Forensic Mental Health Counseling Jobs
Explore the career requirements for forensic counselors. Get the facts about education requirements, job duties and potential salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering .
Forensic counselors provide counseling services to incarcerated individuals and their families. The following chart may answer questions you have about this career.
|Degree Required||Master's degree, along with clinical experience|
|Education Field of Study||Psychology, forensic counseling, social work|
|Licensure/Certification||Licensure as a mental health counselor is required by most states; certification is optional|
|Key Responsibilities||Provide group and individual counseling, testify in court on behalf of patient, oversee patient progress, implement prevention strategies at various advocacy centers|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||29% (for all mental health counselors)*|
|Average Salary (2014)||$43, 990 *|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Does a Forensic Counselor Do?
A forensic counselor works within the intersection between the legal and mental health systems to provide counseling treatment for criminal and civil offenders. As a forensic counselor, you will provide services such as substance abuse treatment and parole evaluation to individuals within the criminal justice system. You will often also work with the families of incarcerated individuals, along with various organizations with diverse cultural beliefs and practices.
In addition to working with the patients, you may also be asked to work directly with individuals or organizations on the other side of the criminal justice system. These tasks may include providing testimony in court, assisting parole officers with inmate evaluation or implementing prevention strategies at various advocacy centers.
What Education Do I Need to Become a Forensic Counselor?
You must be a licensed mental health professional in order to become a forensic counselor. Several colleges and universities offer master's programs in psychology with a concentration in forensic counseling. If you graduate from one of these programs, you have often already fulfilled the education requirements needed to apply for licensure, but you should always check with the school to be sure. Most licensing in the mental health field is done on a state-basis, so you then need to apply to the appropriate state department in order to sit for an exam or be reviewed for a license. Some states may have additional requirements other than the education component, so be sure to fulfill every requirement of the state in which you want to work.