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Mental Health Counselor Job Outlook
Employment of mental health counselors is projected to grow 23% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the forecasted 7% average growth for all occupations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts the number of mental health counseling positions to reach 194,200 by 2026, an increase of more than 36,000 positions from 2016 levels.
Federal legislation mandating individual health coverage may increase the number of health insurance customers. In addition, the law requires insurance plans to cover treatment for mental health issues in the same way as other chronic diseases. These two factors will open up prevention and treatment services to more people who were previously uninsured, did not have these services covered, or found treatment to be cost-prohibitive. Mental health centers and other treatment and counseling facilities will need to hire more mental health counselors to meet this increased demand.
In addition, the number of military veterans needing and seeking mental health treatment is expected to increase over the next decade. The federal government, community clinics, and local hospitals will need to expand their mental health counseling staff, to provide timely and effective treatment for veterans and active duty personnel.
Furthermore, increasing numbers of people are expected to seek treatment for problems with mental and emotional problems than in earlier decades. As the population grows, the number of individuals entering therapy is expected to increase, as well. This trend will cause continued demand for counselors in mental health centers, hospitals, and colleges
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook
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