What Type of Degree Do I Need To Work With Mentally Disabled Patients?

Many people wonder what it takes to work with MENTALLY DISABLED PATIENTS. The demands of this job are large, both emotionally and mentally. However, this can also be some of the most rewarding work available. Individuals who want to work with mentally handicapped individuals will need to have a certain type of training and experience beforehand. Here is some information about the education needed to work in this field.

What Education Do I Need?

The specific type of education that you will need depends on the place where you want to work. Working with children obviously requires more care and a higher level of education. Public facilities may also be more picky about the type of education you have. Private institutions may be the least selective about their employees backgrounds.

Special Education Programs

In order to work in a school with mentally disabled children, you will need to get special training as a special education teacher. This program requires you to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a related field. You then complete a teaching program that involves watching and then teaching your own classes under observation. This is one of the toughest routes to working with mentally handicapped people., but these teachers are in high demand. Here are some more facts on special education teachers.

Master’s Degrees

Another route is to work with a nonprofit organization or a government organization that helps mentally handicapped adults. You may be responsible for helping them with every day activities like dining and transportation. You might also help to run an intervention program that teaches them some life skills. Or, you may be responsible for managing the cases of mentally disabled patients and assessing what they need. A final option is to go into counseling so that you can help identify and guide those who are mentally disabled. Any of these career paths is easiest with an advanced degree. A master’s in social work, counseling, or psychology can help you take different routes within this field.

Sometimes it is possible for individuals to get a good job in this field with a bachelor’s degree and years of experience, but often the best positions are reserved for those with an advanced degree. For this reason, it’s smart to go back for the master’s at the very least. The master’s degree helps you develop professional skills that a bachelor’s in a related field simply doesn’t cover.

Experience Only

Finally, it may be possible in some cases to get a job based only on experience. If you didn’t obtain a bachelor’s degree in a field related to psychology, counseling, or social work, you can look for entry level positions under the supervisor of someone more knowledgeable about disabled patients. Sometimes programs that are in high need situations will train volunteers to help care for their patients. If you are selected as a volunteer, you will likely be given briefings and training on how to manage and understand the conditions of your patients.

In summary, there are plenty of ways to enter the field of working with mentally handicapped individuals. While a degree is not strictly necessary, at least a bachelor’s in psychology, social work, or counseling will set you above the rest. Choose a master’s program in one of these fields for the best preparation and chances for success for working with MENTALLY DISABLED PATIENTS.


Take a look at “Trends in Mental Disability” for more information.