Mental Health Specialist Salary
Job Description for Mental Health Specialist
A mental health specialist assists clients with understanding and living with mental illness and its effects on those around them, especially families. While many aspects of the job have a great deal in common with the work of psychologists or psychiatrists in private practice, the mental health specialist in many situations is the first encounter for a person seeking advice or counseling in this field. Mental health specialists may work in hospitals and clinics in this first-contact role; these specialists also work for wellness programs at businesses, schools and other institutions.Read More...
A major part of the mental health specialist's job is assessing the needs of those individuals who seek out mental health care; this is typically accomplished through one-on-one interviewing, but it can also include speaking with family members, friends and co-workers as appropriate. The mental health specialist may provide treatment, especially if the specialist is qualified and licensed to prescribe medication. This treatment may include helping clients develop strategies to improve quality of life and interactions with loved ones. However, in many situations (especially with specialists who are not credentialed to prescribe medication), the mental health worker refers the client to a specialist.
Most programs that hire mental health specialists seek out individuals with at least a bachelor's degree in psychology, social work or another relevant field. Some employers may require mental health specialists to be licensed psychologists or psychiatrists or have a practitioner's credential.
Mental Health Specialist Tasks
- Gather information about patients using interviews, case histories, observations and assessments.
- Provide individual, family and group therapy.
- Develop treatment, prevention and intervention plans emphasis on prevention.
- Manage caseload and documentation.
Common Career Paths for Mental Health Specialist
Though some Mental Health Specialists move into positions like Licensed Clinical Social Worker (where the average salary is $52K), this progression is not the norm. Mental Health Specialists moving up in their careers tend to step into positions as Mental Health Counselors or MSW Social Workers. The median paychecks in those roles are $3K higher and $7K higher, respectively.
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Popular Skills for Mental Health Specialist
Job skills reported by Mental Health Specialists are limited. Most notably, skills in Diagnosis and Treatment Planning, Case Management, Counseling, and Group Therapy are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Group Therapy. Employees educated in Case Management are typically practiced in Counseling, too.
Pay by Experience Level for Mental Health Specialist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience is an important factor influencing the compensation of Mental Health Specialists. Relatively untried employees who have less than five years' experience make $32K, but folks with five to 10 years under their belts enjoy an appreciably larger median of $39K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $42K. Seasoned veterans with 20 years under their belts enjoy a median income of $50K.
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Key Stats for Mental Health Specialist
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