How to Become a Qualified Mental Health Professional

Becoming a qualified mental health professional can be a lot of work. However, completing the requirements can lead to a rewarding life and career of helping others. If you’ve ever wondered how to become a qualified mental health professional, then this blog is for you.

Qualified mental health professionals come in a variety of forms, including physicians and social workers. You can become a mental health professional by earning a qualifying degree from an accredited college or university and becoming licensed. To maintain your license, you will need continuing education to stay on top of an ever-evolving field.

What is a Qualified Mental Health Professional?

A qualified mental health professional (QMHP) is anyone in the healthcare field with training and experience in providing mental health services to those with a psychiatric diagnosis. 

This includes professions such as:

  • Physicians
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Counselors

Physicians are doctors of medicine or osteopathy. Psychiatrists are doctors of medicine or osteopathy who have chosen to specialize in psychiatry. Psychologists earn a doctoral degree in psychology. They earn either a PhD or PsyD and require approximately 4 years of doctoral work, clinical rotations or practicums, a dissertation, and one full year of supervised clinical work called an internship prior to earning their degree. 

Social workers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree, but more frequently a master’s degree in human services or a related field. This includes:

  • Social work
  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Counseling
  • Human services counseling
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Vocational rehabilitation

Other degrees equivalent to those above may also be considered acceptable. You must earn a degree from an accredited undergraduate or master’s degree program. You must also have at least one year of clinical experience directly servicing those with mental illnesses. Counselors and therapists must obtain at least a master’s degree but can go on to get a doctorate.

Education in the mental health field never stops. Click here to learn about social work continuing education online qualifications!

How to Become a Qualified Mental Health Professional

As you can see, there are a variety of ways that you can become a qualified mental health professional. Unfortunately, all of these options may cause you to feel overwhelmed. Plotting a course through psychology, and especially counseling psychology, can be a difficult task. Fortunately, those interested in improving the lives of others can make the journey worth it.

The key is finding and navigating your path through all the degrees and programs to help you achieve your goal. The requirements for becoming a qualified mental health professional can vary from state to state. However, the basic path works like this:

  • Earn a qualifying degree from an accredited college or university
  • Get post-degree
  • Apply for your license exam
  • Once you’ve passed your exam, apply for your initial licensure
  • Receive your license

The biggest hurdle to becoming a qualified mental health professional is that each state has its own specific licensing standards. What’s more, these standards can be difficult to find and understand once you’ve found them. Fortunately, there are a couple of factors that you should prioritize above others when first beginning your journey and choosing a school to attend.

The school and program you choose must:

  1. Be accredited
  2. Meet your state’s standards

Accreditation is one of the most important factors for choosing a school no matter your degree. Colleges and universities are accredited by accreditation bodies recognized by the United States government. Next, you need to make sure it meets your state’s standards based on degree and coursework requirements to become a licensed mental health professional.

Continuing Education for Mental Health Professionals

Education for mental health professionals doesn’t end with getting licensed. The field is always evolving which makes continuing education for mental health professionals extremely important. It helps you stay on top of the latest developments and best practices, which is why most states require that you perform a set amount of continuing education hours to maintain your license.

Continuing education comes in a variety of forms including:

  • Distance learning programs
  • Research
  • University courses
  • Seminars
  • Community service
  • Workshops

With so many options from psychological and educational organizations, it’s easy to find mental health continuing education that works for you. You can also opt for courses in specialized fields. For example, you can learn more about substance abuse or other problems clients may face. This lets you provide mental healthcare to your patients in a personalized way.

At Find Empathy, we provide mental health continuing education focusing on health psychology. Our medically-informed courses teach you the latest research and methods for treating patients with serious medical conditions. Patients living with chronic illnesses and disabilities face unique mental health challenges. We equip you with the tools to help them live full and fulfilling lives.

Find Empathy offers one of the easiest ways to stay up to date on your continuing education available. To get started, all you need to do is listen to our podcast. Once you’ve completed that, create an account with us to complete the remaining continuing education requirements. You will then complete a post-test assessment and course evaluation to receive full credit. 

To start listening to the Find Empathy podcast, click here!

We offer a wide range of mental health continuing education courses to suit you and your patients’ needs. This includes topics such as:

  • Teleneuropsychology
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Inpatient and outpatient technology

Our courses are engaging and easy to follow. Coping with chronic illness and mental health can be stressful for patients. Our goal is to equip our partners with the tools, knowledge, and skills they need to serve and support their health patients.

Are you ready to get started with your mental health continuing education? Click here to create your account today!

There are many ways to become a mental health professional, including becoming a social worker or physician. Becoming a mental health professional starts with earning a qualifying degree from an accredited university or college and getting licensed. You’ll need continuing education in mental health to keep your license, which you can earn with Find Empathy.

Find Empathy’s purpose is to empower mental health professionals to better serve patients living with challenging chronic illnesses and medical diagnoses. Through our easy and accessible continuing education courses and credits, mental health providers are able to become medically informed on health psychology topics to help improve patient care and clinical outcomes.

Meghan Beier, PhD

Meghan Beier, PhD

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