Employment for Mental Health-Related Positions Expected to Grow in 2024

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By Macro Analyst Desk

Mental health employment is expected to grow 18% in the next decade. Explore different roles and find your path to making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts strong growth in mental health-related employment up through 2032. This includes positions such as:

  • Counselors 
  • Licensed Professional Therapists 
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Licensed Social Workers
  • Psychologist 
  • Psychiatrists

These positions frequently conduct services in schools, outpatient clinics, inpatient clinics, doctor offices, and hospitals. 

The average rate of growth is at 3%, yet most of the mental health-related employment opportunities are set to grow at least 6% faster than that. 

For a more detailed breakdown:

  • Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors: 18% growth rate
  • Marriage and Family Therapists: 15% growth rate
  • Community health workers: 14% growth rate
  • Clinical psychologists: 11% growth rate
  • Psychiatric technician and aides: 9% growth rate
  • Social and human service assistants: 9% growth rate
  • Social Workers: 7% growth rate
  • Psychiatrists: 7% growth rate
  • Educational, guidance, and career counselors and life coaches: 5% growth rate

BLS predicts 42,000 new job openings from now until 2032, especially for the treatment of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, stress, and other problems. 

How to Become a Therapist 

Mental health therapists are in high demand and will continue to be for the coming years. It’s a good career path for people who want to make a positive difference while maintaining a high quality of life and stability. It’s also a good choice for people who want to work remotely, as online mental health companies like TalkSpace, BetterHelp, Lifebulb, and Grow Therapy become more popular.

A therapist possesses high levels of skills and education. Most positions require at least a master’s degree and hours of fieldwork before a license is given. Here we’ll break down the career path and differences of mental health professions. 

Licensed Professional Therapist

What is it? 

A Licensed Professional Therapist (LPC) is a mental health professional who specializes in providing therapy to individuals, couples, or families. These therapists are trained to assess and diagnose mental health conditions, develop treatment plans, and provide counseling and support to help their clients improve their emotional well-being. They may utilize various therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), depending on the client’s needs. 

Where do they work?

Licensed Professional Therapists can work with individuals, couples, and families. They treat a wide range of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and trauma. They can work in outpatient or inpatient centers, hospitals, and community centers.

Education Requirements

They hold a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field and are required to complete around 2000 of supervised fieldwork before taking an exam and being licensed by their state regulatory board.

Salary: $68,000/year

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

What is it? 

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) are mental health professionals who have completed a master’s degree in social work and obtained their clinical license. They focus on helping individuals, families, and groups manage and overcome a variety of mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges. LCSWs provide counseling, therapy, and case management services, often working in collaboration with other healthcare providers. They have a deep understanding of social systems and the impact they have on individuals’ mental health. 

Where do they work? 

LCSWs can treat a wide range of populations, including children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. They may specialize in areas such as trauma, substance abuse, or working with specific populations like veterans or LGBTQ+ individuals. They can work in government positions, community organizations, schools, prison systems, inpatient and outpatient counseling offices, hospitals, and more.  

Education Requirements: 

Licensed Clinical Social Workers are required to hold a Master’s in Social Work and have around 2000 hours of supervised field experience before they can take an exam and be licensed by their state’s regulatory board. 

Average Salary: $83,000/year

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

What is it? 

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) specialize in providing therapy for couples and families. These therapists help couples and families navigate relationship challenges, improve communication, and strengthen their emotional connections. LMFTs are trained to address a range of issues, including marital conflicts, parenting difficulties, blended family dynamics, and unresolved trauma. They work collaboratively with their clients to develop healthy coping skills and promote positive relationship patterns. 

Where do they work? 

They typically work in outpatient therapy settings or in private practices. 

Education Requirements:

LMFTs typically hold a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field and are required to be licensed in their state after receiving around 2000 hours of supervised fieldwork. 

Average Salary: $68,000/year


What is it?

Psychologists are mental health professionals who specialize in understanding human behavior and how it relates to mental processes and well-being. They conduct psychological assessments, diagnose mental health disorders, and provide therapy to individuals or groups. Psychologists use evidence-based approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, and behavioral interventions, to help their clients improve their mental health and overall functioning. 

Where do they work? 

They can work with a diverse range of populations, including children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. They can work in schools, inpatient and outpatient settings, private practices, hospitals, and community programs. 

Education Requirements:

Psychologists hold a doctoral degree in psychology and are required to be licensed.

Average Salary: $105,000/year


Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MDs) who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. They have the unique ability to prescribe medication and provide a comprehensive approach to mental health care. Psychiatrists assess their clients’ mental and physical health, make diagnoses, and develop treatment plans that may include medication management, therapy, or a combination of both. They commonly work with individuals who have more severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder. 

Where do they work? 

Psychiatrists work in hospitals, inpatient and outpatient centers, or in their own private practice. 

Education Requirements:

In addition to completing medical school, psychiatrists undergo specialized training in psychiatry and are required to be licensed.

Average Salary: $258,000/year

School Counselors:

School counselors play a crucial role in supporting the mental health and well-being of students within the school setting. They provide guidance and counseling services to students, addressing academic, social, and emotional challenges. School counselors may offer individual or group counseling to help students develop coping skills, manage stress, and navigate personal or family issues. Additionally, they help students with academic planning, career exploration, and college applications. 

Where do they work? 

School counselors work predominantly in schools, with partnerships with outside behavioral and mental health practices and government or community organizations. 

Education Requirements

School counselors typically hold a master’s degree in counseling or a related field and may be required to meet state licensure or certification requirements, such as fieldwork hours.

Average Salary: $59,000/year

Life Coaches and Career Counselors:

Life coaches and career counselors are professionals who provide guidance and support to individuals seeking personal or professional development. Life coaches help individuals identify and achieve their personal goals by offering motivation, accountability, and guidance. They may assist with areas such as improving self-confidence, time management, and decision-making skills. Career counselors, on the other hand, specialize in helping individuals explore career options, make informed decisions, and navigate career transitions. They often provide career assessments, offer guidance on job search strategies, and help individuals develop career plans.

Where do they work?

Life coaches and career counselors work predominantly in outpatient private practices and work with individuals of varying ages.

Education Requirements:

Life coaching and career coaching are unregulated right now, meaning anyone can offer their services as a life coach. However, many will choose to receive a certification from licensing boards, which may include formal training and fieldwork experience.

Average Salary: $43,000/year

Substance Abuse Therapists

Substance Abuse Therapists are mental health professionals who specialize in helping individuals overcome addiction and substance abuse disorders. They provide counseling, therapy, and support to individuals struggling with drug or alcohol dependency. Substance Abuse Therapists help clients identify triggers, develop coping strategies, and create relapse prevention plans. They may use various treatment approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and support group facilitation. 

Where do they work?

These therapists often work in outpatient clinics, residential treatment centers, or private practices. 

Education Requirements

Education requirements can vary, but many Substance Abuse Therapists possess a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field and are required to be licensed or certified in substance abuse counseling.

Average Salary: $55,000/year

Behavioral Therapists:

Behavioral Therapists are professionals who specialize in addressing behavioral issues and promoting positive change. They employ approaches such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to help individuals modify unwanted behaviors, improve social skills, and enhance overall functioning. Behavioral Therapists work with clients of all ages, from children with developmental disorders to adults with anxiety or anger management issues. 

They may work in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, or private practices.

Education Requirements

Education requirements for Behavioral Therapists vary; some hold a master’s degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field, while others may possess specialized certifications in behavioral therapy techniques. Specific education requirements vary based on what type of treatment they are giving. 

Average Salary: $41,000/year

Finding the right mental health career for you 

The mental health field is a great option that offers high-paying jobs, strong job outlook and security, and the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others. If you’re interested in the mental and behavioral health field, a good place to start is getting your bachelors in psychology or a related field. From there, talk with other professionals to find the right path forward for you. 


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