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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Mental health counselor career and educational opportunities abound in Chattanooga, Tennessee. About 2,880 people are currently employed as mental health counselors in Tennessee. By 2016, this is expected to grow 32% to 3,780 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.

The income of a mental health counselor is about $13 per hour or $27,910 annually on average in Tennessee. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 per hour or $36,810 per year on average. Earnings for mental health counselors are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Counseling and Therapy in Tennessee and not quite as good as general Counseling and Therapy category earnings nationally. Mental health counselors work in a variety of jobs, including: correctional counselor, grief counselor, and elder counselor.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Chattanooga where you can study to be a mental health counselor, among twenty schools of higher education total in the Chattanooga area. 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

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 Chattanooga 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.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Mental Health Counselor Training

Lee University - Cleveland, TN

Lee University, 1120 N Ocoee St, Cleveland, TN 37311. Lee University is a small university located in Cleveland, Tennessee. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,147 students and an admission rate of 64%. Lee University has a master's degree program in Mental Health Counseling/Counselor which graduated seventeen 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

ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE COUNSELORS

Licensing agency: Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37247-1010

Phone: (615) 532-5097
Website: Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

CERTIFIED MASTER SOCIAL WORKER

Licensing agency: Board of Social Workers Certification
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37243-1010

Phone: (615) 367-6249
Website: Board of Social Workers Certification Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROFESSIONAL

Licensing agency: Board of Employee Assistance Professionals
Address: Department of Labor, Andrew Johnson Tower 8th Floor, 710 James Robertson Pkwy, Nashville, TN 37243-0657

Phone: (615) 532-2784
Website: Board of Employee Assistance Professionals Department of Labor

LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK

Licensing agency: Board of Social Workers Certification
Address: Division of Health Related Boards, Department of Health, Cordell Hull Bldg 1st Floor, 425 Fifth Av North, Nashville, TN 37243-1010

Phone: (615) 367-6249
Website: Board of Social Workers Certification Division of Health Related Boards Department of Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Avala

Chattanooga is situated in Hamilton County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 170,880, which has grown by 9.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chattanooga, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chattanooga are priced at $141,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-two new homes were built in Chattanooga, down from four hundred forty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Chattanooga are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.5% of Chattanooga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chattanooga is 9.5%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Chattanooga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.2%, is more than both the national and state average. Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Kings Point Church and Stanley United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Chattanooga. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Chattanooga is home to the Creeks Bend Golf Club and the Concord Golf Course as well as Warner Park and Ross Landing City Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northgate Mall, Northgate Crossing Shopping Center and Lee Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Chattanooga can choose from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Crystal Air Sport Motel and Hampton Inn Chattanooga I-75 North for temporary stays in the area.