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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Mental health counselor career and educational opportunities abound in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There are currently 15,150 working mental health counselors in Pennsylvania; this should grow 23% to about 18,600 working mental health counselors in the state 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. In general, mental health counselors counsel with emphasis on prevention.

Income for mental health counselors is about $16 hourly or $33,450 annually on average in Pennsylvania. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $36,810 annually. Incomes for mental health counselors are not quite as good as in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy in Pennsylvania, and not quite as good as the overall Counseling and Therapy category nationally. People working as mental health counselors can fill a number of jobs, such as: licensed chemical dependency counselor, mental health clinician, and child care counselor.

There are eight schools within twenty-five miles of Philadelphia where you can study to be a mental health counselor, among 156 schools of higher education total in the Philadelphia area. Given that the most common education level for mental health counselors is a Master's degree, 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 Philadelphia 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.
  • 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

Camden County College - Blackwood, NJ

Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood, NJ 08012. Camden County College is a large college located in Blackwood, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,951 students. Camden County College has an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington - Newark, DE

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington, 400 Stanton-Christiana Rd, Newark, DE 19702. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington is a medium sized college located in Newark, Delaware. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,460 students. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington has 2 areas of study related to Mental Health Counselor. They are:

  • Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated zero and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties, one to two year and associate's degree.

Mercer County Community College - West Windsor, NJ

Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Rd, West Windsor, NJ 08550-3407. Mercer County Community College is a medium sized college located in West Windsor, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,120 students. Mercer County Community College has a less than one year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated one student in 2008.

Community College of Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA

Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19130-3991. Community College of Philadelphia is a large college located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,293 students. Community College of Philadelphia has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated sixty-eight students in 2008.

Wilmington University - New Castle, DE

Wilmington University, 320 Dupont Hwy, New Castle, DE 19720. Wilmington University is a medium sized university located in New Castle, Delaware. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 8,980 students. Wilmington University has a post-master's certificate program in Mental Health Counseling/Counselor.

Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Drexel University is a large university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,754 students and an admission rate of 68%. Drexel University has a bachelor's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.

University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania, 1 College Hall 34th and Spruce Sts, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6303. University of Pennsylvania is a large university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 24,060 students and an admission rate of 17%. University of Pennsylvania has a master's degree program in Clinical/Medical Social Work which graduated nine students in 2008.

Montgomery County Community College-Central Campus - Blue Bell, PA

Montgomery County Community College-Central Campus, 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422-0796. Montgomery County Community College-Central Campus is a medium sized college located in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,641 students. Montgomery County Community College-Central Campus has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated three 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania photo by Apollo1758

Philadelphia is located in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 1,447,395, which has shrunk by 4.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Philadelphia, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Philadelphia cost $212,900 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, five hundred forty-five new homes were constructed in Philadelphia, down from five hundred ninety-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Philadelphia are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 32 minutes. More than 17.9% of Philadelphia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is lower than the state average.

The percentage of Philadelphia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Boulevard Church, Mount Herman Church and Saint Michael Mission Center are all churches located in Philadelphia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Muslim Estimate.

Philadelphia is home to the Five Points and the Academy Gardens as well as Durham Park and Cloverly Park. Shopping malls in the area include Roosevelt Mall, Andorra Shopping Center and Red Lion Shopping Center. Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from Comfort Inn, Concordia Worldwide Hotel Reservations and Embassy Suites for temporary stays in the area.