, and broadcasting and telecommunications. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 52.1% of Overland Park residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Overland Park is 6.7%, which is greater than Kansas's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Overland Park residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Christ Church, Adventist Church and Atonement Church are among the churches located in Overland Park. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Overland Park is home to the Windmill Square and the Westbrook Country Club. Shopping centers in the area include Cherokee Hills Shopping Center, Cherokee South Shopping Center and Trail West Shopping Center. Visitors to Overland Park can choose from Hampton Inn Overland Park- KS, Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites and Pear Tree Inn by Drury for temporary stays in the area.