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2021 Mental & Social Health Services Degree Guide

A degree in Mental and Social Health Services allows you to work closely with both children and adults to help them overcome difficult mental or emotion stress and maintain a healthy and happy life.

Mental and Social Health Services professionals work with patients to diagnose and treat mental illness, manage emotional disorders, deal with life stresses, and change behavioral issues. You will take classes in psychology, social work, substance abuse, public health, counseling, physiology, and human services to gain the skills to work with others and prepare to earn an advanced degree.

Some specific areas of this field that you may be interested in concentrating on are Addiction Counseling, Mental Health Services Technician, Clinical Social Work, Community Health Services, Marriage and Family Counseling, Clinical Pastoral Counseling, Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and Genetic Counseling, among others.

An Increase in Mental & Social Health Services Degrees

#49 Most Popular Major
20.7k Degrees Awarded
1.2% Increase in Graduates

Mental & Social Health Services was the 49th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 20,702 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 1.2% increase in mental health services degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 20,456.

The United States has 353 different schools where you can get a degree in mental and social health services. Our 2021 Best Colleges for Mental & Social Health Services ranking analyzes 29 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for mental and social health services students. Explore this or one of our many other custom mental health services rankings further below.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Mental & Social Health Services

A degree in Mental and Social Health Services leads to a career working with others, usually one on one. This places a strong emphasis on interpersonal communication, and listening skills. You must be able to listen to what patients are telling you in order to understand their stressors and help them. You must also be compassionate and understand patients may feel insecure, uncomfortable, or scared. Since you will have access to patient files along with the information they share, it is extremely important to be trustworthy and maintain patient-doctor confidentiality.

Graduates with a degree in this field have full time jobs working in hospitals, schools, doctors' offices, and with social services. Some professionals set their own hours, but keep night and weekend hours to accommodate patients' schedules.

In order to practice in the Mental and Social Health Services field, students must earn at least a master's degree, or in some cases, a Ph.D. or Psy.D. may be required along with state certification.

Mental Health Services Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. In addition to these basic mental and social health services program qualifications, to serve in some mental health services careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Mental & Social Health Services Degree Types

There are many different mental health services degree levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a in mental and social health services to something that takes less time like a . Depending on the mental and social health services degree you choose, obtaining your diploma can take anwhere from 1 to 4+ years.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A master's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to mental health services, with approximately 42.2% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to mental health services tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Master’s Degree 42.6%
Bachelor’s Degree 14.4%
Doctoral Degree 10.1%
High School Diploma 9.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 6.7%

65.1% of mental health services workers have at least a master's. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in mental and social health services careers have.


This of course varies depending on which mental health services career you choose.

Mental Health Services Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$36.6k Average Starting Salary
16% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Mental and Social Health Services graduates work in a variety of locations from hospitals and medical clinics to social service offices. Depending on your specialization, you may work with adults, children and families with different types of mental and social disorders or issues. Graduates can find jobs in a multitude of locations, or can open their own practice and have their own patients.

High Growth Projected for Mental Health Services Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your mental health services degree? Mental & Social Health Services careers are expected to grow 15.7% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to mental and social health services.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Clergy 263,800 8.2%
Healthcare Social Workers 212,000 20.1%
Mental Health Counselors 194,200 23.1%
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists 168,500 14.2%
Substance Abuse Social Workers 147,900 19.4%

How Much Money Do People With a Mental Health Services Degree Make?

Mental & Social Health Services graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $36,637 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $14,900 to as high as $65,600. As you might expect, salaries for mental health services graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Mental Health Services Majors

Salaries for mental and social health services graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers mental health services grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Psychology Professors $88,490
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists $85,340
Genetic Counselors $80,860
Social Work Professors $77,520
Healthcare Social Workers $58,470

Getting Your Mental & Social Health Services Degree

With over 1,060 different mental health services degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased mental health services school rankings to help you with this.

Mental & Social Health Services is one of 34 different types of Health Professions programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Nursing 297,747
Allied Health Professions 50,338
Health & Medical Administrative Services 48,644
Public Health 34,192
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 30,460

View All Mental Health Services Related Majors >


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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