Careers in the Licensed Professions

Mental Health Counselor

Mental Health Counselor Print Profile PDF

Mental health counselors train to treat people with mental and emotional disorders and other behavioral challenges. Examples of activities:

  • provide mental health counseling & psychotherapy
  • develop patient psychosocial histories
  • write treatment plans
  • document patient progress
  • perform mental health assessments and evaluations
  • implement discharge plans and aftercare services
  • consult with and make referrals to other providers
  • develop and advocate for mental health programs


Complete a master’s or doctoral degree in a Department-registered Mental Health Counseling licensure program, or the equivalent as determined by the Department.


Complete at least 3,000 hours of supervised practice of Mental Health Counseling, including direct work with clients in an acceptable setting.


National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination

Visit the Office of the Professions for a listing of all options and requirements.




Salary and Projected Growth

  • Median salary: $44,630 in the US, $38,530 in NY
  • Salary range: $27,720 -$50,090
  • Projected growth: much faster than average

Where Could I Work?

  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and shelters
  • Community agencies and mental health centers
  • Schools and colleges
  • Businesses and private practice
  • Behavioral health agencies and programs

Your Interests and Abilities

  • Human development
  • Counseling theory and techniques
  •  Diversity and cultural competency

Professional Skills

  • Concern for others
  • Dependability
  • Listening and communication
  • Ability to remain calm

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to a mental health counselor about what they do and how they got started!

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Last Updated: January 14, 2020