Published on January 1, 2024

5 Career Options for Mental Health Professionals

Roles in healthcare management within the mental health sector can range from managing an entire mental health program for a large-scale organization, to closely participating in patient care in a smaller setting, or implementing programs that bridge individuals with the resources they require. 

Those in managerial positions typically have a blend of academic achievements and hands-on experience in both mental health and administration. The vast majority of these management roles necessitate a postgraduate degree in the respective field. Here are some potential career trajectories you might consider.

Residential Counselor

You desire to fully engage in the lives of those you provide care for. Whether your passion lies in guiding the young or the aged, aiding homeless veterans, or helping individuals overcome substance abuse, your role as a residential counselor could see you working in a residential facility, recovery center, or group home, focusing on one population daily. Alongside individual counseling, your duties may also involve conducting group therapy sessions and creating and managing residential programs with an emphasis on social rehabilitation.

Private Practice Therapist

Private practice stands as one of the most time-honored methods in the mental health profession. Therapists operating their own practices have the advantage of setting their schedules, picking their therapeutic models, and determining their client numbers. 

Historically, therapy was mainly accessible to those with higher incomes, but the wider availability of mental health services via medical insurance has broadened the spectrum of clients for private practitioners. Some therapists may decide to hone their skills in specific groups, while others maintain a diverse clientele.


Psychologists can evaluate a client’s mental health status. They do this through a series of interviews and diagnostic tests, leading to an established diagnosis. Much like therapists, they can either work individually with clients or in a group setting. To practice, they are required to hold either a Psy.D or Ph.D., along with a state-specific license. The ability for psychologists to prescribe medications is subject to the regulations of their practicing state.

For psychologists who have prescribing privileges, additional training is necessary; this often includes Free CE for Social Workers or specialist training in psychopharmacology, which covers the usage of medicines in the treatment of mental health disorders. Choosing a career path in psychology not only provides a substantial income but also allows for work in various environments. There’s even the potential to be self-employed and work from the comfort of your own home, offering significant flexibility.

Special Education Teacher

While pondering over medical careers, the profession of a special education teacher might not be your first thought. However, these educators indeed serve as vital contributors to the mental health sector. As one, you get the chance to assist students with diverse disabilities who require specific care in educational environments.

This particular field exhibits a strong demand and a limited supply of adequately trained professionals to meet this requirement. To become a special education teacher, you need a bachelor’s degree. This is followed by specialized training in special education. Special education teachers earn an average salary of about $60,000. This figure can considerably increase with advanced degrees and depending on the region you work in.


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who undergo rigorous training in various therapeutic methods, including the use of psychopharmaceuticals for treating mental health disorders. The state usually licenses them and has the authority to prescribe psychopharmaceutical drugs as part of their treatment strategies. 

Their therapeutic offerings can vary, with some providing traditional talk therapy alongside medication management. The education and training required to become a psychiatrist is extensive, often involving five or more years of medical school followed by demanding residencies.


Pursuing a career in mental health can offer a harmonious blend of challenges and rewards. Given the wide array of job positions and career routes linked with this profession, the possibilities are extensive. If you think your personal abilities are suited and your interest is piqued, this might be a fantastic career path to investigate further.

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