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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Counselors in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mental health counselors can find many career and educational opportunities in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. About 1,650 people are currently employed as mental health counselors in Wisconsin. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 24% to about 2,040 people employed. This is the same as 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 $19 hourly or $41,400 yearly on average in Wisconsin. Nationally they average about $17 per hour or $36,810 annually. Mental health counselors earn less than people working in the category of Counseling and Therapy generally in Wisconsin and less than people in the Counseling and Therapy category nationally. People working as mental health counselors can fill a number of jobs, such as: behavior support specialist , mental health case manager, and clinical social worker.

The Milwaukee area is home to thirty-nine schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Milwaukee where you can get a degree as a mental health counselor. Mental health counselors usually hold a Master's degree, so 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 if you have 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 Milwaukee 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.
  • 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

Milwaukee Area Technical College - Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee Area Technical College, 700 W State St, Milwaukee, WI 53233-1443. Milwaukee Area Technical College is a large college located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 18,780 students and an admission rate of 54%. Milwaukee Area Technical College has an associate's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated one student in 2008.

Waukesha County Technical College - Pewaukee, WI

Waukesha County Technical College, 800 Main Street, Pewaukee, WI 53072-4601. Waukesha County Technical College is a medium sized college located in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,955 students. Waukesha County Technical College has an associate's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated twenty-three students in 2008.

Gateway Technical College - Kenosha, WI

Gateway Technical College, 3520 30th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53144-1690. Gateway Technical College is a medium sized college located in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,587 students. Gateway Technical College has an associate's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated twenty-one students 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: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin photo by Towpilot

Milwaukee is located in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 604,477, which has grown by 1.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Milwaukee, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Milwaukee cost $167,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, ninety-six new homes were built in Milwaukee, down from one hundred sixty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Milwaukee are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is administrative and support and waste management services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 18.3% of Milwaukee residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Milwaukee is 10.6%, which is greater than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Milwaukee residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Church of the Epiphany, Saint Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church and German Full Gospel Church are among the churches located in Milwaukee. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Milwaukee is home to the Caroline Hall and the Wood as well as Cannon Park and Fifth Ward Playground. Shopping malls in the area include Juneau Village Shopping Center, Times Square Shopping Center and Grand Avenue Mall Shopping Center. Visitors to Milwaukee can choose from Edge-O-Town Motel, Manor House Hotel and Days Inn West Allis for temporary stays in the area.