If you are a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, VA needs you!
As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) recruitment plan to hire additional mental health care professionals, a new training initiative has been funded to attract Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors (LPMHC). LPMHCs are an important aspect of the mental health treatment team and VA plans to continue to increase hiring in this profession.
“By building a pipeline of highly-trained Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors, VA will ensure that these important mental health clinicians are available to treat the Veterans we serve today and those we will serve in the future,” said Dr. Robert L. Jesse, Director, VA Office of Academic Affiliations. “Through the ongoing expansion of mental health education and training programs, VA will be better positioned to attract the most qualified and skilled professionals to treat our Veterans.”
To support hiring efforts, VA has announced new clinical training opportunities for LPMHC students for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year. Eighteen pre-degree internship positions were awarded to seven VA medical centers to provide clinical experiences within VA’s interprofessional mental health teams.
“Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors contribute substantially to VA’s ability to deliver high-quality patient care for Veterans.”
VA anticipates an expansion of these positions in coming years to assist with future workforce needs.
Through its network of academic affiliations and VA-sponsored programs, VA provides clinical education and training programs for approximately 120,000 health care professionals each year.
Recognizing that VA’s health professions training programs are a key resource for recruitment of healthcare professionals with high-level Veteran-centric skills, VA invests $100 million annually to pay stipends for these developing clinicians in key mental health professions including LPMHC, nursing, psychiatry, psychology, and social work.
Sixty percent of VA psychiatrists, 70 percent of psychologists, and 35 percent of social workers have previously participated in VA’s own training programs. We are optimistic that LPMHCs training in VA will be interested in returning to VA for future employment.
“VA is a leader in defining the education of future health care professionals to meet the changing needs of U.S. health care delivery,” said Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors contribute substantially to VA’s ability to deliver high-quality patient care for Veterans. Now we are developing a group of highly skilled trainees to ensure future growth in this important mental health profession.”
Interested mental health care providers can find additional information about VA careers and apply for jobs online at www.vacareers.va.gov.
About the Author: Kenneth R. Jones, Ph.D. is the Director, Associated Health Education for the Office of Academic Affiliations