Earn Your Mental Health Degree Online
- Accredited by NECHE
- Transfer up to 90 credits
- Prepare for a career helping others
- Earn a data literacy certificate
- No application fee or SAT/ACT scores required
Mental Health Degree Concentration Program Overview
Designed to deepen your understanding of human behavior, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health at Southern New Hampshire University can prepare you to pursue graduate degrees in clinical psychology and counseling.
But that's not the only route the mental health concentration can provide. This concentration appeals to many students because it gives you more flexibility to pursue careers outside the field.
Skills transfer to additional areas ranging from social services to human resource departments to marketing and public relations firms. Additionally, you'll have 39 free electives and the opportunity to earn an embedded Certificate of Data Literacy in Psychology, making this a results-driven and transfer-friendly program to join.
What You'll Learn
- Adherence to ethical standards
- Implementation of scientific approaches
- Counseling techniques and psychological testing
- Personality theories
- Familiarity with psychometric techniques
How You'll Learn
At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom, and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.
8 Types of Psychology with Real-World Perspective
The study of psychology can be personally and professionally rewarding. Among the many concentrations in the field you can find diverse opportunities to learn about how people interact with one another in relationships, in the workplace and more.
Mental Health Career Outlook
The field of psychology – and mental health, in particular – offers so many options.
"Depending on an individual’s interests, passions, career, community and educational goals, there really is an exceptional fit for most professionals,” said Dr. Nicole Martinez, an adjunct psychology instructor at SNHU.
Today, people with mental illness and professionals in the field are fighting to counter the stigma associated with disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youths (ages 6-17) experience mental illness each year.1
And as more people come forward for treatment, more counselors are sought to treat them.
While becoming a licensed counselor most often requires additional education and training, which can vary by state, this mental health degree can prepare you for graduate studies, such as SNHU's online master's in clinical mental health counseling or master's in psychology online. With the solid foundation in the assessment and counseling process that this degree provides, you'll be ready to succeed in graduate counseling or psychology programs.
Students often choose the mental health concentration because they have a passion for helping others and want to better the world. The broad range of career possibilities includes:
Social Services Assistant
Connect clients to services in a wide variety of fields, including psychology, rehabilitation and social work. A bachelor's in psychology with a concentration in mental health can give you the communication skills you need to be successful.
Human Resources Manager
Recruit, interview and place workers, manage employee relations and oversee compensation, benefits and training. Your mental health concentration can prepare you to work with a team and facilitate these essential processes.
Provide social services to assist the rehabilitation of law offenders in custody, on probation or on parole, and connect them with community services. A degree in psychology can help prepare you to manage these complex situations and relationships.
In these roles and others, you might find yourself assisting mental health professionals in residential or outpatient settings. facilitating support groups, working in a correctional facility or probation department or possibly assisting in hiring processes. You could even design job-related trainings, assist with market research projects, or help create public relations campaigns. The opportunities are plenty.
Students in this program have experiential learning opportunities to better understand community-based mental health services. These practical experiences can also provide the chance to network with potential employers.
Note: This mental health degree doesn't lead to any type of licensure and certification. It does not directly qualify you for positions that require additional education and state licensure, like a role as a clinical mental health counselor or clinical psychologist.
If you are interested in pursuing a licensed profession – such as clinical mental health counselor – you’ll need additional education in a graduate program, like SNHU’s master's in clinical mental health counseling. You’ll also need to fulfill your state’s specific requirements for licensure.
Job Growth and Salary
A degree in psychology can open you to a vast world of career opportunities. Many psychology-related careers are projecting a steady increase in demand over the coming years.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sees the need for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors growing 22% through 2031 – much faster than average.2 If clinical or graduate work isn't the best fit for you, earning your mental health degree can position you for roles like market research analyst, which could see 19% growth.
Although salaries can vary by region and responsibility, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that market research analysts earned a median annual salary of $63,920 in May 2021. 2
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Mental Health Degree Concentration
Why SNHU for Your Degree in Mental Health
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
As part of our mission to make higher education more accessible, we’re committed to keeping our tuition rates low. In fact, we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
Prior coursework could also help you save time and money. SNHU’s transfer policy allows you to transfer up to 90 credits toward your bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institutions—that means you could save up to 75% off the cost of tuition. You could also save time and money by getting college credit for previous work experience, or by taking advantage of military discounts and employer tuition assistance if available to you.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 160,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), a regional accreditor, which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- U.S. News & World Report named SNHU the 2021 Most Innovative University in the North and one of the nation's "Best Regional Universities"
- Awarded the 21st Century Distance Learning Award for Excellence in Online Technology by The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 300,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
93.6% of online students would recommend SNHU (according to a 2022 survey with 17,000+ respondents). Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Expanding access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials:
- Completed free undergraduate application
- Prior transcripts, which we can retrieve at no cost to you
- Test scores are not required as part of your application
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
How to Apply
If you’re ready to apply, follow these simple steps to get the process going:
- Complete a free undergraduate application
- Submit any additional documents required
- Work with an admission counselor to explore financial options and walk through the application process
If you have questions or need help filling out your application, call 1.888.387.0861 or email email@example.com.
Develop Skills That Serve Your Community
Tiffany Daniels, adjunct instructor
"Now, more than ever, we need mental health professionals to serve their communities. With a concentration in mental health, not only will students gain personal insights into their own experiences, but they will also develop valuable academic and occupational skills that will prepare them for what comes next."
Courses & Curriculum
SNHU's degree in mental health focuses on applying the theory you'll learn in class to a community-based service organization as you prepare to graduate. You'll gain a comprehensive understanding of the concepts and principles involved with therapy and assessment.
Psychology student Candace Gibbs '21 gained information in her classes that has helped her in her personal life, too.
"SNHU has not only enabled me to be a better mother to my son who has autism," she said, "but has also put me on the pathway to ultimately help my community."
In your mental health program, you'll have experiential learning opportunities that can help you enhance your skills through projects you can show future employers. You also can choose to do an internship – another option to make you more marketable in the workforce.
The online format of the program allows you to participate and learn when it works best for you without sacrificing community and support. SNHU can also help you succeed with a variety of aids, including dedicated advisors, online tutoring and a writing center.With the mental health concentration, you'll get to take an experiential learning course, which can help you better understand the direction you'd like to take your career and enhance your skills through real-world practice. In addition, the curriculum allows you to take an optional internship, giving you more ways to add valuable experiences to your resume.
If mental health is not the area of psychology you'd like to study, SNHU's online psychology degree offers 5 other concentrations: addictions, applied psychology, social psychology, in addition to a child psychology degree concentration and forensic psychology degree concentration.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
The embedded certificate in Data Literacy in Psychology, provided to all eligible students in this degree program, helps you develop the sought-after knowledge and skills needed to synthesize data and effectively communicate your findings. Embedded means that it is earned as you complete your core psychology courses and is awarded when the degree is completed.
All bachelor's students are required to take general education classes. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
Earn Math Credits
Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment. For additional information, or to register for a Pathways to Math Success assessment, contact your admission counselor or academic advisor today.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|BA in Psychology - Mental Health|
|Courses May Include|
|BA in Psychology Mental Health Psychology|
|PSY 108||Introduction to Psychology||In this course, students will explore the complexities of the human mind by examining the science behind why we think, feel, and do. Students will experience the evolution of psychology through the early schools of thought, major branches, and core theories that guide contemporary perspectives. As students consider the broad influence of psychology on their perceptions, emotions, and everyday choices, they will acknowledge the idea that, in the human experience, "psychology is everywhere."|
|PSY 223||Research I: Statistics for Psychology||How do psychologists organize, summarize, and interpret information? Students in this course study applications of statistical methods in psychological research and practice. The emphasis of the course is on the conceptual understanding of statistics so that students can read and conduct psychological research; those skills will be applied to students' original projects in Research II: Scientific Investigations. Computation of tests will be conducted on the computer. Students will build upon statistical knowledge and develop an in-depth conceptual and practical understanding of hypothesis testing, tests of significance, standardization, correlation, and analysis of variance in a wide variety of psychological uses. Students will learn the theory of statistical decisions, practical application of statistical software, and how to analyze journal articles. This course typically should be completed during the first semester of the sophomore year.|
|PSY 224||Research II: Scientific Investigations||Students in this course will develop an understanding a variety of research methods, including experimental, survey, correlation and case-history techniques. They will become aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each method and understand when each method is best used. Writing intensive course.|
|PSY 315||Counseling Process and Techniques||This course examines the history and philosophy of specific helping professions in the fields of psychology, sociology and human services. Several broad theoretical perspectives will be studied and applied in role-play situations.|
|PSY 335||Assessment and Testing||Students in this course will become aware of the use and abuse of psychometric techniques. Specific techniques that currently are used will be introduced and understood. While knowledge about specific tests may be somewhat limited, students will obtain knowledge and the types of tests and techniques available.|
|PSY 444||Senior Seminar in Psychology (Capstone)||This capstone course integrates previous classroom and practical experience with a focus on current issues in psychology. This course likely will include cross-cultural aspects of psychology, ethics, recent career trends in psychology and other topics dictated by current events in psychology. Coverage may change over time, but the basic focus on integrating the past and anticipating the future for psychology seniors will be the major concern. Writing Intensive Course.|
|Total Credits: 120|
Minimum Hardware Requirements
PC (Windows OS)
Apple (Mac OS)
Currently supported operating system from Microsoft.
Currently supported operating system from Apple.
8GB or higher
8GB or higher
100GB or higher
100GB or higher
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
SNHU Purchase Programs
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
- Laptop or desktop? Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference and work style, though laptops tend to offer more flexibility.
- Note: Chromebooks (Chrome OS) and iPads (iOS) do not meet the minimum requirements for coursework at SNHU. These offer limited functionality and do not work with some course technologies. They are not acceptable as the only device you use for coursework. While these devices are convenient and may be used for some course functions, they cannot be your primary device. SNHU does, however, have an affordable laptop option that it recommends: Dell Latitude 3301 with Windows 10.
- Office 365 Pro Plus is available free of charge to all SNHU students and faculty. The Office suite will remain free while you are a student at SNHU. Upon graduation you may convert to a paid subscription if you wish. Terms subject to change at Microsoft's discretion. Review system requirements for Microsoft 365 plans for business, education and government.
- Antivirus software: Check with your ISP as they may offer antivirus software free of charge to subscribers.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
Tuition & Fees
As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
We also offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Undergraduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 30 credits|
|Degree/Certificates (U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*||$675||$225||$6,750|
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
Additional Costs No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with a degree in behavioral health?
A degree in behavioral health or mental health is the first step toward a rewarding career helping others. But the types of jobs available will depend on the specific degree you earn.
For example, a master’s degree or higher is required to gain licensure to work as a clinical mental health counselor. But earning a psychology bachelor’s degree can give you the knowledge you need to start a career right away.
Jobs for behavioral health bachelor’s degree holders include:2
- Social services assistant: Connect clients to services in a wide variety of fields, including psychology, rehabilitation and social work.
- Human resources: Recruit, interview and place workers, manage employee relations and oversee compensation, benefits and training.
- Market research analyst: Study market conditions and trends to examine the best sales strategy for a product or service.
- Public relations: Create and maintain a favorable public image for an organization, crafting media releases and guiding an organization’s online presence.
- Probation officer: Provide social services to assist the rehabilitation of law offenders in custody, on probation or on parole, and connect them with community services.
What's the difference between mental health and behavioral health?
While the terms mental health and behavioral health are often used interchangeably, there are some differences.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Our mental health impacts how we think, feel and act and determines how we handle stress and make decisions.3
Behavioral health is a broader term that looks at how behaviors impact someone’s physical and mental health. The behavioral health discipline includes the mental health field as well as other health fields, like substance abuse treatment, marriage and family counseling and chronic disease management.
What kind of degree do you need to be a mental health counselor?
A master’s degree is typically required to earn a license and work as a clinical mental health counselor. Master’s degree courses cover topics including research methods and program evaluation, group counseling, substance abuse disorders and diagnosis of emotional and mental disorders.
A master’s degree can also help prepare you to sit for a state licensure exam. While clinical mental health counseling licensing requirements vary, all involve the completion of at least a master’s degree, a certain amount of internship or post-degree supervised clinical experience and passage of a state-recognized exam.3 SNHU offers an accredited online master's degree in clinical mental health counseling if you're interested in taking this next step.
This mental health degree online also provides a strong foundation in the principles of psychology that will prepare you for graduate programs in psychology, which is the next step in becoming a clinical psychologist.
Can I be a mental health counselor with a bachelor's degree?
Working as a licensed mental health counselor requires at least a master’s degree.3 But a bachelor’s degree is an important first step toward a graduate degree and can help you get started working in the mental health field.
A bachelor’s degree in psychology with a focus on mental health can give you a strong understanding of human thought and behavior and the factors that influence them. This knowledge can prepare you for admission into master’s degree programs in mental health counseling, psychology and related fields.
SNHU’s mental health degree concentration also focuses on applying your coursework to real-world learning experiences, bridging the gap between theory and practice.
This hands-on experience can help you put your bachelor’s degree to work right away. Mental health bachelor's degree holders can work in social services, human resources, substance abuse, corrections, marketing and more.
How can I work in mental health without a degree?
Most mental health jobs require some kind of college degree, but you can start working in the field without advanced education or licensure. Earning a bachelor’s degree in mental health can provide many opportunities.
With a job as a social services assistant, you could help connect clients to key health and wellness services within a community, including mental health services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for social and human service assistants are projected to grow 12% by 2031.2
You could also apply your understanding of human behavior toward a career in substance abuse counseling. While working in private practice requires state licensure, there are opportunities in the field for bachelor's degree holders. Jobs for substance abuse counselors are projected to grow 22% by 2031, according to the BLS.2 Note that requirements for education and experience vary by state.
Is a mental health counselor a therapist?
The terms mental health counselor and therapist are often used to describe the same roles. Sometimes, however, the terms may be used to highlight a practitioner’s level of education or credentialing.
For example, mental health professionals with a master’s degree in counseling or a related field can typically gain licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).4
While the word therapist can be used to describe a licensed mental health counselor, it’s also often used to describe clinical psychologists. Psychologists need either a PhD in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree – and state licensure – before working in a clinical setting.4
How long does it take to get a mental health degree?
It depends. A bachelor’s degree in mental health typically takes about 4 years to complete, but your time until graduation could vary depending on your past educational experience.
SNHU has a generous transfer policy, allowing up to 90 credits to transfer to an undergraduate degree. If you transfer the maximum amount of credits, you could complete your degree in just 5 terms, or 10 courses.
"I transferred a year and a half’s worth of university credits into SNHU," said psychology student Anna Rose Zanin '22, "which will make my time of completion much quicker."
In addition, SNHU's flexible online student experience allows you to fit your education around your work and family commitments. With no set class meeting times, you can access online course materials 24/7.
"I wanted to study this program because it was the exact major and concentration that I felt would be most beneficial for my future career," said Zanin, "with the schedule that best fits my current lifestyle."
Your total education could take longer, however, if your career plans include earning an advanced degree.
Some psychology students will move on to a master’s degree online, or on campus, which typically takes about 2 years to complete. If your goals include working as a psychologist, it’s also possible to move straight into a research-based PhD or clinical-based PsyD doctoral program, which can take about 7 years to complete.
Is mental health a good career?
Demand for mental health services is growing, and so is the demand for mental health professionals. Because of this, mental health makes a great career for those looking to make a positive, long-lasting impact.
If you are someone who has always felt inclined to help others or have felt that people naturally gravitate towards you for advice, this may be the perfect field to explore. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors is projected to grow 22% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations2.
Is it too late to become a therapist?
No, it’s never too late to start a new career. Many people choose to pursue studies in psychology later in life due to life experience, making it a popular 2nd career. For instance, the average age of students in our master's in mental health counseling program is 34.
If you’ve ever considered going back to school, there is no better time than now to get started!
With six 8-week terms per year, you can start and finish your degree faster than you think.
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3, 4)
1 National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health by the Numbers, on the internet, at https://nami.org/mhstats (viewed July 13, 2022)
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-behavioral-disorder-and-mental-health-counselors.htm (viewed Oct. 25, 2022)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm (viewed Oct. 25, 2022)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm (viewed Oct. 25, 2022)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm (viewed Oct. 25, 2022)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm (viewed Oct. 25, 2022)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm (viewed Oct. 25, 2022)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm (viewed Oct. 25, 2022)
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.3 MentalHealth.gov, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, What Is Mental Health?, on the internet, at https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health (viewed July 13, 2022)
4 American Counseling Association, Licensure Requirements, on the internet, at https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/licensure-requirements (viewed July 13, 2022)