With the expansion of health care benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act, behavioral health career opportunities are expanding as well. Over the past several years there has been a shift from treating medical and behavioral conditions as separate concerns to treating the whole person: recognizing that the mind and body work together to facilitate or impede one’s overall health.
The field of behavioral health offers a multitude of career options working to better the lives of persons with developmental or emotional disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, alcohol and drug dependence and clinical depression. Services are provided in both residential and community-based programs, group homes, schools and juvenile detention centers, along with many other types of facilities.
The professionals needed to staff behavioral health care programs include all levels of caregivers from Personal Care Assistants who assist clients with activities of daily living to Psychologists and Social Workers that provide a wide range of diagnostic and treatment services. Job titles in the field of behavioral health include the following:
- Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) work as part of a team to help clients with their personal needs like feeding, bathing and dressing. PCAs provide clients assistance primarily in the areas of hygiene, medication compliance, exercise/recreation and communication.
- Classroom Aides are hired in public schools to assist children from elementary school through high school with learning disabilities or behavioral problems. A classroom aide provides either one-on-one attention to a single student or support for a small group of students.
- Case Managers help clients with mental health conditions to manage their lives by assessing the client’s needs and identifying and coordinating the resources necessary to meet those needs. A case manager helps clients with tasks like applying for government benefits, scheduling and keeping appointments, grocery shopping and budgeting.
- Social Workers with a bachelor’s degree often perform work similar to that of case managers, while those with a Master’s degree are employed as mental health professionals in a variety of specialized areas. Clinical Social Workers are licensed to both diagnose and treat mental and behavioral health conditions.
Many of the agencies that staff behavioral health positions operate 24 hours a day so that people in this field have a variety of work options, including temporary assignments, contract positions or per diem opportunities.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2012 and 2022 jobs in behavioral health will grow 19%--faster than average--driven by increased demand for health care services.
- 3 Behavioral Health Charities Highlighted on Celebrity Apprentice
- BH Candidate - Fresh Squeezed
- Behavioral Health: Helping Anxious Parents Raising Anxious Kids
- Bon Jovi Lends Support to Behavioral Health Services Center
- Improving Behavioral Health At Work Improves Your Business
- ]Prevent Child Abuse Through Work in Behavioral Health
- Promoting Behavioral Health Through Art Therapy
- The Difference a Dad Makes to Emotional & Behavioral Health [INFOGRAPHIC]