The qualifications for becoming a mental health professional vary by specialty. All mental health professionals need a license or certification to practice. The minimum requirement for most counseling professions is a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. You may need a master’s degree in social work or psychology to work in many states, and you can choose to pursue a doctorate if you want to work in a clinical setting as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Mental health nurse practitioners first become registered nurses before learning the skills and gaining the necessary education for psychiatric care, including either a master’s degree or doctorate. You may operate as a mental health technician, assisting other mental health professionals, after earning an associate degree and professional certification.
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