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Mental Health Worker Program
​​Certificate of Achievement and Associate in Science Degree
The Mental Health Worker program at Orange Coast College is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program that prepares students to serve emotionally, cognitively, and developmentally challenged clients in community settings that provide therapeutic intervention, rehabilitation, and recovery services.

Specifically, the program will prepare students to function in a support position under a licensed professional.  Mental health workers are employed in private, state, and county settings that provide residential, day-care, intervention, or support programs to serve emotionally, cognitively, and/or developmentally challenged clients.  Mental health workers serve child, adolescent, adult, or older adult populations.  The mental health worker works with clients in the following potential need areas:  Psychiatric services, alcohol and substance abuse programs, acquired brain injury programs, programs for the developmentally disabled, and/or older adult services programs.

Mental Health Workers:
1. Establish effective therapeutic relationships with clients.
2. Demonstrate acceptable ethical standards and practices.
3. Effectively work with the treatment team to help clients in the program and in the activities that support their growth and development, which could include occupational, recreational, educational, or cognitive programs/activities.
4. Demonstrate appropriate cultural sensitivities and practices.
5. Recognize symptoms requiring psychiatric or medical intervention and communicate the information to supervisor.
6. Are able to formulate and document a rehabilitation, mental health, and recovery ”goals and strengths assessment” for clients in the setting.
7. Demonstrate professional behavior in the mental health worker setting, including punctuality, appropriate work attire, and fulfilling assignments.
8. Demonstrate effective writing skills and complete appropriate reports in a clear, concise, and timely manner.
9. Demonstrate knowledge about the mental health setting, its programs, and its staff and their responsibilities.
10. Demonstrate knowledge of community resources pertaining to recovery, mental health, and recovery models.
11. Are able to lead and/or supervise group activities.
12. Are able to assess risk and act appropriately in emergency situations.

Graduates will be employable as mental health workers in psychiatric services, mental health services, acquired brain injury, alcohol and substance abuse programs, programs for the intellectually disabled, physically disabled, and/or older adult services.​

Considerations for Scheduling Courses
1.  Start with Introduction to Psychology course.  It is a pre-requisite for several required courses.  You can take other required courses in the program that don’t have the Introduction to Psychology pre-requisite, at the same time as Introduction to Psychology.                                                                                     
2.  Take the following courses as soon as possible:  Introduction to Counseling; Abnormal Psychology; Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery; and Health Education (CPR).  These courses are pre-requisites for the Mental Health Worker Field Work Class.                   
3.  Take Field Work for Mental Health Workers, field work, as soon as you have taken its pre-requisite courses.  It is desirable to be exposed to field work as soon as possible in the program. Contact program director to confirm completion of pre-reqs before enrolling ( )


A Mental Health Worker Certificate of Achievement can be achieved by taking the requ​ired courses​. The ​Associate in Science Degree requires the Mental Health Worker courses, along with general education and graduation requirements.