Behavioral Health Support FAQs

Consult our BHS FAQs for answers about admission, acceptance and schedules.

How long does it take to complete the A.A.S. Behavioral Health Support program?

How long does it take to complete?

Students the Behavioral Health Support program accepts into the A.A.S. will be part of a cohort. The seated format will begin the program in January and will complete the program in a year and a half.  The hybrid format starts in August.

What facilities may a graduate of the A.A.S. Behavioral Health Support program be employed?


Employment options include case management, Community Support Specialist or In Home Specialist through our Department of Mental Health facility partners.  Students may work in substance use, intensive treatment, school based or mental health focused departments.

Where can I work with this degree?

The BHS program is affiliated with the state’s Department of Mental Health locations.  In this area, that is Burrell Behavioral Health, Compass, Southeast Missouri Behavioral Health Center and Clark Center.  Students are able to participate in practicum hours at additional not-for-profit locations if they prefer and if space is available.

If a student is considering working out of the state of Missouri, the student would have to have an undergraduate degree.  The student could complete the program and work while they get their undergraduate education.  This would help them in the long run because a lot of facilities are looking for people with experience.  That way they would have both.

The links for the DMH may be found below:

Burrell Behavioral Health
Clark Community Mental Health Center
Compass Health Network
Southeast Missouri Behavioral Health

What is the employment outlook and expected starting salary range anticipated upon completing the program?

What is the employment outlook?

Polls of potential local employers revealed that the anticipated beginning salary range for a new graduate of the A.A.S. Behavioral Health support program is between 28,000 and 33,000 dollars. Research organizations rate employment possibilities in these fields as excellent.

As a student in the A.A.S. Behavioral Health Support program, what would my typical course schedule look like?

What is a typical course schedule?

A student in the A.A.S. in Behavioral Health Support program will complete the General Education courses at dates/times that are convenient for their schedule. Students work these courses around the completion of the BHS course requirements.

Seated students will complete BHS courses during daytime hours on Monday and Wednesday.  Hybrid students will meet for a full day three to five times per semester.  These mandatory meetings dates will be given to the students before the start of each semester.  Practicums take place in semesters three, four and five of the program.  Each student will spend one to two days a week at a community facility, in addition to classroom hours.

The program also coordinates field practicum dates/times around the schedule and needs of the community agency.

What is the difference between an Associate of Arts in Behavioral Science and an Associate of Applied Science in Behavioral Health Support?

What is the difference of Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science?

OTC currently offers an Associate of Arts in Behavioral Science. This degree prepares students who plan to transfer to four-year institutions. Once there, they can pursue bachelor’s degrees in psychology, criminology, social work or similar fields of study.

The program intends the new A.A.S. in Behavioral Health Support to specifically prepare students who plan to immediately enter the workforce in clinical settings.

Included in BHS 291, BHS 292 and BHS 293 are “Field Practicums.” What are Field Practicums?

What are Field practicums?

During these three courses, the program assigns students various mental health community agencies. There, students will apply the concepts learned in the classroom to the job description and responsibilities of the behavioral health support role.

  • BHS 291 require completion of 80 hours during the field practicum.
  • BHS 292 requires completion of 120 hours during the field practicum.
  • BHS 293 requires completion of 120 hours during the field practicum.

Can I take the General Education (PSY 110, ENG 101, COM 100, etc.) courses before applying to the Behavioral Health Support program?

Can I take the general education courses before applying?

The program encourages applicants interested in the to complete as many general education courses as possible before beginning the program. This allows the student to have more time to focus on the BHS courses. Maintaining this concentration on applying the skills learned during the field practicums increases overall student success and program completion.

Can I work during the program?

Can I work during the program?

Yes. However, the program does not recommend working full-time hours while attempting the BHS degree. The BHS program is a very challenging program and requires a significant amount of time and focus from the student. Students should anticipate that the BHS program will require a substantial time commitment in both the coursework and field practicums.

Can I pick when I take BHS classes?

Can I pick when I take BHS classes?

No. Once the BHS program accepts an individual into the program, students must take the courses in sequence in the given semester.  Students can find the preferred course sequence on the BHS website. The BHS courses within the BOLDED outline represent the courses that students must taken within a specific order. However, students can take the general education courses whenever they are available. The program encourages students to takes these courses when they fit best into the student’s schedule.

What format are the classes offered?

What format are the classes offered?

OTC offers general education (PSY 110, ENG 101, COM 100, etc.) courses in multiple formats: seated, hybrid and online. The BHS program offers a seated and a hybrid option.  Refer to the checklist for information.

What if I haven’t had any previous experience in mental healthcare?

What if I haven’t had any previous experience in mental healthcare?

Students come to the Health Sciences programs with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some have years of experience, and some have none at all. Both types of students can be successful. However, the more a student understands the mental health profession, the more satisfied one will be with the choice to pursue an A.A.S. in Behavioral Health Support degree.

Can I become a substance abuse counselor with this degree?

Can I become a substance abuse counselor with this degree?

Yes, upon graduation from the Behavioral Health Support program, a student may apply for the Level I MAADC (Missouri Associate Alcohol Drug Counselor Certification) certification.

Can I obtain a higher degree?

Can I obtain a higher degree?

Baccalaureate degrees in Behavioral and Community Health or Psychology can be earned through Drury University, Evangel University, and Ottowa University.

Drury Transfer Agreement

Evangel Univ Transfer Agreement

Ottawa Univ Transfer Agreement

Suggestions from BHS Graduates

Suggestions from BHS Graduates

  • Apply for financial aid (scholarships) – make a financial plan
  • Save money to prepare for practicum semesters
  • Make all courses a priority
  • Must be passionate about helping people
  • Be prepared to write
  • Flexibility
  • Be ready to work hard
  • Prepare for class
  • Make time to study
  • Participate in class
  • Work a job as little as possible
  • Use time management
  • Ask questions
  • Prepare to dedicate your life to the program

You must be enrolled in a degree program in order to receive financial aid. We suggest you enroll in the BCS degree, then start by taking the general education courses on your list of required courses. If you are accepted into the Behavioral Health Support Program, you will not have spent time and money on extra courses that you don’t need. If you don’t get in the first time, you will still be enrolled in a degree track and can finish the degree if you choose to do so. So, again, no time or money will be wasted.