Behavioral Health Counselor Job Description

Behavioral Health Counselor Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a behavioral health counselor. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a behavioral health counselor.


Who is a Behavioral Health Counselor?

The scientific study of emotions, behaviors, and biology as they relate to a person’s mental health, daily functioning, and sense of self is known as behavioral health. Stress, sadness, anxiety, relationship issues, grief, addiction, ADHD or learning impairments, mood disorders, or other psychological issues are typical conditions experienced by someone who is having behavioral health issues. Treatments such as therapy, counseling, or medication are offered by counselors, therapists, life coaches, psychologists, nurse practitioners, or doctors to help manage behavioral health issues.

A  behavioral health counselor is a specialist who offers assistance and support to those going through psychological distress using a range of psychotherapy techniques and procedures. behavioral health counselors help their clients deal with behavioral health concerns like substance misuse, self-harm, or addiction and recovered from them. As a therapist or counselor in behavioral health, you must assist your patients in resolving urgent issues before assisting them in creating long-term solutions. Your duties also include leading both individual and group counseling sessions and assessing clients who have made significant progress toward recovery. behavioral health counselors are also responsible for figuring out whether underlying environmental or mental health problems are having an impact on clients’ behaviors.

Almost everyone experiences various psychological issues throughout their lives which influence their behaviors, and occasionally they require the assistance of a professional to manage their condition. Given the wide variety of professionals that specialize in treating mental health disorders, it can be difficult to know what kind of assistance is required. One profession that specializes in helping patients with cognitive, behavioral, and emotional disorders is behavioral health counseling. To address behavioral health issues and enhance mental well-being, counselors work together with individuals, families, groups, and communities to profer solutions. Working with clients who have mental health difficulties, addictions, or other challenges that influence their well-being is what a behavioral health counselor does. Strong knowledge of these disorders’ underlying causes and effective treatments is essential for success in this profession. Additionally, you should be able to create efficient treatment programs and offer counseling services that are tailored to each client’s needs.

A strong desire to help individuals, many of whom may be very distressed and in need of major assistance, as well as a high degree of empathy, is necessary for the behavioral health counseling profession. A master’s degree in behavioral health counseling or a closely related discipline, together with prior clinical experience in the mental health industry, are requirements for becoming a behavioral health counselor.  Communication, analytical problem-solving, and cooperation are essential to work traits required in this field because you frequently collaborate with other professionals in a facility who are dedicated to giving patients the best care possible. behavioral health counselors should be conversant with the most recent advances in psychotherapy and must be able to effectively work with other health specialists. Outstanding applicants to this career line have deep counseling experience as well as great clinical understanding.


Behavioral Health Counselor Job Description

Below are the behavioral health counselor job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

Behavioral health counselors are in charge of the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Refer patients to other health care providers as well as other community services like support groups, other social services, and employment opportunities.
  • Identify and assess sufferers of psychological issues
  • Offer psychotherapy to patients.
  • Document cases from the initial consultation through the conclusion of treatment by conducting preliminary interviews.
  • Check the emotional, behavioral, and mental well-being of clients.
  • Create suitable rehabilitation and intervention strategies for singles, couples, families, and groups.
  • Lead treatment sessions in both individual and group settings.
  • Track development as the treatment plan progresses.
  • Work together on intervention strategies with other mental health professionals, including physicians, nurses, and social workers.
  • Follow up with psychiatrists and doctors on behalf of patients who have been admitted to the hospital.
  • Determine conducts that obstruct recovery and avoid them.
  • Offer one-on-one counseling and psychotherapy to people in groups, families, and other settings.
  • Create tailored treatment plans based on the specific requirements and objectives of each client.
  • Conduct assessments and intake interviews to learn about the challenges that clients are currently experiencing.
  • Engage in continuing education and professional development programs to stay up to date with developments in the field.
  • Perform mental assessments and offer crisis response if necessary.
  • Educate patients and their families on the causes, symptoms, and available treatments for mental illnesses.
  • Promote well-being and recovery by assisting patients in acquiring coping and problem-solving techniques.
  • Follow up on patients’ progress and alter prescriptions if necessary
  • Keep thorough notes of the symptoms, actions, and development of your patients.
  • Participate in committees or working groups that develop or improve clinical procedures
  • Supervise trainees or interns.
  • Offer assistance and crisis intervention to clients whenever necessary.
  • Facilitate referrals to other mental health specialists or neighbourhood resources whenever necessary.
  • Keep clinical records accurate and up to date in line with state and federal requirements.
  • Participate in case review meetings and weekly supervision sessions.
  • Liaise between clients and other professionals involved in their care, such as psychiatrists, primary care physicians, school personnel, etc.
  • Partaking in continuing education and professional development programs to maintain licensure and stay current on new developments in the field.
  • Fight for the rights and best interests of the clients within the framework of the legal system.
  • Collaborate to deliver comprehensive care with multidisciplinary teams.
  • Help main caregivers and family members deal with mental and behavioral issues.
  • Ask clients to share their feelings, thoughts, and experiences.
  • Hold discussions in groups with families.
  • Question patients to better understand their circumstances and treatment alternatives.
  • Create customised treatment programs that are tailored to each patient’s unique requirements.
  • Offer assistance and direction to patients throughout their treatment.
  • Assess patients’ needs and concerns regarding their mental health through psychological testing.
  • Send patients to additional medical or mental health specialists when necessary.
  • Conduct family therapy sessions to assist families to cope in resolving problems like divorce or separation.
  • Keep in regular contact with clients to track progress and modify treatment plans as necessary.
  • Educate patients about their illnesses to encourage beneficial behavioral changes.
  • Develop a rapport with your patients so they feel at ease talking about delicate topics.
  • Work with the client to establish goals, create a treatment plan, and gain understanding through the process.
  • Work with the client to pinpoint events, actions, and ideas that obstruct their rehabilitation and overall wellness.



  • Bachelor’s degree in counseling, psychology, social work, or related discipline.
  • Master’s degree in behavioral health counseling in an accredited institution.
  • State-approved licensure to practice as a behavioral health counselor.
  • At least 2 years of experience as a behavioral/mental health counselor.
  • Must be an empathetic and non-judgmental attitude.
  • Experience with particular demography, such as mothers, children, adolescents, families, etc.
  • Proficiency with AVATAR and other electronic health record systems.
  • In-depth understanding of underlying physical and emotional health conditions, and addiction disorders.
  • Knowledgeable about mental health and mental health counseling best practices.
  • Thorough knowledge of the effects of drugs prescribed by medical professionals.
  • Good written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent leadership and interpersonal skills.


Essential Skills

  • Communication skills: As a behavioral health counselor, you will have to communicate with a range of individuals from clients and doctors to industry professionals. You must be able to speak with your clients in a way that they can understand if you want to be a behavioral health counselor. You must be able to articulate the rationale behind your treatment strategies and make it clear to your patients how crucial it is that they heed your recommendations. To guarantee that your patients receive the care they require, you must also be able to frequently interact with other medical specialists, such as psychiatrists.
  • Active listening skills: The ability to concentrate on what the client is saying and their needs are known as active listening skills. You might have to discuss your own experiences as a behavioral health counselor or listen to a client’s narrative. You will connect with clients and better understand their demands by practising active listening.
  • Empathy: Understanding and being able to relate to the thoughts and feelings of another person is known as empathy. When working with clients, mental health counselors must be able to empathize. Your customers can better understand their mental health condition and how to handle it by using empathy. Additionally, you can utilize empathy to help your patients feel cared for and protected while they are undergoing therapy.
  • Crisis intervention skills: The capacity to assist customers in overcoming emotional obstacles is known as crisis intervention skills. Helping people deal with a crisis scenario, whether a natural disaster or a personal tragedy, also falls under this skill. It also entails dealing with behavioral health problems that can result in suicide or self-harm. Professionals in behavioral health use their understanding of psychology and counseling methods to analyze events and create client treatment programs. Additionally, they rely on their interpersonal abilities to win over customers’ trust and persuade them to seek out the necessary treatment.
  • Problem-solving skills: A behavioral health counselor may assist clients in recognizing and resolving issues that might be causing their mental health problems as they are working with them. For instance, a client can be feeling stressed and anxious as a result of a lack of social connection. A behavioral health counselor can assist the client in determining the issue and creating a strategy to solve it, such as signing up for a class or joining a reading club.
  • Critical thinking skills: The ability to critically assess a situation and choose the best course of action is known as critical thinking skills. You could deal with a range of clients as a behavioral health counselor, each with their requirements. You can choose the most effective course of treatment for each patient by employing critical thinking ability. For instance, critical thinking can assist you in selecting the most appropriate treatment strategy for a client who is battling addiction.
  • Non-judgmental attitude: A non-judgmental attitude is a method of relating to others without having to pass judgment on them. A behavioral health counselor must be non-judgmental to make their clients feel at ease addressing their problems and not afraid of being judged. By better understanding their clients, the counselor can counsel them more successfully.
  • Collaboration skills: Collaboration skill is the capacity to cooperate with others to accomplish a shared objective. To assist your clients in overcoming their difficulties, you as a behavioral health counselor should be able to collaborate with a group of different specialists. For instance, you should be able to efficiently collaborate with a client’s medical team to assist in stress management or a client’s financial team to assist in debt management.


How to Become a Behavioral Health Counselor

Step 1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a closely related subject is normally required for the position of behavioral health counselor. Degrees in psychology and social work are most often used for this occupational line. These programs educate students on human behaviors, behavioral problems, and how to assist those who are struggling with them. Psychology, sociology, human development and family studies, statistics, research methodologies, counseling theory and practice, mental health difficulties, and drug misuse are some of the courses offered in this program. Undergraduate students should consider enrolling in courses in psychotherapy, statistical analysis, personality theory, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and abnormal psychology. The groundwork for graduate-level education is laid out in these undergraduate courses.

Step 2. Obtain a Master’s degree

While a master’s degree is not mandatory for employment as a behavioral health counselor, many employers prefer applicants with either a master’s or doctorate. Depending on the subject of study and whether you enrol full- or part-time program, it can take four to seven years to complete a behavioral health doctorate. You can specialize in mental health counseling, child and family counseling, or school counseling. A doctorate also provides access to opportunities in both teaching and research. A doctorate is mostly required if you wish to work in academia. You will study research techniques, statistics, counseling theory, ethics, human development, social psychology, substance misuse, mental disease, and other behavioral health-related topics during your graduate studies.

Step 3. Acquire work experience in the field

Although the educational requirement for this career route is a master’s or doctorate; however, by having a previous work experience in the profession, you can improve your chances of landing a job and being promoted to a senior behavioral health consultant. Internships and supervised practicums are common options for students in graduate programs to get practical experience. While obtaining your postgraduate degree, you can look for part-time employment as a counselor or therapist. You will have the chance to improve your skills and build relationships with other professionals in the field.

Step 4. Obtain Licensure

Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) is crucial in this career. To work as a behavioral health counselor, you will need to acquire state licensure. The requirements to obtain licensure typically vary from state to state, but an LPC or LCSW degree and a supervised experience in behavioral health are required by most states. Some counseling associations provide information about the licensing process on their website. As a prospective behavioral health counselor, you can also check with your state’s board of counseling to know what particular requirements are needed to obtain licensure in your state.


Where to Work as a Behavioral Health Counselor

behavioral health counselors work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, community health centres, correctional facilities, social service agencies, government agencies, and social service agencies. behavioral health counselors typically work full-time. Some of them may work evenings or weekends to meet the schedules of their clients. They may also travel to meet with clients in their homes, workplaces, or any designated place. behavioral health counseling can be emotionally demanding, and it requires counselors to be able to deal with stressful situations always. behavioral health counselors must also be able to keep privacy and comply with ethical requirements.


Behavioral Health Counselor Salary Scale

The salary scale of behavioral health counselors can vary widely depending on some vital factors such as level of education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience. The average salary of a Behavioral Health Counselor is $40,305 in the US, but the salary range usually falls between $35,073 and $46,376 per year. The average pay for a behavioral Health Counselor is £36,200 per year in the United Kingdom. The salary scale is between £25,738 and £43,766 per year. In Canada, the salary is an average of $70,980 per year, with the range typically falling from $62,673 to $83,168 per year. In Nigeria, these counselors earn over 5,160,000 NGN per year. With a pay scale of about 2,850,000 to 7, 895,000 NGN per year.

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