Mental Health Counselor Job Description [Updated for 2024]

mental health counselor job description

In our modern world, the importance of mental health counselors has never been more crucial.

As societal dynamics evolve, the demand for empathetic, skilled professionals who can navigate, support, and preserve our mental health framework heightens.

But let’s delve deeper: What is truly expected from a mental health counselor?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to comprehend the core of this role,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply interested in the intricacies of mental health counseling,

You’re in the right place.

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

Let’s dive right in.

Mental Health Counselor Duties and Responsibilities

Mental Health Counselors are responsible for providing therapeutic treatment and guidance to individuals, families, and groups who are dealing with mental, emotional, or behavioral issues.

They use a variety of therapeutic techniques and interventions to help their clients improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Mental Health Counselors typically have the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Assess and diagnose clients’ mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse
  • Develop individualized treatment plans based on client needs and circumstances
  • Provide individual, group, or family therapy sessions to help clients process their emotions and experiences
  • Utilize various therapeutic methods, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or mindfulness-based techniques
  • Help clients develop coping mechanisms and strategies to manage and reduce symptoms
  • Coordinate with other healthcare professionals, such as psychiatrists and social workers, to provide comprehensive care for clients
  • Maintain confidential client records and document client progress
  • Provide crisis intervention when necessary
  • Educate clients and their families about mental health conditions and treatment options
  • Advocate for clients’ rights and needs within the healthcare system


Mental Health Counselor Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are seeking a dedicated Mental Health Counselor to provide professional counseling services to clients dealing with a variety of mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues.

The Mental Health Counselor will be responsible for conducting assessments, developing individualized treatment plans, and facilitating therapy sessions.

The ideal candidate is compassionate, understanding, and has excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

They should be knowledgeable about mental health disorders and treatment methodologies, and be comfortable working with diverse patient populations.



  • Conduct initial assessments and intake interviews with new clients
  • Develop and implement individualized treatment plans based on clients’ specific needs
  • Provide individual, group, or family psychotherapy sessions as required
  • Regularly evaluate clients’ progress and adjust treatment plans as necessary
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive patient care
  • Ensure all services provided comply with professional ethical standards and local, state, and federal laws and regulations
  • Maintain accurate and timely client records
  • Stay up-to-date with current trends and developments in the mental health field



  • Master’s degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or a related field
  • Current state licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), or similar
  • Proven experience in mental health counseling or therapy
  • Knowledge of various therapy methodologies and ability to apply them appropriately
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • High levels of empathy and understanding
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and respect clients’ rights and privacy



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


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Mental Health Counselor
  • Work Environment: Clinical setting. Some travel may be required for home visits or off-site meetings.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Director of Mental Health Services or Clinical Supervisor.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $45,000 minimum to $75,000 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 Mental Health Counselor Do?

Mental Health Counselors are specialized healthcare professionals who work with individuals, families, and groups to address and treat mental and emotional disorders and to promote mental health.

They work in diverse community settings designed to provide a variety of counseling, rehabilitation, and support services.

Their duties may include crisis management; individual and group therapy sessions for issues such as stress management, self-esteem, aging, job and career concerns, educational decisions, issues related to mental and emotional health, and family, parenting, and marital or other relationship problems.

Mental Health Counselors use a variety of therapeutic techniques, including psychotherapy, to assess and diagnose these disorders, implement treatment plans, and conduct regular sessions with their patients to guide them through their issues and help them develop new strategies for managing stress and anxiety.

They are also responsible for keeping accurate client records, monitoring and updating treatment plans, and referring clients to other resources or services, such as support groups or psychiatrists, as necessary.

These professionals often work closely with other mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and school counselors.

Some Mental Health Counselors are specialized in particular areas, like substance abuse or trauma, and use specific therapeutic techniques to help their clients deal with these issues.

Overall, their goal is to help their clients improve their mental health and overall quality of life.


Mental Health Counselor Qualifications and Skills

A qualified Mental Health Counselor should possess a range of skills and qualifications that allow them to support clients effectively, such as:

  • Active listening skills to understand the feelings, thoughts, and concerns of their clients.
  • Empathy and compassion to connect with their clients on a deep level, helping to build trust and a strong therapeutic relationship.
  • Exceptional communication skills to explain complex psychological concepts in an understandable way, as well as to articulate treatment plans and progress to clients and their families.
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills to assess client symptoms, formulate diagnoses, and develop effective therapeutic interventions.
  • Understanding and knowledge of different therapy techniques and interventions to provide effective counseling based on individual client needs.
  • Patience and resilience, as progress in mental health treatment can be slow and requires consistent effort. This also includes the ability to deal with potentially distressing situations with a calm demeanor.
  • Knowledge of mental health laws and ethics to ensure the safety and privacy of clients.
  • Record-keeping skills to document client sessions, track progress, and communicate with other healthcare providers when necessary.


Mental Health Counselor Experience Requirements

Entry-level mental health counselors are generally required to have completed an internship or practicum as part of a master’s degree program in counseling, psychology, or a related field.

This provides them with an initial experience in offering therapeutic services, conducting assessments, and developing treatment plans under supervision.

In addition to this, many employers require at least two years of post-degree clinical experience working directly with clients in a mental health setting.

This can be gained through full-time or part-time roles, such as a Case Manager, Behavioral Health Specialist, or Therapist at mental health clinics, hospitals, or private practices.

Candidates with more than 5 years of experience have usually developed their counseling techniques and have a deep understanding of mental health laws and regulations.

They may have also gained experience in specializations such as addiction counseling, trauma therapy, or child and adolescent counseling.

Those with over 10 years of experience often have a proven track record of effective counseling and a thorough understanding of therapeutic models.

They may have held leadership roles such as Team Lead or Clinical Supervisor, and are likely ready to take on managerial or directorial positions within mental health services.


Mental Health Counselor Education and Training Requirements

To become a Mental Health Counselor, individuals need to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, counseling, or a related field.

Furthering this, they need to acquire a master’s degree in mental health counseling or a closely related field of study.

These programs focus on teaching students about mental health disorders, counseling techniques, ethical practices, and the development of treatment plans.

Most states require Mental Health Counselors to be licensed, which typically involves completing a master’s degree and a certain number of supervised clinical hours, usually between 2,000 to 4,000 hours.

To maintain licensure, Mental Health Counselors must participate in continuing education courses throughout their career.

These courses keep them updated with the latest counseling techniques and discoveries in the field of mental health.

In addition, Mental Health Counselors can choose to become certified by organizations such as the National Board for Certified Counselors.

These certifications can increase their marketability and demonstrate their proficiency in a particular area of counseling.

Furthermore, having a doctorate degree in mental health counseling or a related field can provide opportunities for leadership roles and higher-level positions in the field.

Apart from the educational and licensing requirements, mental health counselors must have excellent interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills.

They must also be compassionate and have a strong desire to help others.


Mental Health Counselor Salary Expectations

The average salary for a Mental Health Counselor is approximately $46,240 (USD) per year.

The actual earnings can fluctuate based on experience, education, location, and the specific employer.


Mental Health Counselor Job Description FAQs

What skills does a mental health counselor need?

Mental Health Counselors need to have excellent communication and active listening skills to truly understand their clients’ issues.

They should possess problem-solving skills to help their clients identify and overcome challenges.

Empathy and patience are also crucial as they deal with individuals who might be going through difficult emotional and psychological phases.

Moreover, knowledge of psychological theories and practices, and the ability to maintain confidentiality are necessary.


What is the necessary qualification for a mental health counselor?

Mental Health Counselors need at least a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field.

Besides, they must complete a certain number of hours of supervised clinical experience, usually during an internship or practicum.

They also need to be licensed in the state in which they practice, which requires passing a state-recognized exam.


What should you look for in a mental health counselor resume?

Firstly, make sure the candidate has a master’s degree in counseling or a similar field and a valid state license.

Look for any specialization in areas such as addiction, family counseling, or youth counseling.

It is also helpful to look for experience working with specific populations like children or veterans.

Any experience in crisis intervention and suicide prevention could be beneficial.


What qualities make a good mental health counselor?

A good mental health counselor should have a deep sense of empathy and patience to deal with clients who might be going through a hard time.

They should possess strong listening skills and be able to communicate effectively.

A high level of confidentiality is a must.

They should be flexible and open-minded, as different clients might need different approaches.

Finally, they should be committed to continuous learning, as new strategies and theories in psychology are always emerging.


Is it difficult to hire a mental health counselor?

Hiring a mental health counselor can be challenging due to the high qualifications and strict licensing requirements.

Furthermore, it requires finding someone who can balance professional and academic qualifications with the emotional intelligence and compassion required for the job.

Offering competitive salaries, ongoing training and development, and a supportive work environment can attract qualified candidates.



And there you have it.

Today, we’ve delved into the profound and impactful role of a mental health counselor.


It’s not just about lending an ear.

It’s about nurturing resilience, fostering growth, and paving the way towards mental well-being, one counseling session at a time.

With our insightful mental health counselor job description template and real-world examples, you’re all set to take the plunge.

But why stop there?

Immerse yourself further with our job description generator. It’s your next step towards creating detailed job listings or optimizing your resume to perfection.


Every counseling session is a step towards a healthier, more balanced life.

Let’s promote mental wellness. Together.

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