The Mental Health Workforce in California: Trends in Employment, Education, and Diversity


Vincent Lok, Susan A. Chapman

Mar 2009

An influx of new students in the mental health professions will be needed in order to serve a growing number of Californians. Beyond addressing a shortage of mental health providers, a more diverse mental health workforce is desired in order to better reflect the increasing diversity in California’s population. This issue brief utilizes public data sources to present educational data as well as projected workforce needs for selected mental health professions in California. Our primary focus in the mental health workforce is on psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, advanced practitioner nurses in psych/mental health, social workers, psychiatric technicians, and various mental health counselors. We present information on the growth in educational programs, trends in student racial and ethnic diversity, and the future demand and job growth for mental health workers.