Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for mental health counselors. About 1,680 people are currently employed as mental health counselors in Maryland. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 42% to 2,390 people employed. 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.
Mental health counselors earn approximately $18 hourly or $38,730 per year on average in Maryland. Nationally they average about $17 per hour or $36,810 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as mental health counselors in Maryland earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy nationally. Jobs in this field include: crisis clinician, licensed chemical dependency counselor, and employee assistance program counselor .
There are nine schools within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a mental health counselor, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. The most common level of education 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
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 Columbia 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.
- 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
The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD
The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated four and fifteen students respectively in 2008.
Columbia Union College - Takoma Park, MD
Columbia Union College, 7600 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912. Columbia Union College is a small college located in Takoma Park, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 974 students. Columbia Union College has a two to four year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling.
Baltimore City Community College - Baltimore, MD
Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Hts Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215-7893. Baltimore City Community College is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,884 students. Baltimore City Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated twenty-five and thirty-five students respectively in 2008.
Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD
Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has 2 areas of study related to Mental Health Counselor. They are:
- Mental Health Counseling/Counselor, postbaccalaureate certificate.
- Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated seventeen and four students respectively in 2008.
Coppin State University - Baltimore, MD
Coppin State University, 2500 West North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216-3698. Coppin State University is a small university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,051 students and an admission rate of 36%. Coppin State University has a master's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated four students in 2008.
Marymount University - Arlington, VA
Marymount University, 2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4299. Marymount University is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,541 students and an admission rate of 84%. Marymount University has a bachelor's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated one student in 2008.
Carroll Community College - Westminster, MD
Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Rd, Westminster, MD 21157. Carroll Community College is a small college located in Westminster, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,453 students. Carroll Community College has a one to two year program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties.
Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA
Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has 2 areas of study related to Mental Health Counselor. They are:
- Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, one to two year which graduated 1 student in 2008.
- Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated 225 and one students respectively in 2008.
Gallaudet University - Washington, DC
Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Gallaudet University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,389 students and an admission rate of 64%. Gallaudet University has 2 areas of study related to Mental Health Counselor. They are:
- Mental Health Counseling/Counselor, master's degree which graduated 7 students in 2008.
- Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties, master's degree.
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: Columbia, Maryland
Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.
The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.
The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.