Careers in the mental health field
Over the course of many years, research into the functioning of the brain has greatly enlarged the knowledge and understanding of mental illness, behavior disorders, substance abuse and other related issues. As a result, there are many opportunities for mental health jobs.
The top two specialties in the field of mental health care are those of psychiatry and psychology. These terms are often used interchangeably but there are significant differences between the two.
- Psychiatrists: These individuals focus on the medical aspect of mental disorders. The psychiatrist must have a medical degree which is received after undergraduate studies. Once the doctor has graduated from medical school, he or she must have a further four years of residency. At the end of the education and residency, the individual must sit an examination given by the American Board of Psychiatry to be granted their license to practice.
- Psychologists: They must have a familiarity with the science of mental health, but their tendency is to focus on the behavioral side and to delve into those things which influence the actions of the patient. The majority of their time is spent with patients; they also are deeply involved in research and additional schooling. A psychologist must have a master’s degree as the minimum, a doctoral degree is the usual educational attainment, and they must pass examinations for certification.
Although psychiatrists and psychologists are at the upper end of mental health jobs, there are many other careers to be pursued.
- Social worker: These individuals are most often found working in health care organizations or for the government. There are many specialist areas for social workers to pursue; child and family care, substance abuse and medical being but three. An undergraduate degree in social work may get an entry-level position, but master’s and doctoral degrees are required for the top positions in the field. Social workers must be licensed by the state.
- Intake caseworker: These people evaluate and monitor children who are under threat from their home environment, contributing to mental problems. The caseworker spends time questioning the child, parents or guardians, deciding on the course of action which will give the best results. Intake caseworkers require a graduate degree in social work, and they must be state licensed.
- Psychiatric technician: This individual works as part of a team made up of mental health nurses, specialists in rehab and clinical psychologist. The function of the technician is to gather mental health information, talk with clients regarding their problems and be a participant in discussions held with senior mental health individuals.
- Alcohol abuse counselor: This position requires that the counselor assess clients and decide on treatment plans. Complete documentation of the client’s progress and follow-up is also a part of the duties. These counselors must be graduates in psychology or social work and must be licensed by the state.
There are other exciting mental health jobs to be had, the rewards of helping people with mental-health problems are extremely fulfilling.
There are many people with mental health jobs employed by Valley Hospital in Phoenix, AZ. As well as those mentioned, hospitals require intake RNs, mental health technicians and recreation therapists.