Behavioral Health

OVERVIEW

Behavioral health refers generally to how a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors impact their overall health, wellness and social functioning. The most common problems addressed by behavioral health professionals are addictions and other mental health issues. The field of behavioral health deals with the prevention, intervention, treatment and sustained recovery from addictions and other forms of mental illness.

Alvernia’s Bachelor of Art in Behavioral Health degree provides students with a solid core of knowledge and skills to prepare them for professional positions in areas such as counseling, case management, prevention, administration and other areas in the behavioral healthcare field.  With its connections to the closely related disciplines of psychology, social work and criminal justice, the BA in Behavioral Health is designed to develop the broad-based competencies necessary to address the many challenges presented by today’s complex behavioral health problems.

Students who major in Behavioral Health will find their educational experience both enriching and enjoyable.  Coursework is designed with a practice-based emphasis grounded in current theory and evidence-based practices. This critical connection between theory and practice allows for the synthesis of knowledge and skills that can be directly applied in the real world.

At Alvernia, Behavioral Health majors also complement quality classroom education with 400 hours of field placements in approved agencies.  Such placements give Behavioral Health majors valuable exposure to and experience in actual clinical environments prior to graduation.

With almost 40 years of history, Alvernia’s Behavioral Health degree is one of the oldest and best of its kind to be found at the college or university level. In 2018 it was ranked #10 among the Top 25 Small Colleges for Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees by SR Education Group (sreducationgroup.org).

The BA in Behavioral Health is available fully online and in traditional classroom settings offered at Alvernia’s main campus in Reading as well as our Pottsville and Philadelphia campuses. Why wait? Get started on your journey to this exciting career today!

WHY AU

Why should you study Behavioral Health at Alvernia University? Because at Alvernia you get all the benefits of an outstanding university education in a manageable setting with personal attention and unique opportunities that can benefit you as you move toward your career.

Alvernia’s Behavioral Health Program is well known and well respected. Founded in 1978, the Addiction Studies program was one of the first of its kind in the nation. Alvernia has been delivering excellence in behavioral health education continuously for the past 40 years. In 2018 Alvernia’s BA in Behavioral Health was ranked #10 among the Top 25 Small Colleges for Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees by SR Education Group (sreducationgroup.org).

Small Class Size
Alvernia has an average 12:1 student-faculty ratio, and most classes contain less than 20 students. This facilitates valuable, professional relationships among faculty members and students. In these small class settings, you get individual attention to help you excel.

Faculty Who Care
Alvernia’s Behavioral Health faculty members aren’t just teachers or college professors. They’re highly regarded experts in their respective fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to students.  Most importantly, they’re eminently qualified and eager to help you succeed as a future behavioral health professional.

Behavioral Health faculty members possess significant clinical and administrative experience in various settings related to addiction, mental health and other areas of the behavioral healthcare continuum.  They understand the many challenges facing today’s behavioral health professionals because they successfully deal with these challenges every day. They include seasoned clinicians, supervisors and mangers, serve as board members of prestigious organizations, and routinely present at conferences both nationally and internationally.

Research Opportunities
Alvernia offers opportunities for many students to work with faculty members on research projects relating to their areas of concentration. This collaboration prepares students for professions and/or graduate school.

Honors Program
Alvernia’s Honors Program for students who are academically gifted and highly motivated is designed to allow students to work at their own pace and to recognize and encourage academic excellence. Honors students interact with one another to exchange ideas and information across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

The Honors Program offers co-curricular activities, service opportunities and intellectual and social support to encourage students to exceed their own expectations.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Honors Programs at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors.

Get Real
Classroom learning is valuable and necessary, but out-of-the-classroom, experiential learning provides management students with hands-on, real world learning opportunities that enrich your educational experience and are highly valued by employers.

You’ll have opportunities to participate in field experiences, community service, campus events and other experiences to help you stretch and grow toward your full potential.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Get Real program at www.alvernia.edu/getreal.

Study Abroad
Living and studying outside of the United States can change you in ways you can’t begin to envision. Students who study abroad typically gain immeasurable confidence and experiences they could not have imagined.

Behavioral Health majors have benefitted from participation in study abroad programs in countries including New Zealand, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, China and Mexico.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Study Abroad program at www.alvernia.edu/studyabroad.

YOUR CAREER

Behavioral health is a dynamic and growing field with an increasing need for qualified, professional employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder professionals is projected to increase by 31 percent between 2012 and 2022, a rate much higher than the average for all occupations. 

With a BA in Behavioral Health, you might find employment with an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation center, a hospital, or an agency that serves children. You might work in a mental health facility, for a corporate employee-assistance program, or within the criminal justice system. You may work as a counselor, a case manager, a prevention specialist or a client advocate.  The possibilities and opportunities for meaningful employment and professional advancement are as dynamic as the field of behavioral health itself.

Graduates of Alvernia’s Behavioral Health program enjoy a very high employment placement rate, and members of the Career Services Office are available to offer job search advice and help you prepare for your job search.

Alvernia’s Behavioral Health courses are approved by the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB), the foremost drug and alcohol credentialing organization in the state. Certification by the PCB is reciprocal among other U.S. States and internationally. A BA in Behavioral Health fulfills the requirement for certification and re-certification of addiction counselors by the PCB.

For more information about Alvernia’s Behavioral Health program contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or admissions@alvernia.edu.

YOUR CURRICULUM

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to complete a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. All Behavioral Health students must complete the following courses within the major. (Note: “C” grade or higher must be obtained for all BH courses)

BH 201 Foundations of Chemical Dependency
BH 202 Origins of Mental Illness
BH 204 Counseling Theories
BH 230 Assessment and Evaluation
BH 303 Counseling Techniques I
BH 305 Group Counseling I
BH 310 Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling 
BH 330 Crisis Intervention
BH Practicums (404, 405, 406, 407) 12 credits/400 hours of field experience total

PSY 101 Introduction to Psychology
PSY 208 Development Across the Lifespan
PAY 215 Multicultural Psychology 

Students must also choose three major elective courses from BH, CJ, PSY or SW (6 credits must be at 300-400 level)

Behavioral Health Elective Courses Include:

BH 240 Addictive Behaviors
BH 300 Case Management
BH 304 Counseling Techniques II
BH 306 Group Counseling I
BH 315 Treatment Planning and Case Conceptualization
BH 320 Neuropharmacology
BH 400 Marriage and Family Counseling
BH 402 Management of Human Service Agencies
BH 411 Counseling Special Populations -OR- BH 413 Special Issues Seminar

You can learn more about all courses offered by Alvernia University by viewing the 2015-2016 Academic Course Catalogue at http://www.alvernia.edu/academics/catalogs/Catalog_2015-16/index.html.

Your Real World Learning Experience
Alvernia believes that real world experience is extremely important, as it can improve your confidence and introduce you to professionals in your intended field of employment.

As a Behavioral Health major, you’ll not only benefit from faculty members who have extensive knowledge and experience in a variety of professional settings, you’ll also get the opportunity for first-hand learning during two field placements.

The Alvernia University Behavioral Health program provides a variety of field practice sites, and faculty members will help you to choose those that best correspond to your particular interests and talents. You might complete a field experience in a hospital, rehabilitation clinic, social service agency, mental health facility, crisis center or school.

You can also gain real world experience by seeking out opportunities on your own. These may include:

  • Volunteering at a hotline or crisis center
  • Attending 12-Step meetings
  • Volunteering as a tutor
  • Enhancing your knowledge of community issues
  • Becoming involved in community organizations

You can find out more about Alvernia’s commitment to real world learning at www.alvernia.edu/academics/experiential_learning.

Research Opportunities
Research is a valuable aspect of any education. Healthcare faculty members at Alvernia conduct research in a variety of areas.

As a Behavioral Health major, there may be opportunity for you to assist in faculty research, and to benefit from knowledge gained through faculty research.

The Honors Program
If you’re academically gifted and highly motivated, you may want to learn more about Alverania’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Honors students have opportunities to take courses dealing with unusual topics and participate in a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Honors Program and how to apply at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors/index.html.

If you are an nontraditional adult student, you might want to join the Alvernia University chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL), the premier national honor society for adult learners. The organization recognizes the special achievements of adults who achieve academic excellence despite competing interests of home and work. ASL is the oldest and largest chapter-based honor society for full and part-time students in the country.

The Eight-Semester Plan
You can do it! It’s easy to stay on track to graduate in four years if you pay close attention to what classes you need and make sure to take them in a timely manner. Advisors are available to assist in planning academic programs, course selection and registration, but it’s your job to make sure that you meet all academic requirements and comply with University policies.

You can greatly enhance your university experience by participating in activities both on and off campus. Start planning well in advance for your clinical experience or other off-campus experience, as you’ll need to assure that you will be able to complete all required coursework.

Study Opportunities beyond Campus
Your college years are the perfect time to broaden your horizons and participate in experiences that can change your life. Alvernia offers some great opportunities for students who want to spend some time studying beyond its campus.

The Washington Center
The University’s O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service manages a relationship with The Washington Center, an organization that offers residential academic programs and internships in the nation’s capital.

If you participate in The Washington Center program, you might be placed in an internship in a government agency or a non-profit organization. You can learn more about the Washington Center and opportunities there at www.alvernia.edu/about/ethics-and-leadership/washington.html.

Study Abroad Programs
Alvernia’s Study Abroad Office works closely with students who want to spend one or more semesters in a different country. Behavioral Health students have studied and traveled in Italy, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, England, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Morocco, Palestine and China.

You pay the regular Alvernia tuition while studying abroad, and continue to receive financial aid, if applicable. Credits earned count toward your Alvernia undergraduate degree.

If you’re interested in studying in another country you should start planning early, as you’ll need to start the application process about a year in advance.

You can get more information about these programs from the Study Abroad Office at www.alvernia.edu/studyabroad or by contacting studyabroad@alvernia.edu.

YOUR SERVICES

Alvernia is committed to serving the needs of its students. Whether you have questions or problems related to academics, life on campus, student activities, social activities or any other issue, there is someone available to help you. You can learn more about all student services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/student-services.

Academic Success Center
The Academic Success Center offers advice and support to help you with any problems or issues related to your Alvernia education. It also assists with career exploration and preparation. The office is open every day and can be contacted at 610-796-8266.

Career Services
Staff members at the Career Development office will help you with any questions you have about exploring or planning careers. They also will guide you about how to look for and apply to jobs as you get closer to graduation. The office also has a career resources library. You can learn more about career services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/career-services, or by emailing career.services@alvernia.edu.

Financial Aid
The Financial Aid office is the place to contact with any questions you have about the cost of an Alvernia education and options for paying for it. Nearly all undergraduates at Alvernia get some type of financial aid, and everyone is encouraged to apply for it. You can learn more at www.alvernia.edu/financialaid/index.html or by emailing financialaid@alvernia.edu.

Admissions Office
If you’re interested in applying to the Behavioral Health program at Alvernia, contact the Admissions Office at 610-796-3011 or at http://www.alvernia.edu/admissions/.

Faculty Members
Alvernia’s Behavioral Health faculty members are dedicated, highly qualified professionals who are committed to sharing their expertise and knowledge with students. Faculty members have extensive experience in various aspects of the Behavioral Health field, and bring their expertise to the classroom. They often work one-on-one with students to enhance the student’s learning experience, and serve as mentors to aspiring students.

All Behavioral Health faculty members are experts in both the classroom and their areas of professionalism. Faculty members are actively engaged in research, have written articles that have appeared in prestigious publications and have presented nationally and internationally at conferences.

You can learn more about Alvernia’s Behavioral Health faculty and their credentials at www.alvernia.edu/academics/professional-programs/behavioral-health/faculty.html.

GET INVOLVED

There is so much more to college than classes, and Behavioral Health majors at Alvernia have some excellent opportunities to get involved in activities that are both enjoyable and provide beneficial, hands-on experience. Students who get involved and engaged in extra-curricular activities benefit both academically and socially, and open themselves to integral life lessons from beyond the classroom.

You’ll be encouraged to participate in a range of activities, including some rewarding and inspiring service projects. Alvernia students also are encouraged to explore a variety of honor societies for students in majors including social work and criminal justice. Some organizations and activities you might enjoy and benefit from include:

  • Behavioral Health Academic Club (BHAC): For students pursuing careers in behavioral health, this group seeks to promote greater understanding and awareness of addictions and other mental health issues throughout the University and within the local community. BHAC also participates with other clubs and organizations on campus and engages in a variety of activities during the year.
  • Active Minds: Its mission is to increase awarness of issues related to mental health disorders as well as resources available both on campus and within the community. Active Minds also seeks to reduce stigma toward mental illness and its treatment.
  • Pre-Health Professions Club. For students who are working toward careers in health—related professions, members of the Pre-Health Professions Club meet to share information, learn more about the health industry and meet others with similar interests. Members include pre-medical and pre-dental students, nursing students and students majoring in Behavioral Health, Occupational Therapy, Healthcare Science and other fields.
  • The Social Work Association. This group enhances professional growth within the field of social work and promotes a greater understanding of what the profession entails. Members have the opportunity to interact with the community.
  • The Criminal Justice Association of Alvernia University. With its focus on all aspects of the criminal justice system, the club meets regularly, brings in speakers and participates in community activities, service projects and trips. It is open to anyone interested in criminal justice.
  • Alvernia also offers many organizations, clubs and activities outside of your major, and you’re encouraged to get involved. You can learn more about Alvernia’s Student Government Association, becoming a Student Ambassador, student trips and other activities at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/activities.
  • The Holleran Center for Community Engagement serves as a bridge between the University and the community. The Center partners with a variety of organizations to provide Alvernia students opportunities to serve. You might volunteer to work at the Lutheran Home Care and Hospice Center or volunteer at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center. You can read more about volunteer opportunities at http://alvernia.edu/about/holleran-center.
AFTER AU

Graduates of Alvernia’s Behavioral Health program enjoy a very high employment placement rate, and members of the Career Services Office are available to offer job search advice and help you prepare for your job search.


Alvernia’s Behavioral Health faculty members are dedicated, highly qualified professionals who are committed to sharing their expertise and knowledge with students. Faculty members have extensive experience in various aspects of the Behavioral Health field, and bring their expertise to the classroom. They often work one-on-one with students to enhance the student’s learning experience, and serve as mentors to aspiring students.

All Behavioral Health faculty members are experts in the classroom and in their professional areas. Faculty members are actively engaged in research, have written articles that have appeared in prestigious publications and have presented nationally and internationally at conferences.

Alvernia’s Behavioral Health faculty members aren’t just teachers or college professors. They’re highly regarded experts in their respective fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to students.  Most importantly, they’re eminently qualified to help you succeed as a future behavioral health professional.

Behavioral Health faculty members possess significant clinical and administrative experience in various settings related to addiction, mental health and other areas of the behavioral healthcare continuum.  They understand the many challenges facing today’s behavioral health professionals because they successfully deal with these challenges every day. They include seasoned clinicians, supervisors and mangers, serve as board members of prestigious organizations, and routinely present at conferences both nationally and internationally.




behavioral health

1.888.alvernia
social icons

Information for: Parents & Family Alumni Faculty & Staff Current Students
Contact Us Directory Employment A-Z Index Tech Support Privacy Policy
© 2016 Alvernia University
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ YouTube RSS Feed Pinterest Instagram tumblr Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ RSS Feed