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Behavioral Health Assistant: Education and Career

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Suppose you’re thinking about having a career in the medical field but do not necessarily want to work as a doctor or a nurse or are unsure of what you want to do.  But, you know you want to help people in need. In that case, you could consider a career in mental health. 

Rehabilitation assistants have a variety of duties and get to make a difference in the lives of people. Keep reading to find out more about this rewarding career. 

What Does A Behavioral Health Assistant Do?

A mental health peer support or assistant will support allied health professionals in the mental health facilities. On any given day, you may be responsible for:

  • Performing office work such as organizing documents, answering phones, making clerical work, scheduling appointments, and more
  • Interact with incoming patients and tend to their overall needs; prepare them for their medical visits.
  • Check-in patients when they arrive
  • Ensuring patient care and independent living.
  • Making sure patients are following their prescribed protocols
  • Keeping and recording patient records and progress
  • Providing overall support to mental health patients.

In short, you’ll never be bored, and you’ll always be learning. You’ll also need strong people skills and organizational skills since you’ll likely be working with people. Sometimes situations become tense, so you’ll need a sense of calm and preparedness and know how to handle these types of cases appropriately. 


If a job as a Behavioral Health assistant or peer support associate sounds like something you could do, here’s how to go about finding the right school for you. 

A certificate in the field, which takes less than a year to complete, is adequate for working as a Behavioral Health assistant or peer support associate. You’ll want to research programs or schools that offer this program and have accreditation and the opportunity for certification by the state or certifying body. 

You’ll fill out an admissions form, gather transcripts, and pay any fees. In some cases, you can even complete your high school diploma while you’re training for a career!

Once you’re accepted, you’ll enter the program and learn all about mental health and the duties you need. This is advisable and encouraged for busy adults looking for a career change due to work duties.  You will have the flexibility to complete the program from the convenience of your own home to meet assignment deadlines.

Once you’re close to graduation, you may need to apply for certification and licensing depending on your state’s requirements. Even if your state doesn’t require a ton of licensing, it may help with job opportunities and salary in the long run. 

Many schools teach you the skills you need to land the job you want. For example, they coach you through interviewing skills and how you need to format your resume to stand out from the crowd. Some schools reach out to recruiting companies and send them graduates from their schools for their first entry-level job. 


One of the great things about the mental health field is that you can spend very little time in school compared to an undergraduate degree and have a career for a lifetime. At the same time, salaries depend heavily on location, experience, certification, training, and more. 

Being in school for less time than a traditional undergrad means you don’t have as much debt, and you get to start your job quickly, sometimes right out of college. Mental health and medical jobs are on the rise, and there’s always going to be a demand for them. 

Another thing about working in mental health is that you can take your job just about anywhere. You’re not tied down in any way. With mental health issues on the rise, facilities are located throughout the United States and often hire people with the proper soft skills and techniques to assist them. 

While the duties of a Behavioral Health assistant are varied across the board, that doesn’t mean they all work in the same place or even perform the same duties every day. According to what’s available, mental health workers are employed in different places, their skill set, qualifications, experience, patient care, and what they love. You might work in places like:

  • Hospitals
  • Mental health facilities
  • Psychiatric offices
  • Public health
  • Doctor’s offices
  • State’s Department of Health
  • Inpatient or Outpatient facilities or services
  • Non-profit facilities

Any place specializing in clinical work of any kind, specifically mental health, could be a place for you, depending on the positions available and your qualifications.

Are You Ready to Start Your Career?

Being a Behavioral Health assistant is a rewarding career in the mental health field. With a consistently growing field and demand for jobs, you’ll likely find job security and a fulfilling career where you can grow and learn. 

Want to learn more about how to start your career? Visit our Certificate and Degree Programs page to learn about our school and how to apply, or contact us today!

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