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What Is a Behavioral Health Clinician and How to Become One

Behavioral Health Clinician

What Is a Behavioral Health Clinician?

A behavioral health clinician is responsible for counseling patients dealing with mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and emotional disorders. You are often employed by social services, in clinical settings, and by educational institutions. In this career, your duties are to provide treatment through counseling and other techniques that will help patients cope with their mental health issues. You are a compassionate health professional who needs empathy and strong listening and communication skills. Qualifications include a master’s degree in counseling, social work, psychology or a related field, along with a state-issued license.

How to Become a Behavioral Health Clinician

To become a Behavioral Health Clinician, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling or some equivalent. You will likely need to verify that your university offers Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) backing. Ensure that your studies include course work in substance abuse, behavioral issues, and marriage, family, and individual counseling. Once you earn your master’s degree, you need to successfully complete 2,000-4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience and obtain state-issued licensure, in addition to passing the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).