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Job Description

“Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with their family and relationships. They listen to clients and ask questions, to help the clients understand their problems and develop strategies to improve their lives.”

“Mental health and substance abuse social workers assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. Activities may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education.”

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (1, 2)

Job Outlook

In Illinois, the number of Mental Health Counselors is expected to grow by 13.5% between 2012 and 2022, with 76 new job openings projected per year (not counting replacements). The number Mental Health & Substance Abuse Social Workers is expected to grow by 7.3%, with 33 new job openings per year. The median salary for Mental Health Counselors in the Chicago metro area was $38,984 in 2014. For Mental Health & Substance Abuse Social Workers, it was $35,862.

Source: Illinois Department of Employment Security

Education Requirements

Master’s degree and 2,000-4,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience for Mental Health Counselors. Bachelor’s or master’s degree and 2 years or 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised clinical experience.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

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