Doctorate in Mental Health Counseling: Jobs & Salary

An advanced degree in mental health counseling can be applied to other counseling careers, as well as other careers in different fields. Find out about some of the career opportunities for graduates with this degree.

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A doctorate degree program in mental health counseling provides students with the advanced counseling skills and knowledge of mental health and human behavior needed to work in several different careers. These careers vary across the job fields of social services, social sciences, education and more. Below is a list of a few of the possible careers for graduates with a doctorate degree in mental health counseling.

Related Careers for a Doctorate Degree in Mental Health Counseling

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Mental Health Counselors $42,840 20%
Psychologists $75,230 19%
Social Workers $46,890 12%
Postsecondary Health Specialties Teachers $99,360 19%
Marriage and Family Therapists $49,170 15%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Doctorate Degree in Mental Health Counseling Career Options

Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counselors need at least a master's degree, and many choose to pursue a doctorate in the field. These counselors are trained to work with individuals, groups, families and couples in counseling sessions that may address issues like depression, grief, anxiety, relationship problems and emotional issues. They may diagnose some of these issues, as well as help their clients process hard life circumstances and provide them with additional resources if needed. Mental health counselors also help their clients learn strategies for modifying their behavior and better controlling how they react to different situations.


Most psychologists need a Ph.D. and a license to conduct research or perform clinical work. A background in mental health counseling can greatly help these scientists as they study human behavior and brain function. Psychologists may diagnose disorders based on their research and offer treatment options for their clients. They may conduct research through interviews or observations and report their findings in scientific papers and articles.

Social Workers

Some social workers choose to earn a doctorate degree, and one in mental health counseling may especially help clinical or mental health social workers. In general, social workers help groups of people adjust to life changes, respond to crisis situations and connect their clients with needed community resources. Clinical social workers are also qualified to treat various mental and emotional disorders through therapy and other treatments. Mental health social workers specialize in working with clients with various mental disorders and helping them manage their condition.

Postsecondary Health Specialties Teachers

The majority of postsecondary educators need a Ph.D., and graduates with a Ph.D. in mental health counseling may be interested in sharing their knowledge of the field with the next class of students. Health specialties teachers at this level usually teach multiple courses pertaining to their area of expertise, which requires them to create lesson plans and assignments. Depending on the institution, these teachers may also need to supervise the work of graduate students, serve on various committees and conduct their own research in their respective field.

Marriage and Family Therapists

Similar to mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists need at least a master's degree, but a doctorate degree may help them better counsel their clients. Mental health therapists counsel individuals, couples and/or families through their various issues while keeping a family-centered perspective to the treatment. Using this setting helps therapists determine how family roles, relationships and life circumstances affect the client's mental health.

A doctorate degree in mental health counseling can be beneficial in several counseling-oriented careers, as well as the postsecondary educator field. Some of these careers may offer lower than expected median salaries (less than $50,000) due to the nature and funding of social service positions.

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