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Counsellor and Therapist Careers

Educational Requirements and Career options in the Mental Health Field

Professional CounsellorProfessional Counsellor, (sometimes referred to as a generalist or mental health worker), works for community agencies, or in private practice. Depending on the position, the support counsellor possesses either a Diploma in Professional Counselling (1 or 2 year college training program) or a Bachelor’s degree (4 years of University education).

Psychotherapist has completed a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 1 to 2 years of specialized training, or a Masters Degree in theory and techniques related to the practice of psychotherapy. Two years of supervised experience in the use of advanced assessment skills, psychotherapeutic techniques is also required.  Some provinces have additional licensing requirements.  Check with your home province for regulations that may apply. Employment is available in outpatient clinics, private practice, and community agencies.

Social Worker is required to have either a Bachelor’s Degree (3-5 years of University) or Master’s Degree in Social Work (5-6 years of University), and is licensed by the provincial government.  Social workers are typically employed in government agencies, hospitals or private positions requiring community and individual support interventions, and research.

Clinical Psychologist, licensed by each provincial government, the educational vary from a Masters degree (5-6 years of university plus internship), to Doctorate (Ph.D.) degree. (8-10 years of University education, plus internship). Because of the extensive education required, employment options stretch across the field of mental health. In addition to the careers mentioned above, psychologists testify in court, perform psychological testing, custody evaluations, work in psychiatric hospitals, business settings, are involved in research, as school psychologists, community psychologists, and in private practice.

Psychiatrist is a medical doctor, and requires a degree in medicine (8-10 years of University, plus internship & residency). Psychiatrists treat patients suffering from various forms of mental illness in hospitals, outpatient clinics and private practice settings. Working independently or as part of a treatment team, psychiatrists prescribe medications, conduct psychotherapy, and supervise/consult with other professionals.


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