Clinical Counselor Job Description [Updated for 2024]

clinical counselor job description

In the ever-evolving realm of mental health, the role of clinical counselors is becoming increasingly crucial.

As societal awareness and acceptance of mental health issues continue to grow, so does the demand for skilled professionals who can navigate, enhance, and safeguard our mental health services.

But let’s delve deeper: What’s truly expected from a clinical counselor?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker looking to understand the core responsibilities of this role,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply intrigued by the intricacies of clinical counseling,

You’ve come to the right place.

Today, we present a customizable clinical counselor job description template, designed for easy posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right into it.

Clinical Counselor Duties and Responsibilities

Clinical Counselors perform a range of tasks related to mental health assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Their work involves direct interaction with clients to understand their mental health issues and devise appropriate therapeutic strategies.

Their daily duties and responsibilities include:

  • Conducting comprehensive client assessments to gather information about issues, symptoms and concerns
  • Formulating personalized treatment plans and strategies based on the client’s needs and preferences
  • Applying therapeutic counseling techniques like cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, or solution-focused therapy
  • Helping clients explore their emotions, understand their behaviors and learn coping strategies
  • Monitoring and documenting client progress over the course of therapy
  • Maintaining strict client confidentiality and adhering to professional ethics and standards
  • Providing crisis intervention services when necessary
  • Referring clients to other healthcare professionals or specialists as needed
  • Continuing professional development to stay updated with the latest counseling techniques and research findings.


Clinical Counselor Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are searching for a dedicated and experienced Clinical Counselor to join our team.

The Clinical Counselor will be responsible for assisting patients and their families navigate the process of illness, diagnosis, treatment, and health-related issues.

The key responsibilities include conducting assessments, implementing treatment plans, providing therapeutic counseling services, and contributing to patient care planning conferences.

Our ideal candidate is an empathetic listener with excellent communication skills and the ability to help people process their experiences.



  • Perform initial assessments and develop individualized treatment plans.
  • Provide therapeutic counseling services to patients and families.
  • Participate in patient care planning conferences.
  • Maintain accurate and timely clinical documentation.
  • Collaborate with a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals.
  • Adhere to professional standards, home care policies and procedures, federal, state, and local requirements.
  • Support patient and family coping mechanisms through individual counseling or group therapy.



  • Master’s Degree in Social Work, Psychology, Counseling or a related field.
  • Proven work experience as a Clinical Counselor.
  • Licensed to practice in the state.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to manage time effectively and prioritize tasks to meet deadlines.
  • Strong analytical abilities and problem-solving skills.
  • Compassionate and understanding with patient care.



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Clinical Counselor
  • Work Environment: Clinical setting, with potential for remote sessions. Some travel may be required for home visits or off-site consultations.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Clinical Director.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $55,000 minimum to $85,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Clinical Counselor Do?

Clinical Counselors work in various settings like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, mental health clinics, and private practices.

They can also offer telehealth services, providing counseling through online platforms.

They work closely with clients to help them understand and manage their problems and issues such as stress, substance abuse, mental illnesses, self-esteem, relationship troubles, career changes, and more.

Their job involves developing a therapeutic relationship with their clients, conducting assessments to identify their issues, and formulating a treatment plan.

The treatment plan can involve individual or group therapy, crisis management, and teaching coping strategies.

Clinical Counselors also collaborate with other professionals like psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and educators to ensure holistic care for their clients.

They are responsible for maintaining accurate records, tracking their clients’ progress, and modifying the treatment plans as needed.

A significant part of their role is to maintain confidentiality and follow ethical guidelines to ensure the welfare of their clients.

In some cases, Clinical Counselors may also conduct research, teach, and provide supervision to trainee counselors.


Clinical Counselor Qualifications and Skills

A proficient Clinical Counselor should possess a variety of interpersonal skills, technical abilities, and therapeutic knowledge, including:

  • Empathy and understanding to connect with clients on a deep emotional level, fostering trust and openness.
  • Excellent communication skills to effectively listen, understand, and respond to clients’ concerns, feelings, and experiences.
  • Problem-solving skills to identify the source of clients’ distress, provide effective therapeutic strategies, and guide clients towards healthier behaviors and thought patterns.
  • Knowledge of various therapeutic techniques and approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), or psychodynamic therapy, to cater to the individual needs of each client.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and uphold ethical guidelines as outlined by professional bodies such as the American Counseling Association (ACA).
  • Comfort working with diverse populations, demonstrating cultural sensitivity and an understanding of the impact of social, economic, and cultural factors on mental health.
  • Stress management skills to maintain personal well-being and effectiveness in the face of high emotional demand.
  • Record-keeping skills to document clients’ progress, treatment plans, and any notable interactions.


Clinical Counselor Experience Requirements

Clinical Counselors typically require a Master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field.

This degree should involve extensive practical experience through supervised internships or residencies, providing valuable training in therapeutic techniques and patient interaction.

Entry-level Clinical Counselor positions may require 1 to 2 years of professional counseling experience, often gained through internships or practicum work during their master’s program.

These professionals may also gain experience in related roles such as Social Worker, Mental Health Technician, or Case Manager.

Candidates with 3 to 5 years of experience often have developed their counseling skills and knowledge in entry-level Clinical Counselor roles or related positions.

They may have specialized in a particular type of counseling, such as substance abuse, family therapy, or trauma counseling.

Professionals with more than 5 years of experience may have gained leadership or managerial experience, possibly overseeing a team of counselors or running a specific program within a clinic or hospital.

They may also have a significant amount of experience in developing and implementing treatment plans, coordinating with other healthcare professionals, and managing the administrative duties of counseling services.

In addition, all states require Clinical Counselors to be licensed, which generally involves passing a state-recognized exam and completing a certain number of supervised clinical hours.

Continued education is also typically required to maintain licensure.


Clinical Counselor Education and Training Requirements

Clinical Counselors typically hold a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field.

The degree program should be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or an equivalent accrediting body.

These programs provide a foundation in psychological theories, therapeutic techniques, and ethical considerations, and often require supervised clinical experience.

In most states, clinical counselors must also obtain licensure to practice.

Licensure requirements vary by state but generally include the completion of a master’s degree, supervised clinical experience, and passing a state-recognized exam.

While not necessarily required, many clinical counselors choose to pursue board certification from organizations such as the National Board for Certified Counselors.

This can showcase the counselor’s expertise in certain specialty areas and demonstrate a commitment to professional development.

Continuing education is also important in this field, as it helps counselors stay updated with the latest research findings, therapeutic techniques, and best practices.


Clinical Counselor Salary Expectations

A Clinical Counselor can expect to earn an average salary of $46,240 (USD) per year.

The actual earnings may vary depending on factors such as experience, level of education, specializations, and the geographical location of their practice.


Clinical Counselor Job Description FAQs

What skills does a Clinical Counselor need?

A Clinical Counselor needs exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, as they spend most of their time listening to and speaking with clients.

They should possess emotional intelligence to empathize with their clients and offer pertinent advice.

Problem-solving skills are crucial in developing effective treatment plans.

Moreover, they need to demonstrate patience, as progress in counseling can often be slow and gradual.


Do Clinical Counselors need a degree?

Yes, Clinical Counselors typically need a Master’s degree in counseling or a related field.

Additionally, they should obtain a license to practice which involves passing a state-recognized exam.

Some states also require counselors to complete continuing education courses to maintain their license.


What should you look for in a Clinical Counselor’s resume?

On a Clinical Counselor’s resume, look for a Master’s degree in a relevant field and a valid practicing license.

Experience in counseling or therapy is also key, especially if it aligns with your organization’s specialization or patient demographic.

Any additional certifications or specific therapeutic training (like cognitive-behavioral therapy or trauma-focused therapy) can also be advantageous.


What qualities make a good Clinical Counselor?

A good Clinical Counselor is compassionate, understanding, and able to build trust with their clients.

They should be non-judgmental and respect the confidentiality of their clients.

They also need to be resilient as they often deal with emotionally intense situations.

A good Clinical Counselor should also stay updated with the latest research and developments in their field of specialization.


Is it difficult to hire Clinical Counselors?

Hiring Clinical Counselors can be challenging due to the specific qualifications and experience required for the role.

It’s vital to ensure a potential counselor not only has the necessary educational background and licensure but also aligns with your organization’s culture and values.

To attract top talent, offer competitive salaries, ongoing professional development opportunities, and a supportive work environment.



And there you have it.

Today, we delved into the intricate world of what it truly means to be a clinical counselor.

But guess what?

It’s not just about giving advice.

It’s about shaping healthier minds, one counselling session at a time.

With our comprehensive clinical counselor job description template and realistic examples, you’re perfectly equipped to take the next step.

But don’t limit yourself!

Dive deeper with our job description generator. It’s your key to crafting precise job listings or refining your resume to absolute excellence.

Always remember:

Every counselling session is part of a larger healing process.

Let’s cultivate a healthier future. Together.

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