What is the Best Degree for Mental Health Professionals?

There are many occupations that you can enter into in the mental health field. No matter the type of mental health professional you become, you will benefit the most from obtaining at least a bachelor’s degree. For some career paths, you will have to obtain a master’s degree or higher. When it comes to earning your degree, the best credential will be determined by the profession you are wanting to enter into. For example, to become a social worker, you will of course need to obtain a social work degree. To become a mental health counselor, you will benefit from a different type of degree such as one that majors in cognitive psychology. Let’s take a close look at three popular mental health professions and the best degree to earn.

Psychiatrist

To enter into the occupation of a psychiatrist, you will need to earn a master’s degree in psychiatry. In addition, you will need four years of residency training as well as obtain the appropriate type of state-issued licensure. You undergraduate degree needs to be in psychiatry or a related field. No matter your undergraduate major, you need to take plenty of classes that focus on biology, the natural sciences and chemistry. The courses you will complete during your master’s program will focus on the following topics:

– Pathology
– Pharmacology
– Physiology
– Anatomy

Social Worker

To become a social worker, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in social work. Furthermore, you will need the appropriate type of state-issued licensure. If you are wanting to pursue the career path of a clinical social worker, you will need to continue your education and obtain a master’s degree. As you complete your studies to become a social worker, you will learn about:

– Research methods
– Social work ethics
– Laws and regulations
– Substance abuse
– Human behavior
– Social policy
– Diversity

Mental Health Counselor

If you are wanting to become a mental health professional who provides mental health counseling services, you will need a master’s degree in counseling or a related field. Before being admitted into a master’s program, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in the same field of study or a related field. After completing your master’s program and completing a minimum amount of supervised work hours, you will then be eligible to apply for licensure. The topics studied during both your undergraduate and graduate degree program will be focused on:

– Human behavior
– Advanced psychology
– Counseling psychology
– Advanced research methods
– Professional ethics

As a mental health professional, you will provide a wide range of services to people who are facing a variety of issues. If you have a strong passion for helping others, as well as great interpersonal skills, you will likely find much success as a mental health professional. The most important thing that you need to keep in mind is that the exact career path that you want to follow will determine what the best degree for you to earn will be.

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