Mental Health Counselor at a Glance

Projected Job Growth

  • +0% Job Growth for
    Mental Health Counselor

  • 2013
  • 2023

Average Salary for Mental Health Counselor

  • $0 Annual Pay
    National Average
  • $0 Hourly Pay
    National Average

Best States for Mental Health Counselor

in 2011
Annual Salary
Hourly Pay
Pennsylvania 13,750 $41,130 $20
Massachusetts 7,450 $42,380 $20
Vermont 640 $40,340 $19

Becoming a Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors need both a master's degree and a license to practice. Master's degree programs typically take two to three years of full-time study to complete. It is helpful to complete some undergraduate coursework in psychology, human development, and/or social work before enrolling in a graduate program in counseling.

Master's programs typically prepare students to qualify for licensure in most states. Both on-site as well as online master's degree programs in mental health counseling will require students complete a supervised internship or clinical residency. A sampling of classes you may take in a mental health counseling program, drawn from course listings for Lesley University's master's of arts in mental health counseling program, include the following:

  • Psychopathology
  • Developmental Psychology Across the Lifespan
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods
  • Biological Bases of Behavior

Licensure for mental health counselors requires a master's degree, 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, and successful completion of a state-recognized exam and annual continuing education classes. The National Board for Certified Counselors provides contact information for state regulating boards and acts as the examination administrator in the licensure process.