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Help people overcome challenges and hardships as a social services behavioral health professional. Choose from certificate programs that prepare you for immediate employment and associate degree options for transfer to a four-year college.


Well-trained, compassionate mental health professionals are critical in helping people overcome challenges and hardships, and live better, happier lives. Pierce College's Social Services Behavioral Health program trains such professionals to interview, provide counseling and crisis intervention, conduct assessments, and coordinate treatment programs in a variety of settings. Program graduates are ready to work in entry-level positions in group homes, community mental health centers, work release and correctional programs, family and youth service agencies, psychiatric care facilities, and many others.

Pierce's Social Service Behavioral Health program incorporates strong academic and classroom training with specialized coursework designed to give students the practical knowledge, values, and skills they'll need in the workforce.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts careers in the social service behavioral health field to grow at a very high rate of 17 percent. Trained professionals are needed to help meet this growing demand.


The Associate of Arts – Direct Transfer Agreement (AA-DTA) option transfers to any public or private four-year college or university. The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Social Service Behavioral Health transfers directly to The Evergreen State College.

Transfer Institution Information

Course Maps

Students must have a GED or high school diploma.

Certificates can be earned in about a year (36 credits). The associate degree options take about two years (90-plus credits).

All classes are held at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood.

Note: Some funding sources require either the AAS or certificate, and will not fund the AA-DTA. If you receive funding from BFET, WorkFirst, or Worker Retraining you must choose the AAS option or certificate in SSBH. If you receive Opportunity Grant, it is advised that you contact the Opportunity Grant Manager to determine what is allowed for your specific case. Federal Student Aid (Financial Aid) and Veteran's Educational Benefits will fund either the AAS or AA-DTA with Certificate.

Career Pathway Course Maps