Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Amarillo, Texas
For those living in the Amarillo, Texas area, there are many career and education opportunities for mental health counselors. Currently, 2,950 people work as mental health counselors in Texas. This is expected to grow 27% to about 3,760 people by 2016. 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. Mental health counselors generally counsel with emphasis on prevention.
A person working as a mental health counselor can expect to earn about $16 per hour or $35,300 annually on average in Texas and about $17 per hour or $36,810 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for mental health counselors are not quite as good as in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy in Texas, and not quite as good as the overall Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Jobs in this field include: bereavement counselor, correctional care and treatment worker, and crisis clinician.
There is one school within twenty-five miles of Amarillo where you can study to be a mental health counselor, among six schools of higher education total in the Amarillo 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 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 Amarillo 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.
- 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
Amarillo College - Amarillo, TX
Amarillo College, 2011 S. Washington, Amarillo, TX 79109. Amarillo College is a large college located in Amarillo, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,118 students. Amarillo College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated three and five 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: Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo is situated in Potter County, Texas. It has a population of over 187,236, which has grown by 7.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Amarillo, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Amarillo are priced at $245,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, four hundred seventy-one new homes were constructed in Amarillo, down from six hundred forty-eight the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Amarillo are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and food. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 20.5% of Amarillo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Amarillo is 5.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.
The percentage of Amarillo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 86.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Pentecostal Church of God, Pentecostal Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Holiness Church are among the churches located in Amarillo. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.
Amarillo is home to the Amarillo Globe Dream House and the Wolflin Historic District as well as Martin Road Park and Will Rogers Park. Shopping malls in the area include Western Plaza Shopping Center and Westgate Shopping Center. Visitors to Amarillo can choose from 3B Machine & Custom Fabrication, Bailey's Lounge and Comfort Inn Airport for temporary stays in the area.