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Mental & Social Health Services Major

Mental and social health services is a major that typically falls into the Health Professions category.

There are 378 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in mental health services, 122 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 487 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 59 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Mental Health Services Degree?

Mental and social health services is one of the least chosen majors in the country, ranked #108 in popularity. About 3,000 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field in 2017. This major is dominated by women with about 82% of recent graduates being female.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of mental health services majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 3.1%
  • Black or African American: 17.6%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 12.8%
  • White: 57.8%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 0.9%
  • Other Races: 7.8%
Mental & Social Health Services Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in mental health services. About 0.9% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending mental health services majors to the U.S. are Canada, China and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as a Mental & Social Health Services Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to mental health services to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Mental Health Services Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Mental & Social Health Services Majors

Skills for Mental Health Services Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to mental health services:

Important Skills for Mental & Social Health Services Majors

Abilities for Mental Health Services Majors

As you progress with your mental health services degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

Important Abilities for mental health services Majors

What Can You Do With a Mental Health Services Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with mental health services:

Careers Related to Mental & Social Health Services
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Genetic Counselors



Healthcare Social Workers



Counseling Psychologists



Marriage and Family Therapists



Community Health Workers



Social Work Professors



Mental Health Counselors



Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors






Psychiatric Aides



Mental & Social Health Services Major Salary

Mental health services majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $48,000 to $78,000. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Mental Health Services Major  ( 48000 to 78000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Mental & Social Health Services Major Jobs

Some careers associated with mental health services require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for mental health services careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Mental & Social Health Services
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Mental & Social Health Services Programs

There are 122 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in mental and social health services, with 40 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Getting your degree online is not easy and includes watching and listening to hours of lectures, participating in group charts, submitting papers by the appropriate deadline and taking tests. Some online programs will also feature internships or in-person clinical hours.

Is a Mental & Social Health Services Major Worth It?

The median salary for a mental health services grad is $54,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 39% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $305,000 after 20 years!

mental and social health services salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Staff Sgt. Katie Spencer via License

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