Behavioral Health Certification and Certificate Program Options

Oct 10, 2019

In behavioral health certificate programs, students learn how to counsel clients who are living with mental health or social behavioral disorders. Programs are offered by 2-year community colleges and 4-year universities.

Essential Information

Students enrolled in behavioral health certificate programs explore appropriate and unique counseling methods. They learn how to counsel individuals working through issues of violence and abuse, chemical dependency or similar concerns. They are often required to complete a supervised internship experience or submit to hospice volunteer training. Applicants must have a high school diploma, a GPA of at least 2.0, a strong determination to help people, and should not shy away from difficult issues.

Those interested in counseling must obtain licensure as required by state law, and licensing typically requires graduate coursework. However, some states offer certifications in behavioral health.

Certificate in Behavioral Health

Some counseling types covered in these programs are group counseling, grief and bereavement counseling, child counseling and art therapy. Examples of specific courses include:

  • Introduction to behavioral health
  • Human relations and counseling
  • Individual and group dynamics
  • Case report writing
  • Developmental psychology
  • Chemical dependency counseling

Popular Careers

There are several potential career paths open to individuals interested in the field of behavioral health. Some of these might include:

  • Social worker
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Paraprofessional counselor
  • Family advocate
  • Behavioral health technician

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Earning a certificate in behavioral health could also lead to work as a social and human service assistant. These professionals earned a median annual wage of $33,750 as of May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. The BLS also notes that employment opportunities for social and human service assistants are expected to grow 13% between 2018 and 2028.

Certification Options

Behavioral health professionals who are interested in the counseling field are typically required to gain licensure from the state before they can practice in the field. Requirements vary from state to state, but most require some amount of graduate coursework. Some states have their own certification organizations for the field of behavioral health, such as the Alaska Commission for Behavioral Health Certification or the Arizona Department of Health Services' Mental and Behavioral Health Licensing Office.

The curriculum in behavioral health certificate programs includes both class sessions and clinical components covering counseling approaches. Graduates have a variety of career options and may obtain licensure depending on their state's regulations.

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