Mental Health Counseling Careers and Career Resources

As of 2022, roughly one in five American adults are experiencing mental illness.1

With the continually growing need for mental health professionals, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, by 2032, this country will see an 18% increase in job openings—much higher than the national average—for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors.2

You can make a real difference. Gain the experience and expertise you need to advance, succeed and thrive in this vital profession. With W&M’s Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, you’ll be ready for a career that inspires you, fulfills your aspirations and changes lives.

Explore CMHC Roles

Choose Your Career Specialty

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Clinical mental health counselors work with individuals, families and/or communities in mental health centers, hospitals, Veterans Affairs clinics and other treatment centers. They’re typically trained in diagnosis, treatment, referral (if necessary) and prevention. With your master’s degree and a concentration in this area, you’ll be ready to establish and expand your career as a:

  • Behavior analyst
  • Case manager
  • Clinician
  • Licensed professional counselor (LPC)
  • Mental health counselor
  • Mental health therapist

You’ll also be prepared to serve in the following positions, which may require additional licensure or specialized coursework:

  • Addiction counselor, helping individuals and families affected by alcohol, drugs, food-related, gambling, sexual and other addictive disorders; this position may require a Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner (LSATP) credential
  • Marriage and family counselor, working with individuals, couples and families with familial relationship and communication issues

Clinical mental health counseling salaries can vary according to several factors, including your specialization, place of employment and licensure status.

Explore CMHC at W&M Counseling Salaries

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Licensure

In addition to a master’s degree, most mental health counseling jobs require that individuals pass licensure exams in order to practice. Licensure credential titles and exams vary by state.

While licensed professional counselor (LPC) is the most common title in the U.S., other valid titles include:

  • Licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC)
  • Licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC)
  • Licensed professional counselor of mental health (LPCMH)
  • Licensed clinical mental health counselor (LCMHC)
  • Licensed mental health counselor (LMHC)
  • Licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP)
  • Licensed professional counselor-mental health (LPC-MH)
  • Licensed professional counselor-mental health service provider (LPC/MHSP)
  • Licensed mental health practitioner-certified professional counselor (LMHP-CPC)
  • Licensed mental health practitioner-licensed professional counselor (LIMHP-LPC)

Read More About Counseling Licensure

Fewer than 50% of returning veterans in need receive any mental health treatment.3

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs projects a 32% increase in its outpatient mental health services between 2021-2031.4

Help Meet the Need

Military and Veterans Counseling

To expand your skill set and heighten your career potential, choose William & Mary’s Military and Veterans Counseling (MVC) specialization. Expertise in military-focused counseling empowers you to help more people with more varied needs, in diverse opportunities that include:

  1. Military and veterans counselor, working with active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families
  2. Educational counselor for veterans, helping veterans navigate educational opportunities, including choosing courses, accessing resources and leveraging GI Bill benefits
  3. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) counselor, helping individuals who have experienced trauma during their military service cope with the emotional and psychological effects of combat or other traumatic experiences
  4. Rehabilitation counselor, helping veterans with disabilities, including physical and mental health challenges, to achieve maximum independence and improve their quality of life, possibly through assisting with vocational rehabilitation and community reintegration
  5. Career counselor for veterans, helping veterans translate military skills into the civilian job market, explore career options and develop strategies for successful employment
  6. Military family life counselor, providing adults and children on military installations with non-medical, short-term, solution-focused counseling
  7. Military family life school counselor, providing all Child and Youth Behavioral (CYB) counseling services to military service members’ children of all ages and their families, on and off military installations

Explore MVC at W&M Becoming a Military Counselor

In 2020 and again in 2021, nearly 42 million adults in the United States received treatment or counseling for their mental health, including inpatient or outpatient work or the use of prescription medication.5

Support for Your Career Success

As a master’s student studying clinical mental health counseling at William & Mary, you have full access to these diverse career development resources:

  • Cohen Career Center: Offers one-on-one advising, core competency workshops, resume reviews and networking events, career fairs, resume development resources and more to current W&M students and alumni
  • Counselor Education Program Bulletin Board: Keeps you up to date on upcoming training and networking events, program outcomes and recent student accomplishments, and helps you identify opportunities to engage with peers and industry professionals
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA): An organization committed to positioning mental health counselors to meet their clients’ health care needs and advance within the profession; features a job board, events and more
  • American Counseling Association (ACA): The world’s largest organization representing professional counselors; provides links to publications, continuing education, career resources and more for counselors

Keep Up With the Latest Information

Current News and Featured Articles

Behavioral therapists work with patients to identify, understand and treat difficult or unhelpful behaviors or thought patterns. They develop therapy strategies that can improve their patients' quality of life.

Upcoming Events

Your W&M School of Education Connection