How Can You Specialize a Social Work Degree in Behavioral Health?

Learning how to specialize a social work degree in behavioral health can help prepare you for very tailored positions in public health and child welfare agencies. With a specialized degree tailoring the curriculum to cover behavioral health, graduates will be ready for careers in various practice settings which require them to assess, evaluate and even treat individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues.

What Will You Study if You Take a Specialized Degree Program?

Earning a behavioral health specialization will show licensing boards and organizations that you have completed a program that is focused on teaching students with health disparities often found among the population. These programs also prepare students with a toolbox that they can use in their profession to increase health equity across the US. To do this, a majority of specialized programs include the following curriculum:

  • Contemporary issues in mental health
  • Behavioral health in integrated health care settings
  • Disparities in health
  • Issues in aging
  • Social work clinical practice with children
  • Social work clinical practice with older adults
  • Social work clinical practice with groups
  • Drugs in modern society
  • Family violence and affects
  • Trauma and social work practice
  • Clinical field requirements

Choosing a Social Work Degree Program

There are plenty of things to focus on when you are trying to select the best graduate school to attend when your mission is to seek a career in social work. The faculty-to-student ratio, test scores, and graduation rates are all important, but the first priority should be to find all of the accredited programs in your area.

If a social work degree program is not accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the credits earned will not be recognized by licensing bodies or other universities and institutions. The council is in charge of evaluating and overseeing all accredited baccalaureate and master's level programs.

Narrowing Down Your Options

Everyone has their own learning style and their own preference when it comes to how they prefer to study for their master's degree. As you compare different accredited programs, focus first on their latest accreditation review. It's best to attend schools that don't have upcoming reviews so that you know that you have time to finish your program before there's any chance of the school not passing.

After you've focused on this, look to see if the program is delivered in a classroom or at a self-study pace online. Some learn better face-to-face, but others prefer the convenience of a distance education program. There will still be additional field requirements that must be completed in person.

Related Resource: Top 10 Online Social Work Degree Programs 2018

It's always best for students who are financing thousands of dollars to attend school to research their options. You may know you want a specialized degree, but you need to choose a university and also the electives you'd like to take before enrolling. Consider these tips when you specialize a social work degree in behavioral health and make an informed decision.