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Trending Behavioral Health Jobs and Career Opportunities

Nearly 20% of American's have a mental illness and 8% of adults reported having a substance abuse problem, reported by Mental Health America. In behavioral health, you can be one of the professionals that help save lives. Behavioral health specialists help people overcome addictions, disorders, and mental illnesses. A career in behavioral health is purposeful and rewarding but also can be tough emotionally. Learn more about the different career options in behavioral health, what is required, and salary information.

Major Areas of Behavioral Health

  • Mental Health
  • Behavioral Health
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Substance Abuse

In-Demand Behavioral Health Positions

  • Counselor/Therapist
    A counselor, also known as a therapist, is educated in mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders and works with individuals and families. They help people to overcome their problems by finding the best approach for the individual through counseling.
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
    Substance abuse counselors are counselors who specialize in helping people overcome their dependency on alcohol and drugs. A substance abuse counselor will help people get to the root of why they use alcohol and drugs and encourage them in the recovery process.
  • Psychologist
    A psychologist is licensed to do counseling and provides treatment for mental disorders through psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a long-term treatment that aims to uncover the connection between the brain and behavior.
  • Psychiatrist
    The main difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist is that a psychiatrist is a medical doctor and therefore can write prescriptions. They specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders medically, through drugs.
  • Social Worker
    A social worker helps people manage their mental health issues. They are an advocate for their patient. Clinical social workers may evaluate and treat mental illness through psychotherapy similar to a psychologist.
  • Case Manager
    Case managers are the connectors between a patient and the services/resources they need to get better. They are the client’s advocate and must have excellent interpersonal, communication, and administrative skills.

Average Salaries for Behavioral Health Professionals

Average salaries in behavioral health can range anywhere from $40,000 to $200,000 a year depending on the level of education required for the position. Here is a list of the median salaries and hourly rates for jobs in behavioral health:

Education Requirements

  • Counselor/Therapist
    Counselors may be able to find a job with a bachelor’s degree but typically a master’s degree is required to obtain a license. A license is issued by the state you live in after you take and pass an exam administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
  • Substance Abuse Counselor 
    A master’s degree in substance abuse counseling is required to be a substance abuse counselor. You’ll also need to pass an exam administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors to receive registration with the state.
  • Psychologist  
    Most positions as a psychologist require either a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. The degree you get depends on whether you wish to be a clinical or counseling phycologist. You’ll also need clinical experience after completion of a doctorate to receive a registration.
  • Psychiatrist
    To be a psychiatrist you’ll need a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and to complete a residency program. There are different exams to receive licensure depending on which degree is chosen. After receiving licensure, a psychiatrist takes the certification exam through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).
  • Social Worker
    Social workers need at least a bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work. Clinical social workers require a master’s degree and two years of clinical experience in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Social workers must be licensed in the state they work. Certification for social workers is not required but recommended.
  • Case Manager 
    Most case managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work and a master’s in social work. It’s recommended to become a certified case manager through the Commission for Case Manager Certification.

Common Behavioral Health Settings

Behavioral health gives you a lot of options in terms of the work environment and whom you want to work with. Jobs can be found in schools, private offices, out-patient and substance abuse centers, hospitals, residential mental health and substance abuse facilities, and the government. Many phycologists are self-employed. Counselors can choose to work with a specific population like with teens, families, couples, the elderly, and the incarnated.

Behavioral Health FAQs

What is the difference between mental health and behavioral health?
Mental health is different from behavioral health but they are often confused as the same thing. Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization as a person’s state of well-being. Behavioral health is the connection between physical and mental well-being. For example, mental health disorders include depression and bipolar, and behavioral health issues include substance abuse and eating disorders.

Which behavioral health fields are expected to grow the most?
The National Institute of Mental Health states that 1 out of 5 American's live with a mental illness and estimates that only half receive treatment. The number of people dealing with mental illness and substance abuse problems has led to a demand for behavioral health counselors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors' jobs are projected to grow by 22% by the year 2028. Phycologist jobs are expected to grow by 14%, followed by social workers at 11%.

Are there part-time behavioral health job options?
Yes. There are part-time jobs in behavioral health are typically less than 30 hours a week. Working part-time offers more flexibility to spend time with family, go back to school, or simply maintain a better work-life balance.

Where can I find behavioral health jobs?
ProLink Staffing can assist you to find a job in behavioral health. We source a variety of behavioral health and other jobs in the healthcare field. Here is a list of other sources to find jobs in your area.