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Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling

Program

The Drexel Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling (BHC) prepares students for careers in mental health and addictions treatment. We offer a competency-based curriculum that addresses the growing need for skilled, direct service providers. BHC graduates are effective and caring professionals who contribute to the healing and well-being of people in recovery, families, and communities.

Our mission is rooted in the core values of service, compassion, initiative, respect, integrity, competence, and intellectual curiosity. The four-year program includes an optional six-month co-op, described in the curriculum section, and is designed for the full-time undergraduate student.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions is located at Drexel University's Center City Health Sciences campus, home to the Clinical Learning Resource Center. This center features a state-of-the-art standardized patient lab which facilitates student acquisition of counseling skills through structured interactions with actors simulating people in need of mental health or addictions treatment.

What you’ll learn

The focus of student learning in this major is on how to do a broad range of evidence-based practices associated with individual and group counseling, person-centered assessment and treatment planning, psychiatric rehabilitation, recovery-oriented treatment of substance-use disorders, child and family-focused interventions and other essential clinical skills in demand by behavioral health care employers.

Students select courses that reflect individual interests and that meet a variety of pre-professional development needs. High achieving students earn Certificates of Advanced Study that signal specialized knowledge and skill in specific areas of behavioral health counseling.

This unique major offers opportunities for on-the-job learning experiences through selected co-op placements or community service arrangements. Co-op students in the Behavioral Health Counseling major have enjoyed work experiences in a variety of behavioral health settings such as psycho-social rehabilitation centers, addictions treatment clinics, inpatient and partial hospitalization settings, children’s treatment services and related facilities.

What makes the Drexel Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling program unique?

  • Our faculty members are known for their research and clinical practice experience in the Greater Philadelphia region.
  • Skills-based co-operative employment experiences enhance the program with real-world knowledge application.
  • You are part of the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions with access to stimulating learning environments and interdisciplinary health care scenarios.
  • Our advanced, skills-based curriculum and innovative hands-on training far exceeds that found at most other undergraduate colleges and universities.  

Career Opportunities

Students confidently enter the workforce immediately upon graduation or go on to graduate school, in areas such as social work, counseling, or psychology, knowing that the quality of their education is well-recognized by leading universities throughout the United States.

Graduates easily find employment in behavioral health settings because they are widely acknowledged by the region's employers as being among the best prepared job applicants. This is particularly noteworthy given the increased employer demand for well-trained behavioral health care professionals.  Graduates typically find immediate employment in areas such as:

  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Family and child support services
  • Addictions counseling
  • Case management and services coordination
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Forensic mental health services
  • Crisis intervention

Starting salaries with a bachelor's degree range from $34,000 to $45,000 per year. 

The behavioral healthcare field is tremendously diverse and encompasses far more career opportunities than listed. Career choices exist at all levels of service—from direct care to administration and policy-making. Students will find tremendous benefit both in the employment listings and outreach offered by Drexel's Steinbright Career Development Center and in the diverse professional career experience our faculty brings to our students.

 

Admissions

For Entering Freshmen

To review admission prerequisites, visit the Admission Prerequisites page. 

To find admissions deadlines, apply online, check out financial aid information, and find the current schedule for open houses, visit the Undergraduate Admissions site.

For Transferring Students

Our transfer policies are specifically designed to accommodate students applying from other colleges. Transfer students may enter the program at any point and transfer a maximum of 90 semester credits (135 quarter credits). The courses and credit values show how many general education credits can be transferred in at the discretion of the program. (Please note: This program is offered in quarter credits, not semester credits. One semester credit is equal to 1.5 quarter credits; therefore, a bachelor's degree worth 120 semester credits is equal to 180 quarter credits.)

To review transfer instructions, visit the Transfer Instructions page.

For International Students

To review transfer instructions, visit the International Instructions page.

Tuition and Fee Rates
Please visit the Tuition and Fee Rates page on Drexel Central

COMPLIANCE

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Curriculum

Behavioral Health Counseling Co-op

Drexel University has long been known for its co-operative education programs, through which students mix periods of full-time, career-related employment with their studies. Co-op employment is a part of the Behavioral Health Counseling curriculum.

Co-operative employment experiences are directed toward activities that will expose students to the various work environments of behavioral health professionals. These work settings provide students with the opportunity to observe mental health and addictions professionals at work, while assessing their own potential and individualized interests in undertaking careers in behavioral health. In the past year Co-op students in the Behavioral Health Counseling major have been selected to work at a psycho-social rehabilitation center, a methadone clinic, and a psychiatric inpatient unit.

The Drexel co-op is paid and unpaid employment selected from a variety of clinical settings that match the interests, abilities, and aptitudes of the student.

For more information about the Drexel Co-op visit the Steinbright Career Development page at http://www.drexel.edu/scdc/

Accreditation

MSA: Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools

Program Level Outcomes

At Drexel University we believe that a well-formulated set of Program Level Outcomes [PLO] that support and are consistent with the institutional mission and goals are the building blocks of an effective assessment program. 

Click here to view the College of Nursing and Health Professions department of Behavioral Health Counseling Program Level Outcomes.

Career Opportunities

Students confidently enter the workforce immediately upon graduation or go on to graduate school, in areas such as social work, counseling, or psychology, knowing that the quality of their education is well-recognized by leading universities throughout the United States.

Graduates easily find employment in behavioral health settings because they are widely acknowledged by the region's employers as being among the best prepared job applicants. This is particularly noteworthy given the increased employer demand for well-trained behavioral health care professionals.  Graduates typically find immediate employment in areas such as:

  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Family and child support services
  • Addictions counseling
  • Case management and services coordination
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Forensic mental health services
  • Crisis intervention
Starting salaries with a bachelor's degree range from $34,000 to $45,000 per year. 

The behavioral healthcare field is tremendously diverse and encompasses far more career opportunities than listed. Career choices exist at all levels of service—from direct care to administration and policy-making. Students will find tremendous benefit both in the employment listings and outreach offered by Drexel's Steinbright Career Development Center and in the diverse professional career experience our faculty brings to our students. 

News & Events

01/19/16

Faculty members from the Behavioral Health Counseling (BHC) Department traveled to Seoul, Korea in November 2015, to present a workshop on a unique partnership with Project HOME, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and other services to men, women, and children in Philadelphia. Associate Clinical Professors Veronica Carey, PhD, and Lisa Schmidt, PhD, shared an innovative approach to teaching psychiatric rehabilitation skills in a community setting at the international meeting of the World Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR) – an event that was attended by 1,400 individuals representing 46 countries.

The workshop described Drexel’s advanced counseling course, BACS 420 Psychiatric Rehabilitation Competencies. This course conducts a couple of classes at the Project HOME site in Philadelphia, allowing students, service recipients, and staff to interact with one another on issues related to psychiatric rehabilitation. Students then have an opportunity to partner with one resident for the term, meeting several times to talk about recovery issues and what it’s like to go back to live, learn, work, and socialize, when you’re experiencing psychiatric symptoms. The partnership between Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling Department and Project HOME is entering its sixth year.

Carey stated “The workshop reflected well on Drexel’s initiatives to partner with the community, to not just educate our students, but also to build bridges with persons in the surrounding area of the behavioral health program.” The two BHC professors hope the lessons learned help launch similar initiatives internationally. Schmidt added, “Community-based learning is a model that’s been effective at Drexel and something that international conference attendees can adapt to their particular setting, especially if they are struggling to train staff in the latest skills in psychiatric rehabilitation.”

The pair also learned there is a stark contrast between U.S. mental health systems and those in other countries. For instance, Carey offered, “most Pacific Rim countries still rely on institutionalization to care for persons with serious mental illnesses.” Schmidt added, “We heard about places such as Bangladesh where there is only one Occupational Therapist in the entire country working with people recovering from serious mental illnesses.”  It was such an important opportunity to learn about and then bring back to the Drexel classroom what is happening around the world with respect to rehabilitation and mental health care.

With a majority of conference attendees from Seoul (1,000 individuals representing their professional workforce and student population), the event offered a glimpse into the Korean culture. For instance, Schmidt shared, “The welcome dinner opened with folk music and drumming from a group of high school students.” There were also opportunities for independent touring, which gave insight into Korean religion and architecture. Schmidt continued, “There were several ancient palaces within the city dating back to the 1400s that were very interesting to see.”

Another highlight of the trip – the two had an opportunity to connect with President Fry who was coincidentally hosting an alumni reception in Seoul for international students. Carey said, “It was a great opportunity to meet with families of Drexel’s international students and represent the College of Nursing and Health Professions.”

Overall, the conference offered a great opportunity to further several goals within the BHC Department. These include promoting the program internationally, encouraging others to incorporate community-based learning into their behavioral health education framework, and enriching Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling cultural competency curriculum. 

01/19/16

Patrick Kilduff, DO, MPT ‘98, a board-certified family doctor at InterMountain Medical Group in Shavertown, Pennsylvania, was named Best Family Doctor in the Back Mountain by Dallas Post newspaper.

Tobey Schilling, RN, MCAT ’90, has joined Penn Foundation, a behavioral health services center in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, as a psychiatric mental health certified registered nurse practitioner.

Sandy Sheller, MCAT ’04, CFT ’05, clinical director of independent projects for the Salvation Army of the Greater Philadelphia Area, was selected to serve on Mayor-Elect Jim Kenney's Transition Team.

Theresa Sims, RN, BSN ‘11, a cardiothoracic registered nurse and a volunteer with the American Diabetes Association, was a guest on the internet talk radio program, Saturday Morning with Joy Keys, to discuss diabetes awareness.

10/26/15

It’s often said that the road to success is not a straight line, but your experiences along the way define who you are. For Zach Stone, a 2011 graduate of Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling program, his path included risks, failures, and challenging the norm, but he always stayed true to his core beliefs.

“You need to help the community. You need to help others. It’s your role in the world as human beings to be there for one another,” said Stone, whose enthusiasm is contagious, even over the phone. In person, his effect is even stronger. Stone knows this, and has strategically capitalized on his strengths to create a unique yet impactful business called the Red Kite Project. It wasn’t easy finding his sweet spot, though, and Stone overcame significant adversity and uncertainty to get where he is today.

It took Stone a bit of time to come to the realization that he could turn his passions for counseling, crisis management and group facilitation into a successful business. In high school, Stone was exposed to gangs, violence, and a culture of apathy. In elementary school he was misdiagnosed with a learning disability, and struggled in traditional learning environments until college.

“I don’t know how I made it through,” said Stone, remembering more uncertain and chaotic times. What Stone did have, though, was a passion he was committed to following and a support system that reverberated community transformation and change.

As a teenager – and even today – Stone’s true passion was group facilitation, and he wasn’t afraid to admit that. His mother suggested he get involved with Help Increase the Peace, an organization focused on addressing violence in prisons and schools with gang violence, which snowballed into participation with other social impact groups. Stone knew he wanted to pursue his passions of helping others, building resiliency, and furthering his education, so he began his search for the right school to help him achieve his goals.

After spending some time at community college in Vermont, Stone ultimately returned to Pennsylvania and completed his associate’s degree at the Community College of Philadelphia. Still hungry for more, Stone enrolled in Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling program following his grandfather’s endorsement, and graduated less than two years later. “‘Drexel is for do-ers,” said Stone, remembering his grandfather’s advice. “When I got to Drexel, I realized he was right. It was where I honed my skills and got a graduate-level experience as an undergrad.”

Stone’s degree empowered him to co-found Red Kite Project and dive head-first into one of their first – and most significant – contracts. SEPTA approached Stone and Charlotte DiBartolomeo, CEO, and asked if they could help improve employee performance. Through innovative methods borrowed from post-war and conflict zones like Bosnia and Rwanda, as well as techniques and philosophies learned at Drexel,Stone and DiBartolomeo delivered for SEPTA. For the past five years they have helped reduce assaults on SEPTA employees by nearly 65% and reduced absenteeism of new hires by 50% during the same time period.

The exceptional results achieved during the SEPTA contract piqued interest from the transportation industry, but also drew attention from the medical and military industries. Red Kite Project is now pioneering resiliency building and trauma healing programs to help new companies the same way they helped Septa. “Collaborating with organizations like Apple, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Penn Medicine and the Department of State brings us great honor,” said Stone. “It’s where our future is.”

Now that Stone’s role is shifting away from facilitation and towards strategy and business development, he can focus more on enhancing his product and integrating technology and continued learning into Red Kite Project’s training models.

Stone believes that Red Kite Project should mirror tech start-ups and stay adaptable and agile in dynamic environments. He also remains fully committed to his core principle that organizations need to give back to their communities. “We want to make sure we have a really strong role in our community, wherever that is, because we believe that if we help take care of the city, it will take care of us.”

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