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How to become a mental health counselor?

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Subject: Career question for you

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mark’s Answer

Hello Savannah,

Becoming a mental health counselor does frequently require a Master's degree. In order to identify which area of counseling you would like to study, I would suggest looking at different forms of counseling, such clinical work with children and/or adults, research, counselor education, and many others. I suggest taking a range of psychology classes as an undergraduate in order to help you decide on an area of interest. When choosing a graduate program, please be aware of the differences between them and try to assure that you will be attending a program that best suits your chosen path. Don't be afraid to change paths of study if you find that your first choice is not what you thought it was going to be.

As you pursue a degree, you might want to check into licensing requirements for the state(s) in which you might choose to work. They vary greatly , so make sure your grad. program prepares you for licensing in states where you would like to become licensed.

I wish you great good fortune and success in pursuing a rewarding life.

All the best,

Mark V.
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Arshia’s Answer

Hi Savannah,

Thank you for your question. Being a counselor or therapist is a very rewarding career choice.

There are a few ways you can become a mental health professional. In short, you will need to attend graduate school and earn at least a master's degree. There are different degrees you can pursue which will look differently in their career paths. You can pursue a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), Master of Social Work (MSW), a PhD in Clinical Psychology or related field, just to name a few. There are licenses you will need to attain as well to practice in your state. There are also some licensures that do not require a master's degree, however, those may limit you in your scope of practice. Please note that for undergrad, you will want to pursue a major that is of interest to you, although the majority of students interested in counseling or therapy gravitate towards psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and the like.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and ask.

Best of luck!

Arshia recommends the following next steps:

Look into graduate programs such as MFT, MSW, LPCC, PhD