For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

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

05/01/17

Very few individuals can gather enough experience before going to college to be absolutely sure of their chosen major, especially when following the traditional path of starting the fall after high school graduation. Health Services Administration senior, Toni Ross, is one of the few who can say that her experiences before coming to Drexel undeniably revealed the path she wanted to pursue. But Toni Ross is anything but traditional.
 
Ross said that what she’s interested in is rather complex. “I hope to merge my experience with emergency management and disaster preparedness with the healthcare industry. I want to guarantee that medical professionals and the community-at-large are ready for large-scale disasters and emergencies,” she stated. “My dream job would be working at a facility as an emergency planner.” You might ask where she gained the kind of knowledge that would lead her to want to do something that specific. Her answer would be, “the United States Air Force.” Ross spent 12 years in the military where her jobs included maintenance scheduler for F-16s in Saudi Arabia, graduate medical program clerkship coordinator at Travis Air Force Base and tactical operations center coordinator in Afghanistan. 
 
Early on in her military career, she received some great advice from her supervisor who, at the time, was having a difficult time finding a job. He said, “Listen kid, make sure you’re marketable when you get out of here. The military is going to get what it wants out of you, so you have to get what you want out of them.” Ross did some research before re-enlisting and found that the healthcare industry was poised for growth; she would be able to get a job as well as an education. That’s when her focus in the Air Force turned toward healthcare administration. Her first job out of tech school was in air medical evacuation. “It was awesome. I didn’t go on any missions. We just retrieved individuals on the ground,” she said. “I did become certified in driving a one-and-a-half ton truck and a learned how to parallel park a 24-passenger bus,” Ross pointed out. “I’m out of practice, so I wouldn’t dare try to park a bus now.” 
 
While deployed to Afghanistan, she coordinated and tracked 700 medical evacuation missions and 172 local and coalition patient transfers. Ross managed 10 emergency blood and medical resupply missions to forward operating locations and prepared at least 125 classified briefings for the Craig Joint Theater Hospital commander and executive staff. Her positions at Travis Air Force Base furthered her experience in healthcare administration as she coordinated medical student clinical rotations, created job position manuals, vetted executive staff, proctored privacy tests and increased facility compliance among other duties.
 
Ross returned home to Philadelphia after she was discharged and, needing a place to land, she moved in with her parents who were aging and needed some help. “I knew I wanted to go back to school, so I started at the Goodwin College of Professional Studies, but it didn’t work out,” she conveyed. “It’s a lot different from when I was 17 years old at Eastern University.” Because she needed a job, she started working at a non-profit organization. That’s when she found a flyer for Veterans Upward Bound. She doubted what the flyer stated, that there was a free program for veterans to go to school, so she called and got program director, Diane Sandefur on the phone. “I went into their office and met their fantastic staff. Tyrone Williams, Diane’s right hand, helped me enroll in courses there, like how to navigate college life. Then I was ready to return to Drexel,” added Ross. She met with Health Services Administration Chair Kristine Mulhorn, PhD before coming back. Mulhorn shared her belief in Ross and cautioned that pursuing a degree was one of the most selfish things a person could do. Ross took that to mean she would have to prepare those individuals who had come to solely depend on her. “I told them that I needed to do this and that they would be on their own for a little while. I’ve been here ever since,” she said. 
 
Ross is preparing to graduate in June and has been looking for a job. She attends different networking events and is up until late at night researching opportunities and companies. She wants to move back to California to be near her son, so that aspect sets another challenge to overcome. She’s put a lot of thought into what she wants to do. That is really helpful when looking for a job. 
 
“Initially, my ideal job was at FEMA. I wanted to be a liaison with local hospitals to make sure their staffs were trained for everything we plan for but don’t really think about,” she shared. That led her to thinking about being an emergency planner for a hospital or other facility. “I want to make sure they are prepared and trained for anything and everything thinking far outside the box,” Ross explained. “I want to work with the Red Kite Project developed by Drexel alumnus Zach Stone BHC ‘11. They are doing very important work in conflict management and being trauma-informed,” she noted. “If they could take that program and put it in a healthcare system or hospital to help providers and staff de-escalate situations and be prepared for various circumstances like active shooters, they would know how to respond and react instinctually.” This, in Ross’ mind, holds true for natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina when she worked as a national disaster medical system liaison. She was stationed in Northern California, but she was able to help facilitate bed movement so those affected by that disaster were placed in a safer environment.
 
When asked if she feels like Drexel had prepared her for her future, she has very strong feelings. “Right out of the gate, my program emphasized developing leadership skills and thinking beyond your walls, boundaries and education,” Ross explained. “Drexel exposes you to many other perspectives you may never have considered.” She recounted her experience in Mulhorn’s disabilities studies class where she got the opportunity to learn about activists and advocates who happened to be handicapped. “Now I’m looking at the world from their experience,” she added.
 
Ross noted that within her classes, discussions around career management and reactions to real world scenarios happened often to better prepare students for entering the workforce. “My professors share themselves with every student bringing different aspects of the healthcare industry to the classroom,” she said. When asked if she had a favorite class or professor her answer was simple — all of them. 
 
Her previous experience in the military didn’t include clinical settings, more supporting roles, however, Ross feels it is vital for administrators to not just work in one or the other. She feels they need both because administrators are needed everywhere. “We have a saying in the Air Force — 4AO, ‘we’re in demand and we’re indispensable.'” It is a motto they all took to heart and knew that they could go anywhere and do anything. “While I was deployed in Afghanistan, I worked in a support intelligence role in a hospital. I can apply those skills in any setting,” asserted Ross. 
 
There are many things that both the military and Drexel taught her, but it seems that the most important thing that Health Services Administration helped her realize is that anything can be done. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a Drexel Dragon. I will make sure that I leave here and have a great impact on the community, and represent Drexel in a positive way,” articulated Ross.

Written by Roberta Perry
 
 

 

02/16/17

On January 11, US News and World Report published their 2017 Best Jobs list and 52 of the top 100 are in health care. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant are number two and three on that list with no surprise as the demand for more skilled health care professionals skyrockets. Susannah Snider, personal finance editor at U.S. News said in a press release about the jobs list, "Health care jobs often require a human element, so they can't be exported or entirely replaced by robots – at least not yet.
 
“Continued growth in the health care sector, low unemployment rates and high salaries make these jobs especially desirable. Plus, individuals can pursue a range of health care positions that require varying levels of skill and education," furthered Snider. While the opportunities for PAs and NPs expand practically every specialty — orthopedics, endocrinology, cardiology, pediatrics — a reported 80% of nurse practitioners choose primary care whereas a study from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) states physician assistants tend to practice outside of primary care. 
 
Regardless of the position a person chooses, it’s all good news for CNHP. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics cited nurse practitioner and physician assistant among the fastest growing occupations with 35% and 30% growth respectively. This expansion can be attributed to a few factors including a move to patient-centered care models and an aging population. But another reason is the expansion of coverage for an additional 20 million people through Affordable Care Act. “The ACA recognized physician assistants as an essential part of the solution to the primary care shortage by formally acknowledging them as one of the three primary care health providers,” said Patrick Auth, PhD, MS, PA-C, CNHP clinical professor and department chair. “They also committed to expanding the number of PAs by providing financial support for scholarships and loan forgiveness programs, as well as by funding the training of 600 new PAs,” he continued.
 
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed millions of Americans to have access to insurance to pay for the cost of their health care. That meant hospitals and providers reduced their cost of indigent care.  While these figures have presented a hopeful outlook on what new health care reform may mean, one recent report has portrayed a potentially much different outcome.
 
The study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund revealed repealing the ACA, likely starting with the insurance premium tax credits and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility would result in a doubling in the number of uninsured Americans while having widespread economic and employment impacts. In 2019, the study predicts a loss of 2.6 million jobs nation-wide, primarily in the private sector, with around a third of them in the health care industry. Pennsylvania could see around 137,000 jobs lost. 
 
Elizabeth W. Gonzalez, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, associate professor and department chair of the doctoral nursing program and Kymberlee Montgomery, DrNP, CRNP-BC, CNE ’09, associate clinical professor and department chair of the nurse practitioner program, both suggest that it is too early to tell what any real impact will be to healthcare or employment. “The ACA also lowered Medicare spending by allowing people to enter into share savings plans with accountable care organizations where providers are reimbursed based on the quality, not the quantity, of their services,” Gonzalez said. “This emphasis on quality has resulted in significant savings, lower cost of health care for seniors, individuals with disabilities, low income families, and children. The ACA encourages a focus on the patient experience and this has led to some wonderful innovations because clinicians are being paid to focus on ways to enhance the quality of the care they provide patients,” she added. 
 
“The Affordable Care Act introduced patients to the role of the nurse practitioner. Patients were forced to see us for primary care — nurse practitioners provided care at a lower cost,” stated Montgomery. “Now patients want to see us because of the level of care we provided.” There are just so many unknowns where the ACA is concerned. While the current administration seems determined to repeal the law, they haven’t yet put forth a replacement that will provide affordable healthcare for those who would undoubtedly lose what they currently have. It’s uncertain whether a new law might be proposed that would guarantee that no jobs created under the ACA are lost or if patient outcomes will decline.” But both Gonzalez and Montgomery feel that advanced practice nursing will continue to be a cost effective way to deliver outstanding clinical services. While it’s tough to speculate, Montgomery thinks opportunities for nurse practitioners will continue to grow regardless. “Who knows, it might make it better for the nurse practitioner especially because we provide high-quality, comprehensive care at lower costs,” she said.

By: Roberta Perry and Kinzey Lynch `17

 

01/24/17

The Mannequin Challenge was one of the most widespread trends of the past year. As 2016 drew to a close, the CNHP marketing and communications team found a way to use the challenge to ring in the holidays with the College.
 
So was born the 1st Annual CNHP Holiday Challenge. Departments throughout CNHP were invited to submit their best versions of a festive Mannequin Challenge. Entrants were judged by the interim dean and associate deans of the College based on creativity, humor, and execution. The winner would be presented with a trophy for their team to display, along with bragging rights throughout 2017. It is the hope that the theme of this annual holiday contest would change. Each year the theme would reflect a popular or current trend.
 
Three groups entered the 2016 challenge. CNHP operations and assessment department set their submission to Christmas Vacation while Behavioral Health Counseling went for an oldie, but goodie, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree. The third department and the winner of the 1st Annual CNHP Holiday Challenge was the marketing and communications team whose challenge was set to the tune It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. 
 
Winners and runner ups were announced before the holiday break. Be sure to enter your department in next year's Holiday Video Challenge.
More News & Events