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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Killeen, Texas

Mental health counselors can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Killeen, Texas area. There are currently 2,950 working mental health counselors in Texas; this should grow 27% to 3,760 working mental health counselors in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for mental health counselors are expected to grow by about 24.0%. Mental health counselors generally counsel with emphasis on prevention.

Mental health counselors earn about $16 per hour or $35,300 yearly on average in Texas and about $17 per hour or $36,810 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as mental health counselors in Texas earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy nationally. Mental health counselors work in a variety of jobs, including: grief counselor, counselor, and chemical dependency therapist.

There are six schools of higher education in the Killeen area, including two within twenty-five miles of Killeen where you can get a degree to start your career as a mental health counselor. 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 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 Killeen 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

Central Texas College - Killeen, TX

Central Texas College, 6200 West Central Texas Expressway, Killeen, TX 76540-1800. Central Texas College is a large college located in Killeen, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 23,736 students. Central Texas College has 2 areas of study related to Mental Health Counselor. They are:

  • Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree.
  • Clinical/Medical Social Work, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated four and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor - Belton, TX

University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 900 College St, Belton, TX 76513-2599. University of Mary Hardin-Baylor is a small university located in Belton, Texas. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,701 students and an admission rate of 43%. University of Mary Hardin-Baylor has a master's degree program in Mental Health Counseling/Counselor.


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.


Killeen, Texas
Killeen, Texas photo by Ed Schipul

Killeen is situated in Bell County, Texas. It has a population of over 116,934, which has grown by 34.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Killeen, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Killeen are valued at $121,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, eight hundred fifty-five new homes were built in Killeen, down from 1,278 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Killeen are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is public administration, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 15.7% of Killeen residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 3.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Killeen is 7.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Killeen residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Power House Church of God in Christ and Primera Iglesia Bautista Church are all churches located in Killeen. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Killeen is home to Long Branch Park and Long Branch Park. Visitors to Killeen can choose from Best Western Killeen, Comfort Inn and Best Value Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.