Professional Focus

Career outlook

Demand for graduates of the MA in Mental Health Counseling program is good throughout Indiana. According to the United State Department of Labor CareerOnestop, approximately 860 mental health counselor positions will open each year in Indiana between 2020 and 2030. This growth will create a 21% increase in the total number of mental health counselors in Indiana. All 10 counties in Eco Network (EcO) service area identified as mental health professional shortage areas (MHPSA) by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The Community Education Coalition also identified a strong need for the program in IUPUC’s service region.

21%job growth through 2030

860openings in Indiana each year

100%of 2022 graduates employed

IUPUC made me a marketable and clinically effective counselor

Nathan Walsh, Class of 2015, Columbus, IN

What comes next

As a program graduate, you will be prepared to work in a variety of settings, like behavioral healthcare centers, private or group practices, integrated primary care clinics, psychiatric hospitals, social service agencies, managed care operations, correctional facilities, group homes, religious organizations, state and county agencies, health maintenance organizations, and public and private school systems.

After graduating from our program, you will have completed the first step toward becoming a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) with the State of Indiana’s Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board. To complete the licensure process you will need to apply for an associate’s license (LMHCA), earn passing scores on the National Counselor Exam (NCE), complete 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised counseling with a licensed professional, and pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) in addition to other board requirements. More detailed information on licensure policies and process can be obtained from the licensing board, which is the final authority on licensing matters.

Our alumni report growth in earnings as they progress through the licensure process. Surveys of alumni conducted in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 found that recent graduates without a license earned between $30,000—$35,000 annually. Those holding a license (either LMHCA or LMHC) earned on average $40,000—$45,000 within their first two to three years after graduation. Fully licensed alumni have reported earning $50,000—$55,000 within three years of graduation. Overall, salaries of our alumni are consistent with the $46,230 annual median salary of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors reported by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development in May 2021. Our alumni also report obtaining positions offering a wide range of valuable benefits including clinical supervision for licensure, health care insurance, retirement plans, malpractice insurance, and continuing education among others. One’s earnings as a counselor will depend on many factors such as the practice setting, nature of services provided, number of billable hours accrued, and level of supervisory responsibility. Each graduate’s career course will be unique.

You can find career and professional development information on the Indiana Counseling Association (ICA) website. ICA is the largest organization in the state representing those who work in the field of mental health. For national career information on counseling—in addition to the latest in education and research trends—explore the American Counseling Association (ACA) site.