Mental Health Career Options for People Without a Degree
It is common for people who work in healthcare or community and social services to be involved with the field of mental health. Some individuals may offer counseling support to community members with mental health conditions, while others may provide practical assistance, such as helping people locate programs or services they need.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Outlook (2014-2024)*|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||$31,810||11%|
|Community Health Workers||$37,330||15%|
|Home Health Aides||$22,600||38%|
|Counseling Assistants||$37,230 (for secretaries and administrative assistants)||3% (for secretaries and administrative assistants)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Information on Mental Health Careers for People Without a Degree
Social and Human Service Assistants
Social and human service assistants normally need a high school diploma and on-the-job training to enter this occupation. A postsecondary certificate or associate's degree may be an asset, but is not required. Social and human service assistants help clients access services designed to meet their practical or medical needs, including those associated with mental health issues. These assitants' job duties might entail setting clients up with support groups, appropriate housing or any other service that can help them manage their condition.
Psychiatric technicians work with patients who have mental health issues, including problems with addiction and developmental disabilities. Techicians' duties include talking to patients about issues and leading activities that may have therapeutic benefits. They also document their observations of patients. A postsecondary certificate is normally required to be a psychiatric technician.
Psychiatric aides must usually have a high school diploma. They receive on-the-job training once hired, and they commonly work in psychiatric hospitals and mental health facilities. They are responsible for observing patients' behavior and may also intervene if a patient becomes a danger to himself or others. They also provide routine care for these patients, such as helping them get dressed.
Community Health Workers
Community health workers help connect people with the types of services they need through education and outreach programs. Their job duties can include providing referrals for mental health services as well as social support to people who have mental health issues. A high school diploma is the standard educational requirement, and some states require these workers to be certified. A postsecondary certificate or associate's degree may be required by some employers, but this is not always the case.
Home Health Aides
Home health aides do not need a degree, and it may not even be necessary for applicants to graduate from high school, although a GED or high school diploma may be preferred. In some cases, earning certification is required. Home health aides visit people in their homes and help them with practical tasks, such as housekeeping and bathing. Some of these professionals work with patients who have mental health conditions and may even be employed at mental health or substance abuse rehabilitation facilities.
Counseling assistants are professionals who provide clerical support to counselors and the people they see. They may schedule individual appointments, create schedules for group counseling sessions, update files and provide information about counseling services online and in person. They may be employed by schools or mental health facilities and regularly interact with those with mental health needs. A degree is not required to pursue this type of work, although a high school diploma and related experience may be required.