College of DuPage is offering a Psychiatric Rehabilitation certificate that allows students to take the bulk of their coursework online. The four-course program prepares students to immediately enter the workforce, qualifying them for entry-level positions within the mental health care field.
"With all the changes in federal government and statewide statutes, we're seeing a complete hiring shift in this career. Whereas once people with master's degrees and licensed social workers were the norm, now more entry-level workers will be hired over the next few years," said instructor Kim Sherman.
Sherman and fellow instructor Bruce Sewick see the shift as a windfall for COD students who can enter the workforce as case managers, helping clients enroll in Medicaid or file to receive Social Security or disability benefits, among other duties.
Students seeking a Psychiatric Rehabilitation certificate must complete four courses: "Survey of Psychiatric Rehabilitation;" "Rehabilitations Skills;" "Health Skills;" and "Vocational and Community Living Skills." An additional 300-hour internship is also required.
"The job outlook is expected to grow," Sewick said. "We'll have more people covered by health insurance with the continuation of Obamacare, giving students more opportunities to work with people, not only through the required internship, but the jobs they'll be hired for after completing the program."
Students also have the advantage of being taught by instructors currently working in the field. Both Sherman and Sewick are licensed clinical professional counselors.
"We're out there in the trenches, as it were, bringing a real-world view to the classroom," Sherman said. "Our students leave here fully trained and with the skills they need, as well as a true understanding of what these types of jobs entail."
For more information on the Psychiatric Rehabilitation program, visit: http://www.cod.edu/programs/human_services/psychrehab.aspx.