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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Mental health counselors can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. There are currently 1,030 jobs for mental health counselors in New Mexico and this is projected to grow 17% to about 1,200 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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.

Mental health counselors earn approximately $20 per hour or $42,110 per year on average in New Mexico. Nationally they average about $17 hourly or $36,810 yearly. Earnings for mental health counselors are better than earnings in the general category of Counseling and Therapy in New Mexico and not quite as good as general Counseling and Therapy category earnings nationally. Mental health counselors work in a variety of jobs, including: social service worker , mental health therapist, and employee assistance program counselor .

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Albuquerque area, including one within twenty-five miles of Albuquerque where you can get a degree to start your career as a mental health counselor. The most common level of education for mental health counselors is a Master's degree. 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 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 Albuquerque include:

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

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Mental Health Counselor Training

University of Phoenix-New Mexico Campus - Albuquerque, NM

University of Phoenix-New Mexico Campus, 5700 Pasadena NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113-1570. University of Phoenix-New Mexico Campus is a small university located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,303 students. University of Phoenix-New Mexico Campus has a master's degree program in Mental Health Counseling/Counselor which graduated eight students 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.

LICENSES

Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Licensing agency: NM Counseling & Therapy Practice Board
Address: 2550 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505

Phone: (505) 476-4610
Website: NM Counseling & Therapy Practice Board

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Licensing agency: NM Counseling & Therapy Practice Board
Address: 2550 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505

Phone: (505) 476-4610
Website: NM Counseling & Therapy Practice Board

Professional Mental Health Counselor

Licensing agency: NM Counseling & Therapy Practice Board
Address: 2550 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505

Phone: (505) 476-4610
Website: NM Counseling & Therapy Practice Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico photo by Debernardi

Albuquerque is situated in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. It has a population of over 521,999, which has grown by 16.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Albuquerque, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Albuquerque cost $176,100 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, 1,067 new homes were built in Albuquerque, down from 2,096 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Albuquerque are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 31.8% of Albuquerque residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Albuquerque is 6.9%, which is less than New Mexico's average of 7.5%.

The percentage of Albuquerque residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 54.7%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Heights Seventh Day Adventist Church, Hope Church and Baptist Student Union are some of the churches located in Albuquerque. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Albuquerque is home to the Menaul School Historic District and the Volcano Ranch as well as Cutler Park and Eunice Kaloch Park. Shopping centers in the area include Del Norte Parkade Shopping Center, Westway Shopping Center and Winrock Shopping Center. Visitors to Albuquerque can choose from Winrock Inn-Best Western, New Mexico State Government - Health Department- Behavioral Health Services Divi and Motel 6 for temporary stays in the area.