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Become A Mental Health Specialist

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Working As A Mental Health Specialist

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $56,310

    Average Salary

What Does A Mental Health Specialist Do

A Mental Health Specialist works with individuals who have mental illnesses or substance abuse problems. They gather information about patients using interviews, case histories, observations, and assessments to provide them with effective courses of treatment.

How To Become A Mental Health Specialist

Although most social workers need a bachelor’s degree in social work, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and 2 years of post-master’s experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is the most common requirement for entry-level positions. However, some employers may hire workers who have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as psychology or sociology.

A BSW prepares students for direct-service positions such as caseworker or mental health assistant. These programs teach students about diverse populations, human behavior, social welfare policy, and ethics in social work. All programs require students to complete supervised fieldwork or an internship.

Some positions require a master’s degree in social work (MSW), which generally takes 2 years to complete. Master’s degree programs in social work prepare students for work in their chosen specialty by developing clinical assessment and management skills. All programs require students to complete a supervised practicum or an internship.

A bachelor’s degree in social work is not required in order to enter a master’s degree program in social work. Although a degree in almost any major is acceptable, courses in psychology, sociology, economics, and political science are recommended. Some programs allow graduates with a bachelor’s degree in social work to earn their master’s degree in 1 year.

In 2015, there were more than 500 bachelor’s degree programs and more than 200 master’s degree programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Some universities offer doctoral programs in social work, where students can earn a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) or a Ph.D. Most doctoral programs in social work require students to have a master’s in social work and experience in the field. Many doctor’s students go on to work as postsecondary teachers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states have licensure or certification requirements for nonclinical social workers. Requirements vary by state.

All states require clinical social workers to be licensed. However, some states provide exemptions for clinical social workers who work in government agencies. Becoming a licensed clinical social worker requires a master’s degree in social work and a minimum of 2 years of supervised clinical experience after graduation. After completing their supervised experience, clinical social workers must pass a clinical exam to be licensed.

Because licensing requirements vary by state, those interested should contact their state board. For more information about regulatory licensure boards by state, contact the Association of Social Work Boards.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Clients talk to social workers about challenges in their lives. To effectively help, social workers must be able to listen to and understand their clients’ needs.

Empathy. Social workers often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations. To develop strong relationships, they must have compassion and empathy for their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different groups of people is essential for social workers. They need strong people skills to foster healthy and productive relationships with their clients and colleagues.

Organizational skills. Social workers must help and manage multiple clients, often assisting with their paperwork or documenting their treatment.

Problem-solving skills. Social workers need to develop practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems.

Time-management skills. Social workers often have many clients and administrative responsibilities. They must effectively manage their time to provide adequate service to all of their clients.

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Mental Health Specialist jobs

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Mental Health Specialist Career Paths

Mental Health Specialist
Mental Health Professional Program Manager Clinical Director
Administrative Director, Behavioral Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Career Coordinator
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Program Director Educator
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Director Educator Case Manager
Clinical Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Therapist Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Therapist Clinician
Clinical Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Clinician Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Director Of Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Social Worker
Director Of Social Work
7 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Registered Nurse Nurse Manager
Emergency Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Clinical Director Career Manager
Geriatric Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Service Director Career Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse Nurse Manager
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Licensed Practical Nurse Residence Director
Housing Director
6 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Social Worker Clinical Director
Outpatient Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Program Director Specialist Case Manager
Senior Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinician Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Family Support Worker Child Protective Investigator Dependency Case Manager
Targeted Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Mental Health Specialist Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    67.6%
  • Male

    29.8%
  • Unknown

    2.6%

Ethnicity

  • White

    81.5%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    9.7%
  • Asian

    6.7%
  • Unknown

    1.5%
  • Black or African American

    0.6%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    65.8%
  • French

    9.6%
  • Portuguese

    3.2%
  • Russian

    2.1%
  • Cantonese

    2.1%
  • Mandarin

    1.6%
  • Vietnamese

    1.6%
  • Italian

    1.6%
  • German

    1.6%
  • Polish

    1.6%
  • Hmong

    1.1%
  • Hindi

    1.1%
  • Greek

    1.1%
  • Tagalog

    1.1%
  • Chinese

    1.1%
  • Japanese

    1.1%
  • Arabic

    1.1%
  • Marshallese

    0.5%
  • Sami

    0.5%
  • Telugu

    0.5%
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Mental Health Specialist

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Mental Health Specialist Education

Mental Health Specialist

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Real Mental Health Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Mental Health Specialist International Rescue Committee, Inc. New York, NY Jan 05, 2016 $55,000 -
$75,000
Mental Health Rehab Specialist Gardner Family Care Corporation San Jose, CA Apr 02, 2010 $53,172
Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist The Education Alliance New York, NY Apr 01, 2014 $50,000
Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist Gardner Family Care Corporation San Jose, CA Nov 30, 2016 $47,472 -
$55,033
Mental Health Specialist Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 10, 2016 $46,509
Mental Health Specialist Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 13, 2016 $46,000
Mental Health Specialist Children's Institute, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 11, 2015 $45,000
Mental Health Specialist Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 08, 2016 $45,000
Mental Health Specialist Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2015 $43,138
Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist Community Connections, Inc. Washington, DC Feb 04, 2011 $42,230
Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist Community Connections, Inc. Washington, DC Sep 05, 2011 $42,230
Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist Community Connections, Inc. Washington, DC May 25, 2011 $42,230
Mental Health Specialist Starlight Adolescent Center, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 15, 2012 $42,182
Mental Health Specialist Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 12, 2015 $41,000
Mental Health Specialist Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 18, 2015 $41,000
Mental Health Assessment Specialist Safehaus, Inc. Warren, MI Oct 01, 2014 $40,000
Mental Health Assessment Specialist Safehaus, Inc. Warren, MI Oct 01, 2011 $40,000
Mental Health Specialist Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, OH Apr 02, 2016 $38,422
Mental Health Specialist Union of Pan Asian Communities, Inc. San Diego, CA Oct 24, 2014 $35,360
Mental Health Wellness and Recovery Specialist Asian Pacific Community Counseling Sacramento, CA Nov 01, 2011 $34,080
Mental Health Specialist Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 22, 2014 $33,309 -
$43,159
Mental Health Specialist Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, OH Aug 16, 2016 $33,225
Mental Health Specialist Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Mason, OH Aug 16, 2016 $33,225
Mental Health Specialist Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, OH Feb 04, 2014 $32,620

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Top Skills for A Mental Health Specialist

MentalHealthServicesIndividualTreatmentPlansBehavioralIssuesDailyLivingSkillsSubstanceAbuseMentalIllnessChildLifeSkillsMentalStatusSocialSkillsCommunityResourcesAngerManagementCrisisInterventionServicesDirectPatientCareVitalSignsCrisisSituationsGroupTherapySessionsServicePlansDirectSupervisionCrisisManagement

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Top Mental Health Specialist Skills

  1. Mental Health Services
  2. Individual Treatment Plans
  3. Behavioral Issues
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed computer tracking program for mental health services, improving quality and accountability of services.
  • Assisted in the development, implementation and revision of individual treatment plans.
  • Support youth (ages 6- 13) with mental health diagnosis & behavioral issues.
  • Assist with daily living skills; such as appropriate hygiene, cooking, independence, etc.
  • Provided effective individual and group case management in the area of addiction and psychological services with substance abuse clients.

Top Mental Health Specialist Employers

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Mental Health Specialist Videos

Mental Health Counselor, Career Video from drkit.org

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