Top Career Options in Counseling and Mental Health

Jobs related to counseling and mental healthcare on the rise and the industry requires talented, experienced people. It is a highly competitive field of healthcare that demands a desire to help other people and an advanced healthcare-based educational background. After all, preparing to acquire a license to work as a counselor or mental health professional will require significant time and training. This webpage explains why it is also crucial for healthcare personnel to also invest in appropriate work attire and personal protective equipment. According to a BLS survey, the mental health field will grow by a staggering 20 percent between 2021 to 2029. That will add up to around 160,000 more available jobs. Such a field’s growth rate is much greater than the national average.

However, let us focus on today’s landscape. These days counselors and mental health professionals are searching for employment in a wide variety of professional settings. In contrast, a great option, running a private clinic is amongst the many possibilities but not the only one. Depending on where your expertise and interests lie, you can work in hospitals, community centers, private or public schools, assisted living facilities, universities, and the list goes on and on! Below, we’ve listed a few popular mental health and counseling-related career options that aspiring individuals can go for once they acquire formal education in this subfield of healthcare.

1. Certified Substance Abuse Counselor

A drug and alcohol abuse counselor diagnoses and offers therapy to people or groups who suffer from a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, due to the ever-increasing number of people addicted to alcohol and drugs, there is an undying need for substance abuse counselors everywhere. The demand for such a career path is on the rise every year. More and more individuals become dependent on alcohol and pills due to their stresses at home and work.

When working as a substance abuse counselor, you will directly impact the people you provide counseling to society. Some positions might require an associate degree, while others may require no less than a master’s in counseling. Your practice, autonomy levels, and pay will depend on your education.

We suggest that you search for masters counseling online. Once you do it, you’ll have a plethora of online counseling degree options in front of you. From there onwards, you can choose one that aligns with your career goals. After all, So, the more your education, the more it will be beneficial for you. The average salary of a certified substance abuse counselor is around 36,200 dollars per year on average.

2. Nurse Psychotherapist

A nurse psychotherapist is a registered nurse trained and educated in the mental health nursing field. As a nurse psychotherapist, you will have to prescribe medication and diagnose mental health conditions, like a Psychiatrist or PNP. Other duties include conducting counseling and therapy sessions of psychologically affected patients. The nurse psychotherapist’s job is similar to that of a PNP. However, the only difference is that you won’t have to do tasks that a nurse practitioner does typically.

To work as a nurse psychotherapist, one must obtain a master’s of psychiatric mental health nursing. It is not necessary to be a nurse practitioner to do such a thing. You only need to meet the criteria mentioned above, and you’ll be known as an APN(Advanced Practice Nurse). Furthermore, a nurse psychotherapist’s average salary is around 95,000 dollars per year.

3. Psychologist

Psychologists specialize in various fields and work at multiple locations such as clinics, schools, hospitals, large corporations, or private practice. Some specific specializations in the psychology field include industrial psychology, child psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology, geropsychology, and much more. To work in the psychology field, candidates need to acquire at least a master’s of psychology degree followed by completing courses in their area of interest. A psychologist is not an MD(Medical Doctor) and cannot hand out prescriptions. Psychologists are medical professionals who help people out through counseling and therapy rather than pills.

The salary prospect of a psychologist is excellent, with an average of around 73,000 dollars per year. However, you can have your private practice and make more money after you specialize and become an expert in your specialty area.

4. Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Mental health nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have a master’s degree and specialized training, allowing them to treat and diagnose mental health conditions and disorders. Mental health nurses or PNP(Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners) carry out the same duties as a psychiatrist and prescribe medication to their patients. However, they also incorporate therapy and counseling into their practice. They help patients who are dealing with social tendencies, anxiety, and depression.

You can easily make around 90,000 dollars per year with such a profession and can even practice privately. 

5. Psychiatrist

The list of counseling and mental health jobs will not be complete without mentioning a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are MDs(Medical Doctors) who can diagnose and treat numerous emotional and mental illnesses in adults and children. Prescribing medication is a vital part of their job, but they do not offer therapy or counseling unless necessary.

A successful psychiatrist can make around 205,000 dollars per year and practice privately, and set their work hours. If you specialize in psychiatry, you can earn more and play a pivotal part in creating policies and conducting research.


Mental health professionals have tons of opportunities in their field. They can choose to specialize in areas that appeal the most to them. The career paths mentioned above have the highest pay rates and the most growth in the year 2021. As a whole, the mental health and counseling fields will continue to evolve. More candidates will take it up to help people battle through their emotional and psychological problems.

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