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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Burlington, Vermont

Mental health counselors can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Burlington, Vermont area. Currently, 350 people work as mental health counselors in Vermont. This is expected to grow by 29% to about 450 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.

Mental health counselors earn approximately $17 hourly or $35,990 yearly on average in Vermont. Nationally they average about $17 hourly or $36,810 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as mental health counselors in Vermont earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy nationally. Jobs in this field include: mental health/mental retardation supports coordinator , certified alcohol and drug counselor , and mental health program specialist.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Burlington area, including three within twenty-five miles of Burlington 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, you can expect to spend about six years training to become 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 Burlington 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

Clinton Community College - Plattsburgh, NY

Clinton Community College, 136 Clinton Point Dr, Plattsburgh, NY 12901. Clinton Community College is a small college located in Plattsburgh, New York. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,177 students. Clinton Community College has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated one student in 2008.

SUNY College at Plattsburgh - Plattsburgh, NY

SUNY College at Plattsburgh, 101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901-2681. SUNY College at Plattsburgh is a medium sized college located in Plattsburgh, New York. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,358 students and an admission rate of 49%. SUNY College at Plattsburgh has a master's degree program in Mental Health Counseling/Counselor which graduated ten students in 2008.

Community College of Vermont - Waterbury, VT

Community College of Vermont, 103 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT 05676-0120. Community College of Vermont is a medium sized college located in Waterbury, Vermont. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,550 students. Community College of Vermont has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated four 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

Mental Health Counselor, Clinical

Licensing agency: Allied Mental Health Board
Address: Office of Professional Regulation, Office of Secretary of State, National Life Building, North FL2, Montpelier, VT 05620-3402

Phone: (802) 828-2390
Website: Allied Mental Health Board Office of Professional Regulation Office of Secretary of State

Social Worker, Clinical

Licensing agency: Clinical Social Workers
Address: Office of Professional Regulation, Office of Secretary of State, National Life Building, North FL2, Montpelier, VT 05620-3402

Phone: (802) 828-2390
Website: Clinical Social Workers Office of Professional Regulation Office of Secretary of State

LOCATION INFORMATION: Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, Vermont photo by Avala

Burlington is situated in Chittenden County, Vermont. It has a population of over 38,897. The cost of living index in Burlington, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Burlington cost $152,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, five new homes were constructed in Burlington, down from eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Burlington are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 17 minutes. More than 42.0% of Burlington residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Burlington is 5.2%, which is less than Vermont's average of 5.9%. About 20.0% of Burlington's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Burlington residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Saint Mark Church, Champlain Valley Baptist Church and Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Burlington. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Burlington is home to the South Breakwater Light and the Vermont State Craft Center Shelburne Farms as well as Ethan Allen Park and Head of Church Street Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Church Street Marketplace Shopping Center, North Avenue Shopping Center and Burlington Square Shopping Center. Visitors to Burlington can choose from Holiday Inn, Radisson Hotel Burlington and Champlain Inn for temporary stays in the area.