Typically working for clinics and learning institutions, a behavioral health specialist is in charge of counseling and treating patients with behavioral issues. Their responsibilities revolve around conducting initial assessment through interview and observation, maintaining records and data, developing treatment plans, and referring patients to other support services when necessary. Moreover, a behavioral health specialist must communicate with the patient's families or guardians, discuss conditions, and provide advice on taking care of them. Aside from treating patients, it is also essential to continuously monitor their behavior while building positive relationships with them.

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Behavioral Health Specialist Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real behavioral health specialist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Provide individualize intervention for problematic behaviors using TCI techniques such as de-escalation, to prevent and/or manage crisis.
  • Complete training in CPR, self-defense, and mental health.
  • Monitor meals for residents suffering from eating disorders and provide compassion and encouragement when an individual are struggling with eating.
  • Work with kids who have special needs.
  • Ensure departments are in compliance with MSHA and OSHA regulations.
  • Provide daily and weekly detail reports on client and BHP interaction.
  • Help assist mentally disable kids at their homes with everyday tasks.
  • Redirect negative or harmful behavior and encourage patients to utilize DBT skills.
  • Collect daily data on client behavior and interventions for use of the BSC
  • Provide behavioral support to adults with autism spectrum disorders in their home communities.
  • Work closely with clinical staff to ensure compliance of HIPAA and privacy regulations.
  • Ensure proper documentation of patient status at all times to comply with HIPAA.
  • Train as a BSC to design and direct the behavior modification intervention plan.
  • Train in prevention and management of aggressive behavior, CPR, and first aid.
  • Act as a shift captain to provide direction to MHW's regarding management of the milieu.

Behavioral Health Specialist Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a behavioral health specialist does, you may be wondering, "should I become a behavioral health specialist?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, behavioral health specialists have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 11% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of behavioral health specialist opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 81,200.

On average, the behavioral health specialist annual salary is $44,808 per year, which translates to $21.54 an hour. Generally speaking, behavioral health specialists earn anywhere from $29,000 to $66,000 a year, which means that the top-earning behavioral health specialists make $45,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a behavioral health specialist. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a licensed social worker, community health counselor, mental health worker, and mental health counselor.

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Behavioral Health Specialist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 16% of Behavioral Health Specialists are proficient in Patients, Social Work, and Substance Abuse. They’re also known for soft skills such as Emotional skills, Interpersonal skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Behavioral Health Specialists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Patients, 16%

    Conducted intake interviews, gathered clinical information, provided recommendations of services and appropriate therapeutic interventions for patients.

  • Social Work, 16%

    Acted in role of liaison with Behavioral Health personnel in psychiatry, psychology, social work, and substance abuse clinics.

  • Substance Abuse, 8%

    Provided individual and group recovery-oriented Mental Health services to adults and children with mental illness and/or substance abuse.

  • Rehabilitation, 6%

    Assist in managing and directing members in South Carolina licensed rehabilitation and behavioral health services center for special needs adults.

  • Patient Care, 6%

    Collaborate with faculty and resident physicians regarding patient care and treatment.

  • Mental Illness, 5%

    Case management by Administering information on different medications that apply to their individual mental illness.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Behavioral Health Specialist Resume templates

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Behavioral Health Specialist Resume
Behavioral Health Specialist Resume
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Behavioral Health Specialist Resume

Most behavioral health specialists list "patients," "social work," and "substance abuse" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important behavioral health specialist responsibilities here:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a behavioral health specialist to have happens to be emotional skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "social workers often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that behavioral health specialists can use emotional skills to "worked in a residential facility with adolescent females and adult females in crisis situations dealing with behavioral and emotional problems. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling behavioral health specialist duties is interpersonal skills. According to a behavioral health specialist resume, "social workers need to be able to work with different groups of people." Here's an example of how behavioral health specialists are able to utilize interpersonal skills: "required to maintain good rapport with patients and resolve conflicts while exercising strong interpersonal communications both written and verbal. "
  • Behavioral health specialists are also known for problem-solving skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a behavioral health specialist resume: "social workers need to develop practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "determine members' behavioral health needs and potential solutions through case conferences, in-person assessments, interventions and follow-ups. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "communication skills" is important to completing behavioral health specialist responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way behavioral health specialists use this skill: "clients talk to social workers about challenges in their lives" Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical behavioral health specialist tasks: "administered complex communications projects for the entire california behavioral health provider network. "
  • Yet another important skill that a behavioral health specialist must demonstrate is "organizational skills." Social workers must help and manage multiple clients, often assisting with their paperwork or documenting their treatment. This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a behavioral health specialist who stated: "resume building, organizational skills, and role playing interview scenario's) face-to-face crisis intervention"
  • See the full list of behavioral health specialist skills.

    Before becoming a behavioral health specialist, 58.3% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 22.9% behavioral health specialists went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most behavioral health specialists have a college degree. But about one out of every eight behavioral health specialists didn't attend college at all.

    Those behavioral health specialists who do attend college, typically earn either a psychology degree or a social work degree. Less commonly earned degrees for behavioral health specialists include a criminal justice degree or a counseling psychology degree.

    When you're ready to become a behavioral health specialist, you might wonder which companies hire behavioral health specialists. According to our research through behavioral health specialist resumes, behavioral health specialists are mostly hired by Highmark, OhioGuidestone, and Discovery Behavioral Health. Now is a good time to apply as Highmark has 67 behavioral health specialists job openings, and there are 28 at OhioGuidestone and 20 at Discovery Behavioral Health.

    If you're interested in companies where behavioral health specialists make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Maxim Healthcare Group, GPAC, and New York University. We found that at Maxim Healthcare Group, the average behavioral health specialist salary is $75,572. Whereas at GPAC, behavioral health specialists earn roughly $65,048. And at New York University, they make an average salary of $64,273.

    View more details on behavioral health specialist salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Apalachee Center, Sheppard Pratt, and McLean Hospital. These three companies have hired a significant number of behavioral health specialists from these institutions.

    The industries that behavioral health specialists fulfill the most roles in are the health care and non profits industries. But the highest behavioral health specialist annual salary is in the insurance industry, averaging $53,632. In the government industry they make $51,375 and average about $45,068 in the professional industry. In conclusion, behavioral health specialists who work in the insurance industry earn a 25.3% higher salary than behavioral health specialists in the health care industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious behavioral health specialists are:

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    What Licensed Social Workers Do

    Licensed Social Workers are duly and legally recognized to carry out activities related to social work. They identify individuals or groups of people in need and assess what kind of help they require. They may assist these people in connecting to agencies that would cater to their needs. Licensed Social Workers also help people cope with their challenges. They are responsible for crafting treatment plans or well-being improvement plans for the individuals they help. They may also be called on during times of crisis to provide emotional support to the individuals involved.

    We looked at the average behavioral health specialist annual salary and compared it with the average of a licensed social worker. Generally speaking, licensed social workers receive $12,197 higher pay than behavioral health specialists per year.

    Even though behavioral health specialists and licensed social workers have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require patients, social work, and substance abuse in the day-to-day roles.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A behavioral health specialist responsibility is more likely to require skills like "vital signs," "behavioral health," "cpr," and "direct care." Whereas a licensed social worker requires skills like "msw," "lsw," "state regulations," and "emotional factors." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    Licensed social workers really shine in the health care industry with an average salary of $56,730. Whereas behavioral health specialists tend to make the most money in the insurance industry with an average salary of $53,632.

    On average, licensed social workers reach higher levels of education than behavioral health specialists. Licensed social workers are 15.3% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.8% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Community Health Counselor?

    A community health counselor typically provides health and welfare support to the disadvantaged members of a community. Their responsibilities revolve around devising strategies to reach out to community members, coordinating with schools and other institutions, and building positive relationships with the communities that they serve. They may also provide counseling sessions to individuals of all ages, conduct observations and assessments, perform interventions, and identify any signs of abuse or neglect, reporting to the authorities right away. Furthermore, they may refer families or individuals to other social services unit if necessary.

    Now we're going to look at the community health counselor profession. On average, community health counselors earn a $1,504 lower salary than behavioral health specialists a year.

    While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both behavioral health specialists and community health counselors are known to have skills such as "patients," "social work," and "rehabilitation. "

    While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that behavioral health specialist responsibilities requires skills like "substance abuse," "patient care," "direct care," and "support services." But a community health counselor might use skills, such as, "direct patient care," "therapeutic milieu," "mental health disorders," and "behavior modification."

    Community health counselors may earn a lower salary than behavioral health specialists, but community health counselors earn the most pay in the health care industry with an average salary of $41,674. On the other side of things, behavioral health specialists receive higher paychecks in the insurance industry where they earn an average of $53,632.

    On the topic of education, community health counselors earn similar levels of education than behavioral health specialists. In general, they're 0.1% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.8% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Mental Health Worker Compares

    A mental health worker is a professional who provides basic care and therapy to patients who are inflicted with mental disabilities or developmental disabilities. Mental health workers assist patients with their daily activities, monitor their conditions, and administer therapeutic care. They may be directly supervised by a registered nurse and can work in facilities such as psychiatric hospitals and residential mental health facilities. They may also help develop treatment plans and strategies with other staff members to best meet patient needs.

    The mental health worker profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of behavioral health specialists. The difference in salaries is mental health workers making $3,727 lower than behavioral health specialists.

    While looking through the resumes of several behavioral health specialists and mental health workers we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "patients," "social work," and "substance abuse," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from behavioral health specialists resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "patient care," "behavioral health," "direct care," and "behavioral interventions." But a mental health worker might have skills like "direct supervision," "patient safety," "direct patient care," and "therapeutic environment."

    Additionally, mental health workers earn a higher salary in the professional industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $39,268. Additionally, behavioral health specialists earn an average salary of $53,632 in the insurance industry.

    Mental health workers are known to earn lower educational levels when compared to behavioral health specialists. Additionally, they're 11.0% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.9% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Mental Health Counselor

    A mental health counselor is responsible for helping patients deal with their emotional and mental disorders by developing treatment plans and conducting regular counseling to track the patient's progress and condition. Mental health counselors encourage active communication from their patients, provide coping strategies for triggering situations, seek advice from other health care professionals, and guide patients on doing other activities that would help them relax. A mental health counselor must have excellent knowledge of the mental health disciplines to assist patients in their healthy lifestyle development.

    Mental health counselors tend to earn a higher pay than behavioral health specialists by about $4,663 per year.

    While their salaries may vary, behavioral health specialists and mental health counselors both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "patients," "social work," and "rehabilitation. "

    Each job requires different skills like "substance abuse," "mental illness," "behavioral health," and "behavioral interventions," which might show up on a behavioral health specialist resume. Whereas mental health counselor might include skills like "substance abuse issues," "therapeutic environment," "intake assessments," and "persistent mental illness."

    Mental health counselors earn a higher salary in the health care industry with an average of $52,181. Whereas, behavioral health specialists earn the highest salary in the insurance industry.

    In general, mental health counselors reach higher levels of education when compared to behavioral health specialists resumes. Mental health counselors are 7.7% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.