Think about it: you make time to service your car. You make time to take your pets to the vet. You even make time to clean your house. But how often do you make time to check in on the state of your own mental health?
With health care reform laws expanding coverage for mental health and substance abuse services, more and more Americans will be able to seek the help they need to manage stress, deal with trauma, and improve their lives.
If you want to be one of those professionals who help people look after their mental and emotional health, consider a career in psychology, counseling, or social work. We've broken down five popular mental health careers and their degree requirements to help you get started.
When you think of mental health, a psychology career most likely comes to mind. Psychologists use their knowledge of the human mind and emotions to help patients deal with a wide range of issues, from serious psychological disorders to addiction and recovery to couples counseling.
How to Start a Psychology Career
Requirements for psychologists vary state to state, but as a minimum, you'll need a Master's degree in psychology to practice. Some states will require you to have a PhD.
Marriage and Family Therapist Careers
The dynamics of husband, wives and their children are unique, which is why marriage and family therapists are a specialized group of mental health workers. They spend their time in school learning how to read and diagnose different family dynamics and treat each family member, not just one individual.
How to Start a Marriage and Family Therapy Career
The majority of marriage and family therapists have a Master's degree in marriage and family therapy.
Guidance Counselor Careers
Growing up isn't easy, which is why guidance counselors are hired by elementary, middle and high schools to help children and young adults throughout their educational careers. Guidance counselors make sure students are progressing mentally and emotionally, and will even assist during the college and career decision-making process.
How to Start a Guidance Counselor Career
Guidance counselors will need a Master's degree in counseling to get started.
Rehabilitation Counselor Careers
Those who have physical, emotional or psychological disabilities need a unique kind of counseling. Rehabilitation counselors fill this need, using their skills to improve their quality of life and helping them live as independently as possible.
How to Start a Rehabilitation Career
Like the careers listed above, rehabilitation counselors need to have a Master's degree in counseling or a related field.
Social Work Careers
Some of society's toughest problems-child abuse, spousal abuse, homelessness, poverty, truancy-often go hand in hand. It's the responsibility of social workers to help the men, women and children who are trapped in this complicated web of issues.
How to Start a Social Work Career
Social Workers need a master's degree in social work to get started, and they generally also have a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field.
For more information on these careers and correlating degree programs, visit this health services career profiles page.Spotlight on 5 Rewarding Mental Health Careers