Exploring a career in the mental health industry allows you to understand people and help them with their problems. The industry also offers a bright outlook on career opportunities and annual income. You can even opt to pursue mental health jobs without a degree from a collegiate institution.
High-paying mental health jobs without a degree don’t require workers to have a traditional college education. Other forms of training and certifications will suffice in practicing in the industry and earning a good salary. This article will share all you need to know about finding a mental health job with a GED diploma or high school diploma.
What Is Mental Health?
Mental health involves an individual’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. A career in the mental health industry entails providing healthcare and assistance to people with mental health issues and developmental difficulties. The industry deals with various life challenges that range from emotional and behavioral issues to developmental ones.
Some of the careers in this industry require an advanced level of education and training, while some do not. Starting a career in mental health offers promising pay and career development opportunities.
What Do Mental Health Jobs Pay?
The median pay for mental health counselors is $47,660 per year or $22.91 per hour, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS also projects that jobs in the mental health field will increase by 23 percent from 2020 to 2030. This means that there is a huge demand for professionals in this field.
Most people in this career field work full-time in mental health clinics, community health centers, government agencies, or prisons. Mental health professionals can also opt to do private practice. With the growing demand for workers in a wide variety of mental health fields, a career in the industry offers both high salary potential and opportunities for growth.
What Skills Do You Need to Land a Mental Health Job?
Excellent Communication Skills
Mental health careers require workers to have excellent listening and speaking skills. This is because mental health workers have delicate jobs where their actions impact their patients greatly. Having the ability to be communicative, caring, understanding, and tact while dealing with patients are an incredibly important part of the job.
Ability to Make Decisions Under Pressure
Mental health professionals are subjected to situations that require critical thinking, tact, and patience. Patients may have crises that the mental health worker needs to attend to immediately and de-escalate. In doing this, the ability to make decisions under pressure is valuable to effectively perform their duties.
Mental health practictioners deal with people on a daily basis, so social perceptiveness is key to understanding people and their problems. This helps in determining issues that patients might not yet understand, so mental health professionals are facilitators to help patients get in touch with how they feel and how to solve their problems.
What Education Do You Need to Get a Mental Health Job?
Different jobs require different educational experiences. Some mental health jobs require advanced degrees, while some only require a GED at the minimum. Most jobs that involve research and mental health counseling require at least a college degree.
Aside from educational experience, most mental health jobs also require training experience to ensure that you have the skills and attitude to handle cases involving mental health issues and developmental problems.
Why College Is Not for Everyone
College is not for everyone because it is expensive. According to Investopedia, the average student loan debt in the US was $38,792 in 2020, while the total student loan debt has risen to about $1.58 trillion. This makes earning a college or advanced degree inaccessible for a lot of people. Thus, getting a job without a degree is a more viable option.
Although pursuing higher education and getting a school diploma is ideal, there are other ways to enrich your personal identity and get great career opportunities. These alternative methods can include accomplishing an apprenticeship, getting certifications, or pursuing other types of additional education like training programs and seminars.
How to Get a Mental Health Job with a GED
Step 1: Consider Your Skills and Your Dream Job
It is important to align your current skills with the skills that your dream job requires. You may find that your dream job requires skills that you do not have, and you can take this as an opportunity to gain those skills and upskill further.
Step 2: Gain Relevant Job Experience
Internships or personal projects can count as previous experience in the mental health field, provided that they equip you with skills to accomplish the responsibilities of the job that you are aiming for. You can apply for internship positions that last for a few months or start personal projects that demonstrate your skills in a certain area.
Step 3: Curate Your Resume
Making sure that you effectively communicate your achievements and skills in your resume to show what you can bring to the table is highly important in applying for a job. You can add your GED certificate and relevant job experience to your resume to boost your application.
Step 4: Research Potential Companies
When applying for your dream job as a mental health practitioner, it is also important to know what kind of companies you’d like to work for. Considerations such as your alignment to their company values, average salary, and further career opportunities are among the things you should think about when applying for your dream job.
Step 5: Prepare for Interviews
Preparing for interviews is a crucial step to getting hired for a job. You can do this by researching common interview questions, preparing your answers to them, and rehearsing an interview with a friend.
High-Paying Mental Health Jobs Without a College Degree
|Peer Support Specialist||$49,922||17%*|
|Community Health Worker||$48,140||17%*|
|Substance Abuse Counselor||$47,660||23%|
|Medical Records and Health Information Specialists||$45,240||9%|
|Social Services Assistant||$35,960||17%|
|Home Health Aide||$27,080||33%**|
*This statistic is grouped under Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics
**This statistic is grouped under Home Health and Personal Care Aides by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Best Mental Health Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree: A Closer Look
Peer Support Specialist
Peer support specialists help people achieve their goals and aid them in their recovery journey from lifestyle problems. They monitor the progress of patients and actively assist in making sure that they follow through with their recovery plans.
The growth outlook for this industry is at 17 percent, which means that the industry is growing much faster than others. The industry is likely to offer vacant positions to job seekers due to the retirement or career shifting of workers.
Community Health Worker
Community health workers primarily develop programs that educate people about well-being, including organizing various activities that promote health and wellness. They usually work for hospitals, community centers, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.
The industry’s growth outlook is at 17 percent, with about 21,100 job openings projected from 2020 to 2030. This outlook is considered much faster than the overall average across industries, meaning there is a lot of room for job growth and career opportunities in this field.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counselors play a big role in assisting patients in their substance abuse recovery plan. They administer treatment plans and advise people who have alcoholism, drug addiction, or other substance abuse problems. This role may require additional job training since it handles a variety of mental health concerns.
These professionals work at health centers, prisons, or private practices. The industry is projected to grow by 23 percent from 2020 to 2030, with at least 75,100 job openings.
Medical Records and Health Information Specialists
Medical records and health information specialists work on the administrative side of the mental health industry. They organize and manage the data of patients in their organizations. They work in various settings from non-profit organizations to government agencies and hospitals.
The role of these professionals requires a high school diploma and training to accomplish the tasks expected of them. Professionals in this career choice also earn $45,240 per year for their job scope.
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Social Services Assistant
The role of social services assistants encompasses a broad set of job duties. They mainly provide direct care to people with mental health problems, disabilities, or chronic illnesses. Social service assistants work in a variety of settings like non-profit organizations and government agencies.
This role requires soft skills such as the ability to communicate well and listen to their patients. This position requires a high school diploma or an equivalent certification. The industry is projected to grow by 17 percent from 2020 to 2030, which means it is growing much faster than average industries.
Mental health practitioners such as psychiatric aides fulfill responsibilities that relate to providing care to people who have mental illnesses or disabilities. Psychiatric aides work at psychiatric hospitals, mental health facilities, and clinics.
This role requires a high school diploma and additional training or education depending on the mental health program that they are working on. Psychiatric aides also usually have on-the-job training before they can work without direct supervision.
Caregivers provide care to patients who have mental illnesses, behavioral issues, or developmental problems. They work in community health facilities, clinics, or personal residences.
This role requires a high school diploma and additional training. This helps them to be equipped with the necessary skills, such as but not limited to, interpersonal skills and first aid to do the job.
Home Health Aide
Home health aides assist and monitor the conditions of patients with disabilities or chronic illnesses. They give daily support to these patients in a variety of settings, such as but not limited to, clients’ homes, health centers, and clinics.
The industry’s growth outlook is at 33 percent, which is considered as much faster than other industries. This means that there are a lot of career opportunities in this area where aspiring mental health professionals can find a job.
Companies That Offer Entry-Level Mental Health Jobs
- US Department of Veterans Affairs: The US Department of Veteran Affairs provides life-long healthcare benefits to veterans. They have 170 medical centers and outpatient clinics located around the country.
- Advanced Correctional Healthcare: Advanced Correctional Healthcare is a privately owned county jail healthcare provider in the United States. The healthcare provider offers health and mental health programs for county jails, juvenile detention centers, mental health units, work release centers, and drug rehabilitation centers.
- Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation: The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is an organization focused on addiction treatment.
- Lifeline Connections: Lifeline Connections focuses on providing recovery programs for addiction and mental health problems.
Where to Find Mental Health Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree
Indeed displays job openings for mental health-related careers. It is also a great tool to check average salaries per location and job benefits. In addition, Indeed also lets job seekers view reviews of companies to apply for to check if their culture and values match those of yours.
Mental Health Work
The Mental Health Work website is a job board that focuses on mental health career opportunities. Individuals seeking to start a career in mental health will have a chance to view and apply for companies that hire mental health professionals.
Glassdoor remains to be one of the popular job boards for mental health jobs. On this website, you can also check out various jobs in the mental health industry and the median salaries per location. You can also check reviews of companies listed on the website.
Consider a Mental Health Degree Later in Your Career
Some mental health-related jobs require advanced education and training. Counselors and therapists are among those who need advanced education and proper training. Other opportunities such as research also require a mental health-related degree.
Pursuing a mental health-related degree helps open up more career opportunities for you and helps yous specialize. Consider taking one if you see yourself enjoying this career path in your life.
Mental Health Jobs Without a Degree FAQ
You can find out what mental health career is right for you by considering your strengths and career goals. Mental health has a lot of sub-fields that may interest you. This includes jobs from counseling to researching. Different jobs in mental health require specific educational attainment and training, so we recommend considering your skillset and certifications.
Yes, counseling is a good career because it offers a good work-life balance, the opportunity to progress in your career, and can be relatively low stress. Counselors also receive high salaries depending on their state.
Yes, psychology has a future. Psychology is related to various fields like clinical psychology, industrial psychology, and organizational behavior. These mental health fields offer several high-paying positions that have great career opportunities. Pursuing a career in psychology is definitely something to check out because of its benefits.
No, psychology is not useless. The different sub-fields in psychology offer diverse skillsets to professionals who practice psychology-related jobs. Psychology can be applied in numerous fields like clinical psychology, business psychology, and health psychology. Due to its diverse nature, the mental health field offers a lot of career opportunities and progression.
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