What is a Mental Health Degree?

what is a mental health degreeAs you look at your academic future after high school or as you contemplate a career change, you might wonder, “what is a mental health degree?”  A mental health professional helps clients deal with life issues and relationship struggles.  A mental health counselor asks strategic questions in order to help patients get to the root of their problems and move forward with their lives. Effective mental health services include working with patients and involving other professionals as needed to improve their life skills and coping techniques. Sometimes a mental health program will only work with certain groups of people, such as addicts, children, struggling couples, veterans or those dealing with job changes. As a prospective candidate, you can choose from traditional mental health degree programs or from one of the best online mental health degree programs, but you will need to pursue a bachelor’s degree and then obtain a master’s degree.

How to Find the Top Mental Health Degree Programs

As you pursue your degree with a major in mental health, you will want to consider several factors. You will need to make sure you look at the ranking of the school and attend one that is accredited. Your course of study for both your undergraduate and graduate degree should be tailored to your interests and future goals. Some of the classes you can expect to take include theories of counseling, family counseling, lifespan development, counseling techniques and group dynamics. Some of the schools with the best mental health degree programs include George Washington University and Boston College. This pair of top private colleges offers both masters and doctorate programs. Online classes provide an excellent option for those who have busy work schedules or who may live a long distance from a university. Two of the schools with the best online mental health degree programs include Post University in Connecticut and the University of Phoenix, the largest private school in the nation. Most schools, whether traditional or online, will help you look for and obtain financial aid.

Careers and Salaries for Individuals with Mental Health Degrees

According to the American Psychiatry Association, a brief definition of mental illness is serious dysfunction that impairs a person’s mental abilities. As you apply for different mental health jobs, remember that the job outlook in this field is growing much faster than average according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This means that you should be able to choose from a wide range of mental health careers depending on where your interests lie. Mental health salaries will vary depending on education, experience and if you are licensed. Depending on these factors, a social worker’s earnings in 2010 ranged from $40,000 to $70,000. While both a psychologist and psychiatrist have advanced degrees, the former cannot prescribe medication while the latter can. According to BLS, the former will earn about $70,000 per year while the latter earns more than $150,000 annually. As you complete your schooling and talk to professionals, you will be able to answer the question: What is a mental health degree?