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Sep 14, 2018

Help Wanted: HRSA Presents a Virtual Job Fair for Professional Counselors

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is hosting a virtual job fair for behavioral health professionals on Oct. 17.

The virtual job fair, an online event, enables mental health professionals located throughout the nation to interact with representatives from more than 100 health-care organizations with open positions nationwide. The staffing needs include licensed professional counselors and other behavioral health clinicians.

The potential employers are community mental health centers (CMHCs) federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), private practices, community outpatient facilities, correctional facilities, American Indian health facilities, state or local health departments, rural health clinics (certified) (RHCs), critical access hospitals (CAHs), school-based clinics, substance use disorder facilities and more.

To prepare for the virtual job fair, participants should create a searchable profile that can be accessed by potential employers before and after the event. A link for profile creation, as well as information for job searchers and potential employers, is available here.

The HRSA virtual job fair for behavioral health professionals takes place from 6:45 to 10:15 p.m., Eastern time, on Oct. 17. To participate, register online here.  

Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs)

While you’re contemplating your next career move as a professional counselor, it may be helpful to know that the Health Resources and Services Administration maintains workforce statistics for areas designated as health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) in the United States.

The HPSA designation from the Federal Bureau of Health Professions, Shortage Designation Branch, indicates an acute shortage of primary care, mental health care or dental care providers. There are three types of shortage designations:

  • Geographic areas with a shortage of providers for an entire population within an area.
  • Population groups, such as migrant workers.
  • Facilities, such as prisons, state mental hospitals or American Indian health facilities.

The HPSA designation is recognized by federal programs that provide incentives to increase health-care services in areas in need. These incentives can include mental health clinical “traineeships,” National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs and other types of health-care training.

Mental Health HPSAs

More than 126 million people live in, or are affected by, recognized mental health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) in the United States. There are 5,119 designated mental health care health professional shortage areas nationwide. These include 1,182 geographic designations, 403 population designations and 3,534 facility designations.

In all, 126,262,128 people live in these combined areas/designations, in which only 32 percent of the need for mental health care is being met. A total of 5,985 mental health practitioners are needed to eliminate this shortage, according to a June 30, 2018, HRSA report.

HPSAs are different from medically underserved areas (MUAs) and medically underserved populations (MUPs). MUAs and MUPs only designate geographic areas or populations, and only focus on the lack of access to primary-care services in those areas or populations.

HPSAs: A Deeper Dive

Designated HPSA Quarterly Summary, Third Quarter, Fiscal Year 2018: HPSA-designation statistics focusing on primary care, mental health care and dental care can be found here.

The HPSA Find search engine: Search for HPSAs by state, county and other factors here.

The benefits of a HPSA designation are listed here.

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