Social Service Mental Health - Home

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 Mental 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 Mental 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.

Register today
Enrollment is open throughout the year. Start in the fall, winter, spring, or summer quarters.

Students must have a GED or high school diploma, and are advised to take a skills assessment test through the Pierce College testing center.

Advising Videos
We have created a series of videos to help guide you through the process of applying for a degree in SSMH. Follow the links below to preview each clip.

  1. Welcome and General Overview of Choosing a Degree
  2. Choosing Between the Degrees: DTA or Professional Technical
  3. Choosing the Right Combination if Classes
  4. Scheduling Classes
  5. Fieldwork Information
  6. How to get your RAC
  7. Preparing for Transfer

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

Transfer possibilities
The DTA option transfers to any public or private four-year college or university. The associate's degree in Social Service Mental Health transfers directly to The Evergreen State College and St. Martin's University. Students intending to transfer into a four-year program are asked to work closely with their academic advisor.

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

Employment possibilities
The Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts careers in the social service mental health field to grow at a very high rate of 30 percent. Trained professionals are needed to help meet this growing demand.

Denise Arnold, Ph.D., LMHC
Faculty and Coordinator Social Services