Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for mental health counselors. There are currently 820 jobs for mental health counselors in Louisiana and this is projected to grow by 43% to 1,170 jobs 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%. Mental health counselors generally counsel with emphasis on prevention.
Mental health counselors earn about $13 hourly or $28,240 annually on average in Louisiana and about $17 per hour or $36,810 per year on average nationally. Mental health counselors earn less than people working in the category of Counseling and Therapy generally in Louisiana and less than people in the Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Jobs in this field include: correctional counselor, mental health clinician, and mental health program specialist.
The New Orleans area is home to thirty-two schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of New Orleans where you can get a degree as a mental health counselor. Mental health counselors usually hold a Master's degree, so you can expect to spend about six years studying to be 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
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 New Orleans 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.
- 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
Xavier University of Louisiana - New Orleans, LA
Xavier University of Louisiana, One Drexel Drive, New Orleans, LA 70125-1098. Xavier University of Louisiana is a small university located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,236 students and an admission rate of 66%. Xavier University of Louisiana has a master's degree program in Mental Health Counseling/Counselor which graduated two students in 2008.
Southern University at New Orleans - New Orleans, LA
Southern University at New Orleans, 6801 Press Drive, New Orleans, LA 70126. Southern University at New Orleans is a small university located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,105 students. Southern University at New Orleans has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated sixteen and four 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.
Counselor, Mental Health
Licensing agency: State of LA Licensed Professional Counselors
Address: 8631 Summa Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70809-3678
Phone: (225) 765-2515
Website: State of LA Licensed Professional Counselors
LOCATION INFORMATION: New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is located in Orleans Parish County, Louisiana. It has a population of over 311,853, which has shrunk by 35.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in New Orleans, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in New Orleans cost $139,700 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, eight hundred eighty-two new homes were built in New Orleans, down from 1,026 the previous year.
The three big industries for women in New Orleans are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 25.8% of New Orleans residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.7%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in New Orleans is 9.8%, which is greater than Louisiana's average of 7.1%.
The percentage of New Orleans residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.1%, is less than both the national and state average. All Saints Catholic Church, Iglesia Bautista Getsemani and Mars Hill Missionary Baptist Church are among the churches located in New Orleans. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.
New Orleans is home to the Keller Market and the New Orleans Country Club as well as Harris Playground and Hardin Playground. Shopping malls in the area include Carrollton Shopping Center, Read Boulevard Shopping Center and Read Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to New Orleans can choose from Rampart Street Connection, Lafitte Guest House and HAMPTON INN & SUITES CONV CTR for temporary stays in the area.