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Jobs that Involve Mental Health

For individuals interested in pursuing a career that involves mental health, there are several options to choose from in the medical, counseling, and correctional fields.

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Career Options That Involve Mental Health

There are many career options that involve mental health. You may be interested in working with mental health patients in a hospital or clinical setting. Others may want to provide counseling services for patients struggling with addiction or depression. Your individual interests, as well as how long you want to spend in school, will help you determine what career path is right for you. Below, we will discuss six different career possibilities for individuals interested in a career that involves mental health.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Psychiatric Technician $30,970 5%
Registered Nurse $68,450 16%
Mental Health Social Worker $42,700 19%
Probation Officer/Correctional Treatment Specialist $50,160 4%
Psychiatrist $245,673 15%
Psychologist $75,230 19%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs That Involve Mental Health

Psychiatric Technician

As a psychiatric technician, you will work directly with mental health patients and provide them with care. You usually are a member of a team that also includes psychiatrists, other doctors, and aides. The technician is responsible for administering medication and treatment to patients according to the orders of the doctor. They monitor a patient's vital signs, like their heart rate and blood pressure. Technicians may be responsible for admitting and discharging patients from treatment facilities and handling paperwork. They often listen to a patient's concerns and may help explain their treatment plan. To become a psychiatric technician, you will need to have a high school diploma and some sort of applicable postsecondary certificate.

Registered Nurse

Nurses work in all areas of healthcare, and some nurses may choose to pursue a career in mental health. This could mean they work on the mental health floor of a hospital, or they may work as a nurse in a designated mental health facility or psychiatric hospital. Nurses are responsible for monitoring patients, administering medication, recording patient symptoms, and keeping in contact with doctors to update them on a patient's condition. Nurses also need to know how to operate specialized equipment and machinery. To become a nurse, you will need to complete an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing. Nurses who are interested in mental health may choose to obtain additional certifications.

Mental Health Social Worker

Social workers help people who are undergoing various problems and issues in their lives to find appropriate coping strategies. They also connect them with different government resources and private programs. Some social workers may choose to specialize in mental health. These professionals primarily work with people who are suffering from different mental illnesses or trying to overcome addiction. They may connect them with 12-step addiction programs or help them join support groups for their illness. To become a mental health social worker, you will need a bachelor's degree in social work. Some may choose to work as clinical social workers where they would be responsible for diagnosing and treating issues. Clinical social workers need to get a master's degree along with 2 years of supervised clinical experience.

Probation Officer/Correctional Treatment Specialist

While probation officers work with individuals who have been placed on probation instead of going to prison, correctional treatment specialists work with those who have been released from prison to help them develop plans to assimilate back into the outside world. Both of these professionals assess individuals to determine if they need to enroll in educational or rehabilitation programs. Because many of these individuals may have mental health problems, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists may need to be trained in this area and able to connect individulas with resources to get help and support in the outside world. To become one of these professionals, you will typically need a bachelor's degree and will need to complete a government-sponsored training program.

Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a type of physician that works in mental health. They work with patients who have various mental illnesses. Through a combination of counseling, psychoanalysis, observation, and medication, they develop treatment plans for patients. Some psychiatrists may work with entire families to provide counseling, while others may focus on working with individuals. Some psychiatrists work in hospitals, while others may have their own practice. To become a psychiatrist, you will need to complete a bachelor's degree, complete medical school, and choose a residency program in psychiatry.

Psychologist

Psychologists are interested in understanding how people's minds work. While some of them may work primarily in research, others choose to become counseling psychologists or neuropsychologists. These professionals are interested in mental health. As a psychologist who provides counseling services, you would work with individuals, couples, and families who are experiencing a problem of some kind. They may struggle with drug abuse, a history of trauma, or a diagnosed mental illness. Psychologists help individuals manage these problems. To become a psychologist, you will usually need at least a master's degree in psychology.

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