Behavioral Health

OVERVIEW

Behavioral health encompasses the areas of addiction, mental health and child welfare – all of which are garnering increasing levels of national attention. In our complex society, behavioral health is a critical field, requiring professionals with a broad base of knowledge and expertise.

In this versatile major, you select a concentration in Addiction Studies, Mental Health or Child Welfare. Experienced, knowledgeable faculty members will engage you in the classroom and introduce you to these areas of specialty.

As a behavioral health professional, you must be prepared to address and respond to a variety of complex issues with competence. Whether you choose an administrative, counseling, caseworker or other position within the field of behavioral health, you will need to possess a high level of skill and proficiency.

Earning a Behavioral Health degree at Alvernia University can assure that you attain the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the field. This degree, with its different areas of concentration, can prepare you to work in a variety of settings and address a variety of issues.

Offered at Alvernia’s main campus in Reading as well as our Pottsville and Philadelphia campuses, the Behavioral Health degree is versatile and attainable. And, Behavioral Health majors complement their classroom education with two field placements in licensed or state-approved programs, facilities and/or agencies. This gives you the opportunity to experience different types of work and meet professionals in various areas of the behavioral health arena.

WHY AU

Why should you study Behavioral Health at Alvernia University?

Because at Alvernia you get all the benefits of an outstanding university education in a manageable setting with personal attention and unique opportunities that can benefit you as you move toward your career.

Alvernia is well known and respected for its Behavioral Health Program. In fact, its Addiction Studies program was one of the first of its kind in the nation, and is highly regarded.

Small Class Size
Alvernia has an average 12:1 student-faculty ratio, with fewer than 20 students in most classes. This facilitates valuable, professional relationships among faculty members and students. In these small class settings, you get individual attention to help you excel.

Faculty Who Care
Alvernia’s faculty members aren’t just teachers. They’re experts in their fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to their students. In small class settings faculty members become mentors and advisors, intent on helping you learn, grow and succeed. Alvernia’s Behavioral Health faculty members have worked in various settings relating to the areas of addiction prevention and treatment, mental health and child welfare, and are highly regarded in their fields. They understand the challenges of behavioral health professionals because they have worked on the front lines within the field. They are board members of prestigious organizations and have presented papers and reports both nationally and internationally. Most importantly, they’re there to help you succeed.

Research Opportunities
Alvernia offers opportunities for many students to work with faculty members on research projects relating to their areas of concentration. This collaboration prepares students for professions and/or graduate school.

Honors Program
Alvernia’s Honors Program for students who are academically gifted and highly motivated is designed to allow students to work at their own pace and to recognize and encourage academic excellence. Honors students interact with one another to exchange ideas and information across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

The Honors Program offers co-curricular activities, service opportunities and intellectual and social support to encourage students to exceed their own expectations.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Honors Programs at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors.

Get Real
Classroom learning is valuable and necessary, but out-of-the-classroom, experiential learning provides management students with hands-on, real world learning opportunities that enrich your educational experience and are highly valued by employers.

You’ll have opportunities to participate in field experiences, community service, campus events and other experiences to help you stretch and grow toward your full potential.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Get Real program at www.alvernia.edu/getreal.

Study Abroad
Living and studying outside of the United States can change you in ways you can’t begin to envision. Students who study abroad typically gain immeasurable confidence and experiences they could not have imagined.

Behavioral Health majors have benefitted from participation in study abroad programs in countries including New Zealand, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, China and Mexico.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Study Abroad program at www.alvernia.edu/studyabroad.

YOUR CAREER

Behavioral health is a growing field with an increasing need for qualified, professional employees. As behavioral health issues become increasingly recognized and covered by insurance, opportunities for employment will increase.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is projected to increase by 31 percent between 2012 and 2022, a rate much higher than the average for all occupations. The employment rate for social workers, including child welfare specialists, also is projected to increase.

With a degree in Behavioral Health, you might find employment with an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation center, a hospital, or an agency that serves children and youth. You might work in a mental health facility, for a corporate employee-assistance program, or within the criminal justice system.

Graduates of Alvernia’s Behavioral Health program enjoy a very high employment placement rate, and members of the Career Services Office are available to offer job search advice and help you prepare for your job search.

Alvernia’s Behavioral Health courses are approved by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, the foremost drug and alcohol credentialing organization in the state. A bachelor of arts degree in Behavioral Health fulfills the requirement for certification and re-certification of addiction counselors by the Pennsylvania Certification Board.

For more information about Alvernia’s Behavioral Health program contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or admissions@alvernia.edu.

YOUR CURRICULUM

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to complete a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. Behavioral Health majors choose a concentration in one of the following: Addiction Studies, Mental Health or Child Welfare.

All Behavioral Health students must complete the following courses within the major. (“C” grade or higher must be obtained for all BH courses)

BH 201 Foundations of Chemical Dependency
BH 202 Origins of Mental Illness
BH 204 Counseling Theories
BH 230 Assessment and Evaluation
BH 303 Counseling Techniques I
BH 330 Crisis Intervention
BH 305 Group Counseling I
PSY 101 Introductory Psychology
BH Practicums

Students with a concentration in Addiction Studies choose four of the following courses:

BH 203 Neuropharmacology
BH 220 Prevention and Intervention Services
BH 240 Addictive Behaviors
BH 304 Counseling Techniques II
BH 306 Group Counseling II
BH 400 Marriage and Family Counseling
BH 402 Management of Human Service Agencies
BH 411 Counseling Special Populations –OR BH 413 Special Issues Seminar
BH 414 Emotional and Behavioral Pathology

Students with a concentration in Mental Health choose four of the following courses:

BH 203 Neuropharmacology
BH 240 Addictive Behaviors
BH 300 Case Management
BH 304 Counseling Techniques II
BH 306 Group Counseling II
BH 400 Marriage and Family Counseling
BH 402 Management of Human Service Agencies
BH 411 Counseling Special Populations -OR- BH 413 Special Issues Seminar
BH 414 Emotional Behavioral Pathology

Students with a concentration in Child Welfare choose four of the following courses:

SW 201 Introduction to Social Work
SW 202 Social Services to Children
SW 301 Social Welfare
CJ 101 Introduction to Criminal Justice
CJ 175 Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation
CJ 272 Probation and Parole -OR- CJ 274 Corrections and Rehabilitation
BH 300 Case Management
BH 402 Management of Human Service Agencies
BH 411 Counseling Special Populations -OR-
BH 413 Special Issues Seminar

You also can minor in Behavioral Health by completing the following courses, plus two courses from one area of concentration:

BH 201 Foundations of Chemical Dependency
BH 202 Origins of Mental Illness
BH 204 Management of Human Service Agencies
BH 303 Counseling Techniques I
BH 330 Crisis Intervention Required Elective Courses

You can learn more about all courses offered by Alvernia University by viewing the 2015-2016 Academic Course Catalogue at http://www.alvernia.edu/academics/catalogs/Catalog_2015-16/index.html.

Your Real World Learning Experience
Alvernia believes that real world experience is extremely important, as it can improve your confidence and introduce you to professionals in your intended field of employment.

As a Behavioral Health major, you’ll not only benefit from faculty members who have extensive knowledge and experience in a variety of professional settings, you’ll also get the opportunity for first-hand learning during two field placements.

The Alvernia University Behavioral Health program provides a variety of field practice sites, and faculty members will help you to choose those that best correspond to your particular interests and talents. You might complete a field experience in a hospital, rehabilitation clinic, social service agency, mental health facility, crisis center or school.

You can also gain real world experience by seeking out opportunities on your own. These may include:

  • Volunteering at a hotline or crisis center
  • Attending 12-Step meetings
  • Volunteering as a tutor
  • Enhancing your knowledge of community issues
  • Becoming involved in community organizations

You can find out more about Alvernia’s commitment to real world learning at www.alvernia.edu/academics/experiential_learning.

Research Opportunities
Research is a valuable aspect of any education. Healthcare faculty members at Alvernia conduct research in a variety of areas.

As a Behavioral Health major, there may be opportunity for you to assist in faculty research, and to benefit from knowledge gained through faculty research.

The Honors Program
If you’re academically gifted and highly motivated, you may want to learn more about Alverania’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Honors students have opportunities to take courses dealing with unusual topics and participate in a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Honors Program and how to apply at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors/index.html.

If you are an nontraditional adult student, you might want to join the Alvernia University chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL), the premier national honor society for adult learners. The organization recognizes the special achievements of adults who achieve academic excellence despite competing interests of home and work. ASL is the oldest and largest chapter-based honor society for full and part-time students in the country.

The Eight-Semester Plan
You can do it! It’s easy to stay on track to graduate in four years if you pay close attention to what classes you need and make sure to take them in a timely manner. Advisors are available to assist in planning academic programs, course selection and registration, but it’s your job to make sure that you meet all academic requirements and comply with University policies.

You can greatly enhance your university experience by participating in activities both on and off campus. Start planning well in advance for your clinical experience or other off-campus experience, as you’ll need to assure that you will be able to complete all required coursework.

Study Opportunities beyond Campus
Your college years are the perfect time to broaden your horizons and participate in experiences that can change your life. Alvernia offers some great opportunities for students who want to spend some time studying beyond its campus.

The Washington Center
The University’s O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service manages a relationship with The Washington Center, an organization that offers residential academic programs and internships in the nation’s capital.

If you participate in The Washington Center program, you might be placed in an internship in a government agency or a non-profit organization. You can learn more about the Washington Center and opportunities there at www.alvernia.edu/about/ethics-and-leadership/washington.html.

Study Abroad Programs
Alvernia’s Study Abroad Office works closely with students who want to spend one or more semesters in a different country. Behavioral Health students have studied and traveled in Italy, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, England, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Morocco, Palestine and China.

You pay the regular Alvernia tuition while studying abroad, and continue to receive financial aid, if applicable. Credits earned count toward your Alvernia undergraduate degree.

If you’re interested in studying in another country you should start planning early, as you’ll need to start the application process about a year in advance.

You can get more information about these programs from the Study Abroad Office at www.alvernia.edu/studyabroad or by contacting studyabroad@alvernia.edu.


Year-by-Year Major Map

FRESHMAN YEAR
Think Globally

  • Explore opportunities for study abroad, alternative break trips, pilgrimage to Assisi, the Washington Center and service trips.
  • Start at the Study Abroad Office or studyabroad@alvernia.edu.

Take the Right Classes

  • Review general education, university and major requirements.
  • Be aware of which semester required courses are offered.
  • Focus on getting good grades.

Get Good Advice

  • Get to know Behavioral Health faculty and your advisor.
  • Visit the Educational Planning Center on the first floor of Bernardine Hall.

Real Life Learning

  • Explore opportunities for upcoming clinical practices.
  • Utilize skills acquired in First Year Experience.

Make the Right Connections

  • Identify peers that support your academic goals.
  • Get involved by joining the Criminal Justice Association, Pre-Health Professions Club or the Social Work Association.
  • You may decide to join the Student Government Association or consider some of the many other student clubs and community organizations available.

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Develop a working resume.
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests.
  • Start thinking about the type of Behavioral Health setting in which you want to work.
  • Begin the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances.


SOPHOMORE YEAR

Think Globally

  • Review opportunities for extended learning and, if interested, start planning with the Study Abroad Office.

Take the Right Classes

  • Make sure you’ve reviewed which semester required courses are available.
  • Focus on getting good grades.

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to faculty members and your advisor about your area(s) of interest within the field of Behavioral Health.
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center.

Real Life Learning

  • Look into the Alternative Break program.
  • Shadow in jobs that are related to your specific interests.
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests.
  • Get familiar with the Educational Planning Center’s Internship data base.

Make the Right Connections

  • Volunteer for community service.
  • Stay involved in clubs and organizations.
  • Observe the roles of those in leadership positions.
  • Form study groups.

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Update working resume.
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests.
  • Complete the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances.
  • Research Behavioral Health-related job postings to get familiar with job availability and requirements.


JUNIOR YEAR

Think Globally

  • Participate in Study Abroad program.
  • Participate in service trips or “May”mester.

Take the Right Classes

  • Learn about different types and locations for clinical experience opportunities.
  • Focus on getting good grades and improving GPA.
  • Work with advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time.

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to faculty members about career opportunities in the area of Behavioral Health.
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center.
  • Get familiar with Vault.com, a career services library available on Educational Planning. Center’s website.

Real Life Learning

  • Look into the Alternative Break program.
  • Shadow in jobs that are related to your specific interests.
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests.

Make the Right Connections

  • Connect with area Behavioral Health professionals.
  • Assume leadership roles on campus.
  • Connect with alumni in your field.

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Get feedback on your working resume from Educational Planning Center.
  • Get resume ready for practicum applications and job fairs.
  • Work on getting recommendations.
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews.
  • Look for coaching opportunities.


SENIOR YEAR

Think Globally

  • Look for service opportunities.

Take the Right Classes

  • Complete field experiences if you have not already done so.
  • Work with advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time.

Get Good Advice

  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center.
  • Talk to faculty members about career opportunities.
  • Ask for advice from professionals in your area of interest.

Real Life Learning

  • Participate in off-campus activities, such as volunteering with an Alvernia community partner.

Make the Right Connections

  • Connect with area Behavioral Health professionals.
  • Continue in leadership roles on campus.
  • Connect with alumni in your field.
  • Attend campus events at which alumni are present.

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Fine tune your resume.
  • Search for jobs through Vault.com and connections you’ve made.
  • Finalize recommendations.
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews.
  • Attend the Alvernia Job Fair.
YOUR SERVICES

Alvernia is committed to serving the needs of its students. Whether you have questions or problems related to academics, life on campus, student activities, social activities or any other issue, there is someone available to help you. You can learn more about all student services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/student-services.

Educational Planning Center
The Educational Planning Center offers advice and support to help you with any problems or issues related to your Alvernia education. It also assists with career exploration and preparation. The office is open every day and can be contacted at 610-796-8266.

Career Services
Staff members at the Career Development office will help you with any questions you have about exploring or planning careers. They also will guide you about how to look for and apply to jobs as you get closer to graduation. The office also has a career resources library. You can learn more about career services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/career-services, or by emailing career.services@alvernia.edu.

Financial Aid
The Financial Aid office is the place to contact with any questions you have about the cost of an Alvernia education and options for paying for it. Nearly all undergraduates at Alvernia get some type of financial aid, and everyone is encouraged to apply for it. You can learn more at www.alvernia.edu/financialaid/index.html or by emailing financialaid@alvernia.edu.

Admissions Office
If you’re interested in applying to the Behavioral Health program at Alvernia, contact the Admissions Office at 610-796-3011 or at http://www.alvernia.edu/admissions/.

Faculty Members
Alvernia’s Behavioral Health faculty members are dedicated, highly qualified professionals who are committed to sharing their expertise and knowledge with students. Faculty members have extensive experience in various aspects of the Behavioral Health field, and bring their expertise to the classroom. They often work one-on-one with students to enhance the student’s learning experience, and serve as mentors to aspiring students.

All Behavioral Health faculty members are experts in both the classroom and their areas of professionalism. Faculty members are actively engaged in research, have written articles that have appeared in prestigious publications and have presented nationally and internationally at conferences.

You can learn more about Alvernia’s Behavioral Health faculty and their credentials at www.alvernia.edu/academics/professional-programs/behavioral-health/faculty.html.

GET INVOLVED

There is so much more to college than classes, and Behavioral Health majors at Alvernia have some excellent opportunities to get involved in activities that are both enjoyable and provide beneficial, hands-on experience. Students who get involved and engaged in extra-curricular activities benefit both academically and socially, and open themselves to integral life lessons from beyond the classroom.

You’ll be encouraged to participate in a range of activities, including some rewarding and inspiring service projects. Alvernia students also are encouraged to explore a variety of honor societies for students in majors including social work and criminal justice. Some organizations and activities you might enjoy and benefit from include:

  • Pre-Health Professions Club. For students who are working toward careers in health—related professions, members of the Pre-Health Professions Club meet to share information, learn more about the health industry and meet others with similar interests. Members include pre-medical and pre-dental students, nursing students and students majoring in Behavioral Health, Occupational Therapy, Healthcare Science and other fields.
  • The Social Work Association. This group enhances professional growth within the field of social work and promotes a greater understanding of what the profession entails. Members have the opportunity to interact with the community.
  • The Criminal Justice Association of Alvernia University. With its focus on all aspects of the criminal justice system, the club meets regularly, brings in speakers and participates in community activities, service projects and trips. It is open to anyone interested in criminal justice.
  • Alvernia also offers many organizations, clubs and activities outside of your major, and you’re encouraged to get involved. You can learn more about Alvernia’s Student Government Association, becoming a Student Ambassador, student trips and other activities at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/activities.
  • The Holleran Center for Community Engagement serves as a bridge between the University and the community. The Center partners with a variety of organizations to provide Alvernia students opportunities to serve. You might volunteer to work at the Lutheran Home Care and Hospice Center or volunteer at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center. You can read more about volunteer opportunities at http://alvernia.edu/about/holleran-center.
AFTER AU

Graduates of Alvernia’s Behavioral Health program enjoy a very high employment placement rate, and members of the Career Services Office are available to offer job search advice and help you prepare for your job search.






behavioral health

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