Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Many educational and employment opportunities exist for mental health counselors in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Currently, 15,150 people work as mental health counselors in Pennsylvania. This is expected to grow by 23% to 18,600 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for mental health counselors are expected to grow by about 24.0%. In general, mental health counselors counsel with emphasis on prevention.
The income of a mental health counselor is about $16 hourly or $33,450 annually on average in Pennsylvania. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 hourly or $36,810 per year on average. Mental health counselors earn less than people working in the category of Counseling and Therapy generally in Pennsylvania and less than people in the Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Jobs in this field include: family counselor, grief counselor, and behavioral health therapist.
There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can study to be a mental health counselor, among eighty-three schools of higher education total in the Pittsburgh area. The most common level of education 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
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 Pittsburgh 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
California University of Pennsylvania - California, PA
California University of Pennsylvania, 250 University Ave, California, PA 15419-1394. California University of Pennsylvania is a medium sized university located in California, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,519 students and an admission rate of 61%. California University of Pennsylvania has a master's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated eight students in 2008.
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - Pittsburgh, PA
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus, 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus is a large university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,562 students and an admission rate of 56%. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Clinical/Medical Social Work which graduated thirteen students in 2008.
Community College of Allegheny County - Pittsburgh, PA
Community College of Allegheny County, 800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233-1895. Community College of Allegheny County is a large college located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,366 students. Community College of Allegheny County has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated twelve 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.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.
The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.
Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.