Best Jobs in Mental Health and How to Get There

Topics: Graduate Programs

Published on: 5/1/24 11:29 AM

Best Jobs in Mental Health and How to Get There

The perception of mental health has drastically evolved, shedding stigma for acceptance and insight. Ongoing education and advocacy have boosted this shift, highlighting mental health's critical role in overall wellness. As a result, mental health careers now extend beyond traditional therapy into diverse sectors like community programs, wellness, education, and policymaking. 

This evolution signifies a robust job market and the need for a highly educated workforce passionate about advancing mental well-being in our society. There’s a variety of mental health careers out there. Which is the best job in mental health for you to pursue? 

The Importance of Advanced Degrees in Mental Health 

A robust educational foundation is non-negotiable if you want to make a tangible impact in the mental health field. In the current job market, where competition is stiff, higher-level positions within the mental health domain often require graduate-level education. Advanced degrees equip aspiring professionals with specialized skills and knowledge and provide a competitive edge.

Best Jobs in Mental Health

Choosing a career in mental health can be one of the most rewarding and impactful decisions a person can make. When considering what constitutes the "best" career within this diverse field, several key factors come into play. Job growth, job security, salary, and personal fulfillment are critical metrics that often define the appeal and sustainability of a career path. Here are several rewarding and sought-after roles across the mental health field. 

Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Clinical mental health counselors play a vital role in ensuring both individuals and communities thrive despite the mental health challenges they might face. Their job usually entails identifying, diagnosing, and treating mental health disorders, playing an instrumental role in creating a healthy society. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for mental health counselors will grow by 18% by 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. This indicates clear prospects for aspiring mental health counselors.

Pursuing a degree that provides theoretical knowledge and hands-on training is necessary to enter the field. While a bachelor’s degree can help ignite a career in mental health counseling, a graduate degree shows expertise and provides greater long-term opportunities. A master's degree in clinical mental health counseling provides the ideal foundation for a fulfilling career in counseling. 

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) play a crucial role in the healthcare landscape. Their expertise and scope of practice allow them to work seamlessly across various healthcare settings—ranging from acute care facilities, such as hospitals and emergency rooms, where they may encounter patients in crisis, to primary care practices, where they often play a pivotal role in the early identification and management of mental health disorders.

The BLS estimates a staggering 38% job growth by 2032 for nurse practitioner roles with an average salary of $125,900. With a master's degree in nursing, nurse practitioners can expect rewarding positions in various healthcare settings.

Download the Guide: How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

Social Worker with a Focus on Mental Health

Social workers specializing in mental health offer essential support to individuals and communities navigating mental health issues. Their roles span counseling, advocacy, crisis response, and helping clients access the services they need. The job is as versatile as it is impactful, finding relevance across hospitals, schools, social service agencies, and private practice.

The BLS forecasts a growth of 7% for social worker positions by 2032 and an average salary of $55,350. A Master's in Social Work (MSW) equips professionals for this intricate job and is often required for entry-level positions. 

Forensic Psychologist

Operating at the intersection of psychology and law, forensic psychologists bring to light the impact of mental health on legal issues. They often assess individuals involved in the legal system, assist in criminal investigations, and provide expert courtroom testimony.

While the expected job growth rate of 6% by 2032 may seem moderate, the unique and vital nature of this role ensures steady demand. Those eyeing a lucrative career in forensic psychology will typically need a specialized degree to enter the field. 

What is Forensic Psychology?

School Psychologist

School psychologists play a key role, involved in early detection and intervention of mental health issues within educational settings. Their work significantly impacts educational outcomes and overall child development.

The job outlook for psychologists, including school psychologists, shows a projected overall employment increase of about 6% from 2022 to 2032, according to BLS data. Specifically, school psychologists are expected to see a growth rate of approximately 1% over the same period. This modest growth rate underscores the niche yet vital role that school psychologists play in supporting educational outcomes and proactively addressing student mental health needs.

Pursuing a Career in Mental Health 

The escalating demand for skilled professionals in mental health is undeniable. As society becomes increasingly aware of the need for mental health professionals, graduate education is quickly becoming a requirement. By pursuing a graduate degree in mental health, you can prepare to contribute positively to this vital field. 

Neumann University is at the forefront of equipping students with the advanced knowledge, practical skills, and ethical grounding needed to excel in diverse mental health environments through several graduate programs. Graduates emerge as highly skilled professionals and compassionate advocates for those they serve, ready to contribute meaningfully to the evolving landscape of mental health care. 

Each program is designed to address the multifaceted dimensions of mental health care, blending academic coursework with real-world application. Whether you are drawn to the holistic patient care perspective of the MSN program, the depth of clinical practice and assessment in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, or the intersection of psychology and the legal system in Forensic Psychology, Neumann prepares you for a fulfilling career dedicated to improving mental wellness. 

We have comprehensive guides to pursuing each of these roles. Explore your preferred program! 

Bettsy McKlaine

 Bettsy McKlaine

About The Author: Bettsy McKlaine is the Executive Director of Enrollment Management, Degree Completion & Graduate Programs at Neumann University and a proud Alumna. The Neumann Community has become her second family and she loves to interact with students, both from the undergraduate and graduate population. Her favorite time of year is at the start of each semester as students begin classes!


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