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How To Become a Mental Health Therapist
If you are interested in becoming a mental health therapist, you can strengthen your career prospects both in the public and private sectors with a master’s in public health.
A mental health therapist assists people in managing and overcoming various mental and emotional problems. These problems can be with people in their family and also in their relationships. A mental health therapist will listen to their clients and work to grasp the seed of their problems and to help them develop appropriate strategies to make their lives better.
Some duties of mental health therapists include:
- Diagnosing and treating mental and emotional problems, including depression and anxiety
- Try to encourage clients to talk about their emotions and life experiences
- Help patients deal with their reactions and to adjust to various changes in their lives
- Help their clients to make positive decisions regarding their future
- Coordinate treatment of their patients with other mental health professionals
Mental Health Therapist Career & Salary Outlook
The median salary for mental health therapists in 2010 was $38,100. The top 10%, typically people with a master’s degree in public health or other programs, was $63,200.
The most common places for mental health therapists to work and their salaries, are:
- Local government: $46,500
- Hospitals: $41,900
- Outpatient mental health: $38,800
- Individual/family services: $37,600
- Resident mental health: $30,200
There were 120,000 mental health therapists in 2010, and there is expected to be $163,900 in 2020.
Job Outlook for Mental Health Therapists
The job demand for mental health therapists is expected to increase strongly in the next 10 years; in fact, the demand is expected to increase 37%, which is much faster than average compared to other occupations. One of the reasons for this is that insurance companies often provide more reimbursement for mental health therapists, such as counselors and marriage therapists, because they are not as expensive as full-fledged psychiatrists and psychologists. Also, more people are likely to get treatment for their mental and emotional problems than in previous years. As the population is on the upswing, the demand only goes up. Last, more older people are living longer and more active lives, and they are using more medical care generally, and mental health care is no exception to this.
Mental Health Therapist Education and Training
A mental health therapist needs to have a master’s degree at least to practice. A master’s degree in counseling or family therapy is most common. A master’s degree in public health is strongly desirable if you want to work on mental health issues pertaining to public health.
You will need to have a license to be a mental health therapist. To be licensed, you have to have at least 2000 hours of clinical experience in the field that is supervised. You also need to pass a state examination and do continuing education classes each year.