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
While not commonly seen, Mental Health Specialists who transition into a Licensed Clinical Social Worker position may see a rise in pay. The median salary for Licensed Clinical Social Workers is $52K per year. Mental Health Specialists most often move into positions as Mental Health Counselors or MSW Social Workers; those groups report median salaries that are $4K higher and $8K higher, respectively.
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Popular Skills for Mental Health Specialist
Mental Health Specialists report a narrow range of specific skills. Those who have experience with Case Management, Counseling, and Group Therapy can expect to be compensated well for these skills. 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.
Mental Health Specialists with a rich background of experience are typically rewarded with larger paychecks. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $32K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $37K. Mental Health Specialists claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $42K. Average wages for folks with more than 20 years of experience come out to around $48K.
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