Topic 2: Jobs in Counseling – The Search and Application Process {by 6/9}

Based on the readings and assignment due this week consider the following discussion points:  *(1) Discuss your thoughts and feelings about your recent job search experience.  For example, did you learn anything?  Do you feel more (or less) optimistic about obtaining a job upon graduation?  (2) What are some potential anxieties and/or concerns you have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation?  (3) Although your potential employer may want to know certain qualities about you, what organizational qualities are important to you?

 

Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 6/9.  Post your two replies no later than 6/11.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

 

*Yes, the first discussion point is very similar to your second reflection question for your assignment.  Thus, you can use the answer for your assignment (or a part of it) for the blog. The rationale is that this will give a chance for your peers to read a few responses and potentially provide some helpful insight with their replies. This will also help with “priming” for in class participation.

41 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alexa Berry
    Jun 06, 2022 @ 12:44:22

    Kind of in line with our discussion from last week, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that compensation for a lot of masters level positions is pretty fair compared to what it has been in the past few years. I was surprised at the amount of listings that had large sign on bonuses and great benefits (tuition remission, 13 paid holidays, mental health days), but I suppose that has something to do with the great resignation. I think I was already optimistic about finding a job before this search, so this assignment has further confirmed my disposition that things will work out for me! Something I learned from this search that I found interesting is more “private” companies are opening up positions for masters level clinicians, which apparently was not all that common before. Many other people in the field have always expressed the sentiment that there aren’t really other options from starting in community-based healthcare after graduation, but times are changing it appears.

    Again, similar to my thoughts last week, I am concerned about the overall state of mental health within the community. Mental health professionals who are already in the field have shared things such as their wait-lists are a year long, or their wait-lists are comprised of 80% suicidal adolescents. Right now I’m not all that comfortable with populations that are actively self-harming/ suicidal as I had no experience with this during my internship. I definitely would not want to get into a situation where that was my entire caseload right off the bat. My clinical interests are more along the lines of anxiety and behavioral disorders- so I worry that these values won’t align with the needs of an agency and this will come out during an interview and alter their opinion on whether or not they want to hire me.

    Relatedly, I think finding an employer who has organizational qualities that are in line with my values with alleviate any of this issue. For me, I really want to find an employer who does not shove productivity down your throat and values a work-life balance. I would like to have the ability to say whether or not I can take on more clients rather than have them added to my caseload because I’m not meeting productivity because of cancellations/ no shows. An organizational quality that is a non-compromise for me is strong leadership. I want to be able to depend on my supervisor and leadership team, especially in scenarios where I may be navigating situations I am not familiar in, like I said above.

    Reply

    • Laura Wheeler
      Jun 06, 2022 @ 14:09:44

      Hi Alexa,

      I definitely agree with you about salary, I was pleasantly surprised (and relieved, ha) that pay before we get licensed seems better than I expected! I had also noticed that many postings say “license eligible” or “license preferred” instead of required, including private practice, which is exciting. I have also heard a great deal about excessive wait lists but hadn’t heard about the high cases of self harm/SI. Although I feel confident in our education, I also don’t have experience in working with those clients yet so I share your sentiment about not wanting to get a full caseload right off the bat. Hopefully as more new graduates enter the field things will be dispersed a bit more!

      Reply

    • Yen Pham
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 10:22:17

      Hi Alexa,

      I am just as optimistic as you after taking the time to look for a job. I feel happy because there are many professions that match my qualifications and the salary and bonus are quite high compared to my estimation. I remembered that during my internship, a colleague of mine was always complaining about her meager salary, $17 an hour, it was so limited that she could rent a small apartment and pay the bills for her living. Therefore, the job search experience is very helpful to me as it gives me a more holistic view of what I can apply for to get a job that I like and fit my capacity. I have no idea how to look and apply for a job until I did this assignment. I believe that all the sources I found not only would be helpful for myself but for my friends who need this information because I would like to share this information with them.

      Reply

    • Alison Kahn
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 19:19:36

      Hi, Alexa!

      I also noticed so many practices in my search that were private or had a more “start up” feel to them with a few practitioners coming together to open a new agency and take on newly licensed folks. Similar to you, I was not really excepting to see that, and it gave me some hope knowing that it is becoming more popular. I also really like the idea of working in a small agency that emphasizes evidence-based practice, which it seems like a lot of them are/do.

      Reply

  2. Connor Belland
    Jun 06, 2022 @ 13:46:44

    1. The recent job search was definitely interesting, I thought I had some idea of the type of jobs out there for us but now I have a much better understanding of the wide variety of roles I could work in. Whether its impatient, outpatient, working with Substance abuse, kids, or adults, I found options in my search for all of these different types of settings. Although I think I want to do outpatient for adolescents, I want to keep all options open, at least before I get licensed. I also discovered many more mental health organizations around where I live that I had never heard of before. I am optimistic that there are so many jobs out there in this field and that we should have no problem getting a job after this program. I think the harder part will be finding the right job that pays enough, has good management/supervision, I actually enjoy, etc.
    2. For interviewing for a job in this field, I think what would make me most anxious is if they asked about a concept I am not familiar with. Like some form of therapy like DBT where maybe I am not as familiar with using. Also not being familiar with a certain population that is seen at certain organizations. I am willing to learn and open to everything but going in initially I might not know how to work with every population and there could even be disagreement between different companies on the best way to treatment plan and proceed with counseling.
    3. The main thing I am looking for in a organization is that they care and look out for the mental health of their employees. Mental health agencies obviously care about the well-being of their clients/patients, but it is also extremely important that they care about the well-being of their employees. They should value their employees by giving them a say in certain decisions and be flexible with scheduling and not have huge caseloads. Other than that, I don’t want a place with an extreme amount of paperwork but I understand I will have to do some. Of course, I will also need a place that provides the necessary supervision.

    Reply

    • Laura Wheeler
      Jun 06, 2022 @ 14:19:48

      Hi Connor,

      I agree with you, there are so many more mental health agencies than I was aware of. I actually interviewed at a place that was less than a mile from my house that I had never noticed before. Since then, I have tried to be more aware when I’m out driving around because I know some places don’t post their openings on the big job search websites so this way I can go directly to agency websites to look. I also agree about not having as much experience with other treatment approaches- not necessarily to meet the needs of a prospective employer, but just to have the experience and knowledge, if that makes sense. Since I stayed at my internship site as an employee and they offer pretty generous training reimbursement, I have been looking for some kind of DBT training. If I find a good one, I’ll let you know!

      Reply

    • Maya Lopez
      Jun 07, 2022 @ 10:43:46

      Hey Connor,

      You certainly make a good point about employers asking us detailed questions about treatment modalities we may not be familiar with or extensive questions about medications. I think it is likely we all may need a refresher on certain less common disorders or specific treatments and it may be best to just be honest about that, I know even Doerfler needs to re-read a chapter sometimes and there should be no shame in explaining we would need to seek supervision, studying or help to prepare for a client with a rare disorder. I agree with you about wanting to learn more with DBT though, I had not known there was a course on it until it was too late. It seems like great knowledge to have under our belts. I ordered the DBT book and workbook actually from the class to try to teach it to myself but a training would be a lot more helpful.

      Reply

    • Alison Kahn
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 19:14:42

      Hi, Connor!

      I also talked a lot about self-care and well-being as things that are really important to me in an organization. Having experienced it myself and heard stories from our peers, it seems like a lot of agencies will talk about self-care and work-life balance, but sometimes make it impossible for us to actually manage our workloads and unplug from work.

      Reply

    • Anne Marie Lemieux
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 19:48:22

      Hi Connor, Burn out in this field is very common and the fact that you are aware of the importance of working for an agency that takes care and looks out for the mental health of their employees is insightful. I experienced burn-out in the fall due to lack of staffing,continuous additional responsibilities, and a lack of cohesiveness within leadership. It was terrible and in retrospect I wondered if I couldn’t have done more to advocate for myself regarding boundaries and needs. I think especially as a new employee there is an unwritten understanding that you just need to tolerate whatever you are presented which is not true. Employers generally want to maintain their employees as it benefits them in the long run, therefore I would advise you that if you feel that your mental health is ever not being valued that you advocate for yourself.

      Reply

  3. Laura Wheeler
    Jun 06, 2022 @ 13:59:15

    First and foremost, I feel very optimistic about finding a job after graduation. I have found that being only semi-active on job search websites, I get several contacts from agencies that are looking to hire and want to set up interviews nearly every day. I think that we are all in a great position right now as there is such a need for counselors in the field. Prior to deciding to stick with my internship site for this semester, I applied and interviewed at several places, and learned a lot. For one, I discovered very quickly that the agencies with the more appealing salary have very poor vacation/sick/personal/holiday benefits. For me, having adequate time off with my family is very, very important, so this is now something I look for right away when applying. I also learned pretty quickly that agencies that involve substance use or residential programs seem to have more unusual schedules (outside the realm of 9-5) and that again, is something I am uninterested in.

    When it comes to interviews, I do not have any anxiety. I have been in the work force for a while and am very at peace with the idea that I will not be the right fit for every job, every job won’t be the right fit for me, and both of those things are totally okay. I am confident in my abilities and know that I am capable of interviewing successfully.

    When looking into potential employers, I am interested in a handful of qualities. First and foremost, I want to know what the work environment and culture is like. It is important to get an idea about whether people are happy, feel supported, have adequate resources, what the work space is like, etc. (For example, my current office is too small for the number of staff so we have to reserve shared office space when seeing clients and its a nightmare.) I also value having a knowledgable and supportive supervisor who is available on a regular basis. Aside from that, I know that it is necessary for me to work somewhere that allows for work/life balance and is understanding of family commitments.

    Reply

    • Maya Lopez
      Jun 07, 2022 @ 10:50:32

      Hey Laura,

      I think now that we have been job searching for awhile it is easy to point out the red flags in jobs or in the interview stage. Like you said, locations that ask for evening or weekend shifts are alarming in that they may want us to work past an agreed upon “9-5” and we may not get compensated for this overtime. I also think it is a balancing act between getting the right placement with good management and supervision, OR getting a good salary, OR getting great benefits. It is frustrating it seems we have to pick and choose what we value most. That is awesome you do not feel anxious about interviewing! and I agree, I think in-person interviews are important so you can see the actual space and the expressions on the other employees faces whether they re pulling their hair out or not. Getting a good glimpse at the culture and dynamic is very important. are you looking for any remote work or just in-person options?

      Reply

    • Connor Belland
      Jun 07, 2022 @ 11:45:43

      Hey Laura,
      It is nice to see all of the jobs out there that are available for us out on the job search websites, and I am sure there are probably more jobs out there not listed on indeed. I admire your confidence in yourself going into interviews and hope that I can be at that point in my life at some point where I have experiences that can prepare me for any situations I may face in this field.

      Reply

    • Anne Marie Lemieux
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 19:37:32

      Hi Laura, I have found that finding having a supervisor that is also a parent has been invaluable. The commitment to family is a top priority. I use to joke that DCF valued children and families just not mine. I am confident that you find the position that you are looking for in an agency that meets your needs and they will be lucky to have you.

      Reply

  4. Maya Lopez
    Jun 07, 2022 @ 10:34:26

    I feel more organized now that I have completed the job search, it was a good way to view all the options and different variables clearly. I also felt reassured after our last class about being able to find jobs before we take the oral exam. I do not think it is going to be that hard to find a job right now because it seems this field is in urgent need.
    The only concern I have about interviewing for a job will be my memory. I have a feeling many places will ask us to recall specific times we used a certain successful intervention as that is what I have heard some questions are like. I have a terrible memory especially when under stress so I am a bit anxious I will be able to get my point across to them. However, I will have had plenty of time to practice interviewing and pinpoint some good examples to tell them so hopefully I won’t do too bad. I also am a little nervous about negotiating a good salary especially since we are coming right out of grad school it feels like we have no leverage however a competitive salary is important to me.
    I think some good qualities I would like to see in an organization are ones that value work-life balance, honor employees boundaries, offering supervision and have relevant resources to help with case management stuff or offer educational opportunities. I am hoping for a location in which employees feel respected, happy, not burnt out. I also really hope the location I work at is organized and has a standardized procedure they can expect from me because the last place I was at it seemed like every supervisor told me to do a different procedure and it was very confusing.

    Reply

    • Connor Belland
      Jun 07, 2022 @ 11:54:55

      Hey Maya,
      It was helpful to do this to feel more organized. I feel like I was putting off looking at jobs in the field because it is still so long before we get our degrees, so doing this search was much needed for beginning my job exploration. I feel the same with the memory in interviews, I usually have a good memory but there are so many acronyms un this field I get some concepts/diagnoses mixed up sometimes.

      Reply

    • Yen Pham
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 10:06:39

      Hi Maya,

      Like you, I expect fairness and respect from an organization where employees have a voice in their concerns and interests. However, I also pay attention to the benefits that this center will bring to me to ensure the balance between work and spiritual life, and the allowances, and assistance that an organization should have to support.

      Reply

    • Tayler Weathers
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 14:26:43

      Hi Maya!

      I agree that honoring boundaries is crucial for a workplace. I think encouraging employees to have good boundaries (unlike Carly’s coworker and the groupon!) is a big part of this too. I also want to work at a place where employees feel respected, happy and not burnt out, not only because I want to be those things, but also because that’s crucial to creating an employee network/connections/support system. With mental health, it is so important to be supported not only by supervisors but also by coworkers/peers, so that we can consult with them and ask questions!

      Reply

    • Abby Robinson
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 16:44:44

      Hi Maya,

      I didn’t think about clear expectations as a quality in the organization I would work at! I think that is really important! I think this would help us schedule, stay organized as well has help maintain boundaries that are important b/w work and life! As this would be my top priority- working in a field that burn out can come up so quickly; having clear work expectations might help manage this!
      See you in class
      Abby

      Reply

  5. Yen Pham
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 10:40:38

    (1) Discuss your thoughts and feelings about your recent job search experience. For example, did you learn anything? Do you feel more (or less) optimistic about obtaining a job upon graduation?

    I have learned that employers are very clear about the requirements, salary, and benefits that an employee is entitled to (e.g.., 2 weeks of paid vacation, 12 paid sick days per year, 11 paid holidays, and 5,000 sign-on bonuses, training, and supervision…). I have also learned that the insurance benefits of employment employers are relatively similar. They often state insurance benefits about health, life, vision, and dental. However, there is a difference between the time and schedule of each employer. For example, emergency department mental health counselors, sometimes would not have a weekend or holiday (e.g.., 9-5 no weekend or holiday). Similarly, as a member of Juvenile Justice Residential Clinicians, they work from Sunday-Thursday from 11 am to 7 pm.

    Moreover, I have learned the advantages of increased wages and more incentives in large companies, high salaries, and having a doctorate or licensed practice. Therefore, after I have done a job search experience, I feel more optimistic because there are so many careers that match my graduate degree. Besides, knowing two languages, English and Vietnamese is also an advantage. For example, if I apply for a job at Worcester Public Schools as a school adjustment counselor, I will enjoy an advantage because in the admissions section they mention the ability to speak Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Albanian, Nepali, or an African language.

    (2) What are some potential anxieties and/or concerns you have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation?

    I had a few concerns when I go to interview for a job in this field. Firstly, although I have lived and studied in the US for eight years, my English limitations are still there. Therefore, I am afraid that I do not understand or express enough meaning in the technical terms. I feel apprehensive about asking the interviewer to repeat the question or explain it further to me. Besides, I am not familiar with or experienced with some other forms of therapy such as DBT, so if I am asked about this form of therapy, I don’t think I will get good results.

    (3) Although your potential employer may want to know certain qualities about you, what organizational qualities are important to you?
    The main issue that I will focus on when applying to an employer is to see what benefits this agency will bring to me. Specifically, the physical and mental care of employees. Physically, I will be concerned about insurance, about the days off that the center guarantees me. A balance between work and self-care is essential, so ideally the center will give employees two to three weeks off and still get paid. Mentally, I want to work in a center where employees are cared for and respected when they have the right to voice their opinions. Also, if the employer is able to have a connection between the employee and the employee’s parents, for example, the employee can take time off work when the parent is sick or have family work and still get paid.

    Reply

    • Tayler Weathers
      Jun 08, 2022 @ 14:26:17

      Hi Sr. Yen!

      I like your emphasis on benefits – that is one thing I struggle to truly evaluate. I know that good insurance is a plus, but how do we know if insurance is good? To see that there is a fairly consistent offering amongst different companies is encouraging, because at least then I won’t be picking something worse! But your point about scheduling is also important. It makes sense to me that there are different schedule offerings, especially for contexts like emergency departments, and that can be a big deal breaker! I know even for individual therapists/private practice, it can be tricky because you have to be able to schedule clients for when they are able to meet. A 9-5 schedule sounds great, but not all clients are able to take over an hour (including travel time) out of their workday once a week to come see us, so we may have to work late or into the weekends. I don’t know how you feel about that, but I don’t know that it’s my favorite!

      Reply

  6. Alison Kahn
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 19:09:20

    (1) Discuss your thoughts and feelings about your recent job search experience.  For example, did you learn anything?  Do you feel more (or less) optimistic about obtaining a job upon graduation? 

    After conducting the job search for our assignment, I felt exhausted. I noticed that a good amount of the jobs I found were either those that didn’t require anything higher than a bachelor’s degree but were referred to as “mental health counselor” positions (i.e., direct care staff), or those that required licensure and sometimes even a PhD or PsyD. Most of the positions that did fall into the category of master’s level or master’s level working towards licensure paid very poorly and seemed very taxing. I did learn that there are a lot of opportunities out there in terms of employment with an LMHC, and that obtaining licensure typically comes with a decent pay bump, which made me feel hopeful. Another observation I made was that substance abuse/disorder counseling dominated the mental health counseling job search results on most of the job search engines. I am fortunate that I have a job opportunity set up for me when I obtain my master’s that will also allow me to accrue hours for my licensee, so in that way, I am generally optimistic about obtaining a job after graduation. That said, when I do decide to make the venture out of the residential world and pursue new opportunities, I am a little daunted and disappointed at how challenging it might be to find a position that combines healthy work life balance and a good salary.

    (2) What are some potential anxieties and/or concerns you have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation? 

    Generally speaking, I get incredibly nervous interviewing for anything, but especially jobs in this field. I have anxieties about the questions being too broad or having to come up with an answer on the spot when asked about an “example of a time that” or how I would manage a certain situation or case. I also worry that different agencies might be looking for very different things. Finally, I feel like I need to improve my ability to be assertive and confident in interviews, particularly as it relates to asking about salary, benefits, and whether the agency truly prioritizes self-care and work-life balance.

    (3) Although your potential employer may want to know certain qualities about you, what organizational qualities are important to you?

    As I mentioned a bit in the previous question, decent compensation and emphasis on work-life balance are two extremely important components for me when it comes to organizational qualities. I also value supportive and frequent supervision, productive and constructive feedback from a supervisor regarding my work performance, opportunities for continued growth like seminars and symposiums, and ideally, the ability to work without too much micro-management. I would like to work for an agency that values me as an employee and provides me with the tools I need to be an effective provider.

    Reply

    • Anna Lindgren
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 13:13:04

      Hi Alison!

      I was also surprised by the wide range of salaries and degree requirements that fell under the title of mental health counselor. There’s certainly a lot out there, and I think this job search post-graduation may take some digging to find the right fit!

      I’m totally with you, I don’t like the “tell me about a time when” questions in interviews. Suddenly I feel so on the spot and I can’t remember ever doing anything! And work-life balance and competitive salary are also at the top of my list when looking for a job.

      See you in class!
      Anna

      Reply

  7. Anne Marie Lemieux
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 19:30:43

    While job searching I realized how lucky I am to have the position I do. I make decent money and have a school schedule. However, I am not new to the field and I have paid my due. That being said I feel like I have golden handcuffs to my current position, as the pay rate for job offerings are not comparable to what I am currently making at least until I am fully licensed. It is somewhat disappointing that my nephew, who is 21 years old, is starting an accounting job making $70K annually with a sign-on bonus with an undergraduate degree. It feels as if the whole country is shouting the importance of mental health but not willing to back up financially. My plan is to stay at my current position as I can get my supervision hours for free but eventually have a private practice. In addition, I may look into working per diem for Youth Mobile Crisis Center as I found the work to be interesting and important during my practicum.

    The only concerns I have about interviewing in the mental health field are making sure that an organization’s culture matches my values and needs. I have not interviewed in a long time and I am at a higher pay rate than those just starting out in the field. Therefore, I would need to present evidence of my ability to perform at a higher level, which I don’t necessarily believe is true.

    The organization that I work for would need to value their employees by having strong leadership, clear policies and procedures in place, have supervision, and comradery amongst employees. In addition, opportunities for professional development and promoting self care are equally important.

    Reply

  8. Beth Martin
    Jun 08, 2022 @ 22:35:20

    1) I found the job search to be equally enlightening and frustrating. I find it extremely annoying that numerous positions do not state how much they’ll be paying (and have had to use estimates from job-finding websites), and it seems like that’s going to be a conversation I have to have a lot during interviews. It was also frustrating to see the only specifically-named trauma position to be so low-paying. I worked at that agency and I know a person in that position now; they don’t have a master’s degree or license, so I understand lower compensation, but it did seem bizarre to me that trauma counseling and similar buzz-terms weren’t returning trauma-specific roles. I’m not sure if I wasn’t using the correct terms (highly likely, to be perfectly honest), if these jobs go really quickly, or if there isn’t much of a demand for them right now. I was lucky enough to undergo training for TF-CBT and I really want to find a role that allows me to graduate people out of it to get nationally certified once I am licensed, and I was hoping trauma-specific roles would make it easy to use that treatment modality. However, I found most pay-ranges very encouraging (when I could actually find them). Obviously, the post-licensing salaries are much more pleasant on the eyes (and student-debt-minded brain) that the post-degree positions, but I wasn’t honestly expecting to see much over $48,000. I knew substance abuse positions typically pay more, but it was really reassuring to see that others pay just as much, if not more.
    Overall, I feel about as optimistic about finding a job after graduation as I did when I went into this search: middling. I’ve never been very concerned about finding a job in the field (apart from on high anxiety days, but those don’t really count). My pessimism stems from that very pressing concern of finding the right position – or even just one vaguely resembling it. There’s lots of jobs out there for us, and our program is highly thought of, it’s just about finding one that fits okay enough for us to get through the next couple of years.

    2) Anxieties for interviews mainly stem around the fact that I don’t know what I don’t know about questions I need to be asking. Having to dig for information on whether supervision is available, or even salaries, made me wonder about how many questions I’m going to have to ask, and worry that I may miss some during that interview stage and get stuck somewhere for a while. Not the end of the world, and it’s hard to screen for practices that lead to burn out etc. in interviews, and I’d ideally like to meet potential supervisors during the interview process, but I’ve no idea if that’s realistic for most positions.

    3) Organizational qualities that I’d value are genuine employee retention, I think. It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought to, outside of aligning with my own values/ethical guidelines that seem like a given. Understanding that burn-out is real, that time off and training is needed, and being open to discussion with employees about what’s sustainable before any burn-out or unbalanced caseloads etc. set in. I don’t really care about company away days (not that I’ve seen many in this field) or outings or dinners, or 20% a phone bill (that was a new one during the job search), I care about if you’re paying me enough, if you’re dedicated to not overloading your staff, and if you’re going to help me grow through continuing education and hiring from within.

    Reply

    • Abby Robinson
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 16:48:46

      Hi Beth,

      I totally related to your worries on “what questions should I be asking in an interview”! I think that for me, I’m worried that if I don’t ask all the questions that I want to or forget some, I will be shell shocked if I take a position and find out information after starting work that made me unsure!
      Hopefully, in this class, we can discuss which questions that give us the information we need before making a decision on a job.
      See you in class!
      Abby

      Reply

    • Brianna Walls
      Jun 10, 2022 @ 12:56:15

      Hi Beth, I agree it was frustrating to see that so many job postings did not include the salary and how we will have to be asking that question so often when we apply to those jobs. But I do feel optimistic that we will find the right job that suits us as there were many jobs to choose from.

      Reply

    • Cailee Norton
      Jun 11, 2022 @ 15:36:07

      Beth,

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve really found the direction you want to take your career in, that only is something that I haven’t yet found specifically, so it makes me happy to see others have it. I’m wondering if some of the more trauma specific jobs are harder to come by because of the demand, and if you might not be better off in searching for local or specific agencies that focus on trauma and seeking jobs out that way rather than on job search engines. I would think they would have little time (or even need) to use such sites, and perhaps going directly to the chicken herself (or the organization if you would prefer) would be better off to get the egg (also job if you’d like haha). This middle ground feels much nicer than before we had done this exercise, so I’m glad it sounds like it was good for you to do as well!

      Best,
      Cailee

      Reply

  9. Abby Robinson
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 10:12:57

    (1) My job search gave me neutral feelings about obtaining a job post-graduation. I think that I am still very unsure about what place or site would be the perfect match for obtaining all my hours for licensure. I am worried that I will feel too overwhelmed starting out with a large caseload. I also need to weigh the pros and cons of getting all my hours right away in the years post grad, or would having a smaller caseload and working part time and take three to four years to get licensure be better for my lifestyle. I also feel like I have added many skills after working in the administration roll, which I would not be sad about staying in for a while. However, I am concerned if I wait too long to get all my hours for licensure I would have wasted all my time/energy in graduate school in getting this degree.
    (2) Some anxiety I have about interviewing for clinical roles post grad would be that they are looking for a special type of skill set that I don’t have or did not learn during school and internship. For example, a certain type of treatment modality. I also am nervous that I would have some clients in a population I have little to no experience in, I am worried if it’s not a fit for me what would that look like for my caseload?
    (3) Organizational qualities that are important to me would be that they respect my Homelife and work life boundaries. I also think it is important for organizations to be aware of any clinician burnout and be able to provide support when I need it. For example, if I am really struggling with a client- I would like to receive support from supervisor staff or help advocate for me if needed. Lastly, I think it is important for organizations to provide opportunities for trainings or have resources to use for CEU credits, etc. in order for the clinicians to stay up to date with those.

    Reply

    • Beth Martin
      Jun 10, 2022 @ 12:34:29

      Hi Abby!

      Having a good long think about the speed we want to get our licenses in is something that isn’t spoken about enough! There’s definitely an assumption that we’ll all want to work full time to get it done within two years, but we don’t have to rush if we don’t want to! Taking time to figure out what will work best for you and your life is worthwhile, and I feel you on wanting a smaller caseload with part time work sometimes!

      It was great to see that a lot of positions did mention paying for CEUs and further training, because that’s really important moving forward, but I was also very aware of how many didn’t mention them at all! I think that’ll be another question to add to our interview banks!

      Thanks for posting!
      Beth

      Reply

    • Cailee Norton
      Jun 11, 2022 @ 15:11:48

      Abby,

      I totally hear you on your concerns! I think that with the pandemic, these organizations and sites have had to drastically examine how they are supporting their clinicians. They are seeing that the support is necessary for clinicians to stay put rather than seeking out other opportunities, and my hope is is that they will continue that focus on the support especially as we enter the working force and are still developing our skills. I think what you said about knowing enough about treatment modalities available is something I also struggle with, I do think that our sites will be aware of our limited range as we are so fresh out of school, and I think that with the coworkers I had at my site they were all more than happy to share their research and treatments to make the team better as a whole. I think this is common within our field and hopefully that eases some of your concerns!

      Best,
      Cailee

      Reply

  10. Cailee Norton
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 10:59:17

    This experience has been pleasantly surprising. While I was not fully shocked by how many of the jobs that I was looking at required licensure, I was surprised at how many were open to eligible candidates for licensure. This assignment wasn’t as painful as I thought it was going to be, and it was interesting to see how the salary could range for so many similar positions. I think in all this helped me to narrow my focus of what types of positions I’m interested in, especially moving forward after graduation. I’m more interested in clinical practice, not so much in research or administrative roles. I feel like I’m probably a bit more optimistic about obtaining a job upon graduation, but the bummer is that I’m realizing I really do have to wait until I’m fairly close to graduation to get one of these positions. The positions that fell under the Masters requirement that fit my interests and specifics were fairly few and far between.
    I think my potential anxieties stem from the transition this will be for me. This is us starting our career path, and for me this is something I’ve worked for several years towards starting with getting my Associates. To not be in school is a strange feeling, and I know that that means I’m in my field finally. It’s both exciting and a bit nerve racking, but I think that this experience has calmed me a bit in what that process looks like. I think my biggest concerns besides that are about the site that I’m going to land in and whether they will be supportive of a good work life balance. The field is in such demand, so the potential for that balance to have some pushback from my site leaves me feeling ick. I would like to think that most places in our field would be understanding of that, but from the job search I saw a lot of demands with sometimes very little supportive language of the clinicians or even the benefits for that position lacking. I know one site offered a salary of $25 to $28 dollars an hour, with little to no benefits. And I’m not sure if I’m being too demanding in my salary, but this feels like not enough, especially with the potential of overworking due to the organizations expectations or relationship with their clinicians.
    I will say that I was also a bit suspicious of how many sign-on bonuses I saw, which isn’t inherently a probably, but seeing a six grand sign-on bonus makes me slightly uneasy about the potential of that site being overworking their clinicians (especially the unlicensed, newly masters completed ones such as myself). I know that there is a huge need for clinicians, so to see such large sign on bonuses was really odd, and I think I’d need to learn more about why that might be to fully consider a position with a site offering that. More specifically I would have liked to seen more discussed about supervision in my search, especially in those sites that mention individuals with masters completed and license eligible. There were also more jobs posted that had such little information in terms of salary and benefits. I think that supervision, salary, and benefit transparency are a hard boundary for me to know from a site at least after the first interview. I’ve heard several of our newly graduated classmates complaining of not hearing about those things until the third interview, which is ludicrous to me.

    Reply

    • Anna Lindgren
      Jun 09, 2022 @ 13:05:42

      Hi Cailee!

      I also felt relieved after finally sitting down to do this job search, there really is so much out there! And you’re so right, the range of salary, experience requirements, and responsibilities is all over the place. But I’m confident that with enough time and looking at everything that’s out there, we’ll find a placement that is the right fit. I also noticed the sheer number of signing bonuses, and I have mixed feelings about them! It does signify to me that they are really hurting for staff, and given the current climate it’s hard to know if that is simply because of the high demand for services or if there is just something about the employer that leads to people leaving quickly. Either way, I would say the tide is on our side right now to negotiate a thriving wage and healthy work/life boundaries.

      See you in class!
      Anna

      Reply

    • Beth Martin
      Jun 10, 2022 @ 12:38:25

      Hi Cailee!

      I was also a bit surprised about how little there seemed to be that I was genuinely interested in (e.g., working with my population of choice) – I’m wondering if those positions just go like hotcakes because so many people are interested in that area too! I was also a little unnerved by the sign-on bonuses, especially the ones that were paid over the space of 12 months; did they put those in place because people kept quitting and they needed an incentive to keep them? It’s certainly gave me pause about the positions when I saw them! That being said, I know my internship site offered them and I loved working there, so it may just the a sign of the state of the field vs. specific companies!

      Thanks for posting
      Beth

      Reply

  11. Anna Lindgren
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 12:58:55

    1) I definitely feel like I learned more about the landscape of the mental health jobs available currently, and I was pleasantly surprised with how well paid some of the Master’s level clinician jobs are. Until this assignment I haven’t really done an extensive job search yet. I was worried about finding enough jobs that are hiring unlicensed Master’s level clinicians, but in doing this job search I found plenty, and even some that are accepting Bachelor’s or Associate level counselors that I am already qualified for. I would say I am feeling more optimistic about finding a job after graduation because there were many that I found that I think I would be qualified immediately after graduating and seem like they would be a good fit for me.
    2) The main concern I have is figuring out when I should start applying for jobs. I’ll be done with all of the academic work for the program in the fall, but with my degree being conferred in December, so I’m not sure if I should start applying right away after passing the oral exam or wait until I have my degree. I know we’re supposed to get some sort of letter explaining the timeline but I’m worried that many employers will not hire me until my degree is conferred so I’ll just be waiting to enter the workforce for a couple months. My current plan is to slowly start applying places after passing my oral exam, explain the situation, and hope for the best!
    3) Organizational qualities that are important to me are having a good work/life balance, a supportive supervisor, and an organization that values its staff and pays a thriving wage. Phrases from employers that are red flags to me are things like “we’re not in this field for the money,” “we work hard but play harder,” or, maybe surprisingly, “we’re like a family here.” What these supposedly positive sayings really portray to me are poor pay, toxic workplace cultures, and poor boundaries where supervisors are comfortable asking for employees to go above and beyond their pay grade or work on their time off. I say this having worked for companies like this in the past, and I’m not interested in doing it again! I’m also looking for growth opportunities, access to affordable CEUs and trainings, and a collaborative team environment.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Baker
      Jun 13, 2022 @ 02:06:41

      Hello Anna~

      I was also pleasantly surprised with the number of positions open for Bachelor’s degree, I had even found one I am 100% willing to do part-time if I can fit it into my schedule. I have also been mildly concerned with obtaining a job during the months we wait to physically obtain our degree, as 1) like you I am unsure how willing most companies will be to accept our situation (but at the same time I feel they will be very willing due to the high need for therapists, it would be silly to have us wait until there’s a physical document that says we have graduated when they could easily obtain our transcripts) and 2) the hours not going towards my license if and when I start working (although the experience of dipping our toes back into the field would be a nice slow start). I would definitely encourage you to start interviewing now, so you have a good list of companies you want to work for, it will give you a head start once you pass your orals! You are very knowledgeable and will be an excellent addition to any company that has the pleasure of working with you, I wish you the best of luck 😊

      Reply

  12. Brianna Walls
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 13:55:08

    1) One thing that concerns me and that I noticed while completing this job search was that a lot of the qualifications ask for 2 years or more of experience in the mental health field and I only have my practicum/internship for experience. Another thing I noticed was a lot of the job postings do not include salary which is problematic and a concern for me especially due to the cost of living today. It is frustrating because to find out the salary you would have to apply and/or contact the agency which can take up a lot of time and if the salary is not what you are looking for you may have just wasted a good amount of your time. I also noticed a lot of the ‘decent’ paying jobs are closer to Boston rather than the Worcester area, so this is also concerning because I do not want to have a long commute to work. On the positive side though, there are a lot of job offerings out there at this time so I do not believe I will have a difficult time finding a job. I also noticed a good amount offers supervision and does not require the employer to have their license, just license eligibility. Overall, after this job search, I feel OK about acquiring a job that I will enjoy after graduation.
    2) To be honest I have never been to a ‘real’ interview before. The only ‘interview’ I have had was for my practicum/internship and they didn’t ask me any questions, they just informed me about the program and what I would be doing there. So yes, I am extremely nervous about interviewing for a job upon graduation, but I would be nervous about any interview not just in the mental health field.
    3) Some organizational qualities that are important to me are having a reliable and trustworthy supervisor, a healthy work environment, and finally decent pay and benefits. It’s important for me to have a dependable supervisor for many reasons but the far most important is due to the fact I am just starting my career in the mental health field, and I am sure I will have numerous questions and things I am unsure about. I want to make sure I am comfortable speaking to my supervisor and going to them when I have any problems. As for having a healthy environment, I want to make sure I am comfortable where I work, or else I will be miserable every day, which is not good for your mental and physical health. Finally, having decent pay and benefits is important because of how expensive everything is in today’s world and I need good health insurance because I am a type 1 diabetic.

    Reply

  13. Nicole Giannetto
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 16:29:12

    (1) Discuss your thoughts and feelings about your recent job search experience. For example, did you learn anything? Do you feel more (or less) optimistic about obtaining a job upon graduation?

    I do feel optimistic that I will be able to obtain a job after graduation, because the demand for mental health clinicians has gone up, especially during the pandemic. I feel that this trend suggests that more people may be struggling related to the pandemic, but it also shows that more people are seeking mental health services which indicates a shift in public perception of mental health services. In that sense, I do feel optimistic about my future jobs in the career, because I feel that the field will continue to improve and increase the effectiveness of interventions and treatments.

    (2) What are some potential anxieties and/or concerns you have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation?

    One area I am concerned about, as others may also be, is related to salaries and caseload size. Although outpatient is an area I am not too familiar with, it is an area that I am interested in working in. However, I have head that caseload size in outpatient can be high for many clinicians. My biggest fear is burnout, so I want to be very mindful of what kind of workload I will be able to manage, especially when just starting out.

    (3) Although your potential employer may want to know certain qualities about you, what organizational qualities are important to you?

    When working with other coworkers, whether directly or indirectly, I strongly value good teamwork which looks like having highly driven members who support one another and elicit a positive and cooperative presence in work. I am also curious to know whether the job offers any kind of supervision or staff support regarding cases.
    I find that especially in this field, it can be therapeutic and can enhance work productivity to have check-ins with supervisors, or with management.

    Reply

    • Elizabeth Baker
      Jun 13, 2022 @ 01:56:13

      Hello Nicole!

      As you said, although we are entering a field with an overwhelming amount of individuals needing services, this is a great historical moment to see this positive shift in mental health. It will be a lot of work, but it will be heartwarming work as we continue helping others and experiencing increasing access to mental health services. I am sure we (as novice therapists) will be great assets to strengthening the awareness of this field 😊

      Also, as you say, knowing your caseload before considering/accepting a job is so important! We have an important job to be assertive with our questions when it comes to gaining information such as that, as well as supervisions, work-private life boundaries, and SELF-CARE!! The fear of burnout is extremely nerve-wracking when searching for jobs, but I hope you find one that matches your values!

      Reply

  14. Elizabeth Baker
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 17:53:53

    1) I honestly enjoyed this assignment! I have to say, initially, I was a bit intimidated by searching for more than 25 jobs. It does sound silly because I am 100% sure I have searched for more than 25 jobs and for this field specifically, but I had never kept track of it this way. I think this is a great tool to keep track of jobs and to stay motivated to continue searching even when you secure a job, if you want to continue seeking something better. As for my optimism about obtaining a job, I was never worried about that aspect as I knew there are plenty of open positions. This job search only re-confirmed my mindset as I scrolled through a great number of clinical positions, I also found jobs that I could do part-time if my schedule allows it!

    2) A few anxieties I have is the process of interviewing multiple agencies at a time, I do have an idea where I want to work after graduating, but it is good practice to continue interviewing to set my sights on agencies that can continue expanding my occupational and clinical skills. That process and the fear of agencies not being truthful about the “negative” aspects of the agency. I know this is not typical information you receive unless you ask, but I feel I will encounter agencies shining a golden light on themselves (despite having a toxic environment and being extremely disorganized) just to acquire new clinicians. Another concern is again, finding a good supervisor. Lastly, finding an agency that focuses on helping clients of color would be an interesting search, as I found many that are private practices. I hope I come across an agency that focuses on this!

    3) Qualities that I look for in a company are of course a company that values their employees, can professionally handle crises, understands the work-life boundary, and has the ability to compassionately listen if I communicate burnout or a case that feels too intense for a starting clinician. I hope I do not have a supervisor that tells me, “You can do it!” instead of exploring my fears with me. Another important set of qualities is being resourceful, organized, and motivated/encouraging. It can get incredibly overwhelming in this field, and having these qualities, especially encouragement, can be a great factor in decreasing work-related stress levels.

    Reply

    • Brianna Walls
      Jun 10, 2022 @ 12:30:21

      Hi Elizabeth, I agree it is extremely important to work for a company that values and respects its employees, especially in the mental health field where burnout is common. I also agree that having a supervisor who will listen to you and help you explore and conquer your fears is important. It is less stressful when you have a supervisor who is understanding and compassionate.

      Reply

  15. Carly Moris
    Jun 09, 2022 @ 18:17:07

    1.
    One of the things i found encouraging about this assignment was the number of jobs that are currently available. Another things is that during my job search I found listings for an LPC-A. I hadn’t seen this before when looking at CT licensing requirements, because on the state site it just lists the requirements for LPC licenses. These requirements were similar to MA requirements and did not mention LPCA. However apparently in 2019 CT changed to a two tier license in order to work as a counselor. So before getting your LPC you need to apply for the LPCA so you can actually work in the state to get your hours. I didn’t realize this was the case and I didn’t even find it when looking up counselor licensing requirements in CT. I only found out because I saw LPCA as a requirement for job listings and googled what it was. Honestly, it is very frustrating how difficult and complicated it can be to find information about licensing. I am also a bit upset/frustrated that there is another thing to pay for.
    2 one thing i am nervous about for interviewing is that in the past i have had the tendency to talk way to quickly during interviews. I know that i talk quickly when im nervous, and these formal interviews tend to make me nervous. So i am worried about talking to quickly and not making a good impression during the interview. Especially considering how important social skills are for our profession.
    3
    I would want to work for an organization were i could have a good supervisor. I had an amazing supervisor for my internship and i would hope to have someone as good as she was. I would also want to work somewhere that helps me take additional trainings. Either offering a stipend or offering additional trainings themselves.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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