An Army Behavioral Health Specialist (MOS 68X) assists with the management and treatment of in and outpatient mental health activities.
These specialists work under the direction of a social worker, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, or psychologist.
Soldiers who want to join this MOS should enjoy helping and caring for other people.
Qualifications and Training
Recruits looking to join as Behavioral Health Specialists must first take the ASVAB.
Candidates for this MOS will need a minimum score of 101 on the Skilled Technical (ST) portion of the ASVAB test.
Recruits will attend 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training.
After Basic Training, soldiers will attend Advanced Individual Training for 17-20 weeks.
Advanced Individual Training takes place at the Medical, Education, and Training Campus (METC) in Joint Base San Antonio in Houston, TX.
The exact training length with depend on the specialty and includes practice in patient care.
Skills that are helpful in this MOS include:
- Effective communication
- Detail oriented
- Ability to work under stress
- Interest in a job with chemistry, psychology, biology, algebra, and general science
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What are the Job Tasks of a Mental Health Specialist?
Soldiers in this MOS must be compassionate and charismatic as they are working with patients in a variety of different areas that need their help.
These specialists assist with psychiatric, drug, and alcohol patients.
They provide counseling to any clients or patients who have personal, behavioral, or psychological programs.
Soldiers in this MOS may work in different areas depending on specialty and assignment.
In-patient psychiatric wards, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, correctional facilities, combat-stress units, social services, research facilities, and community behavioral health activity are all area examples that specialists may work in.
These specialists will not only assist soldiers, they will assist family members as well.
Their specialty is needed during peacetime or mobilization.
They must be knowledgeable in the areas of Psychopathology, Human Growth and Development, Psychiatric Behavioral Interventions, Interviewing Skills, Combat Operational Stress Control, Psychological Testing, and Counseling.
These are all areas that are taught during training at METC and allow soldiers to effectively evaluate and assist the patient.
Specialists will use different communication techniques to assess and evaluate the patient or client.
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Depending on the area they work, the specialist will conduct interviews, including intake interviews, to help assess the patient.
When conducting an interview or during a counseling session, soldiers will take and record psycho-social and physical data.
Part of assessing the patient is to conduct psychological tests, assess the level of function, perform combat stress control fundamentals, and critical event management.
Soldiers both administer and score intellectual tests, personality inventory, and a variety of tests that are used to find organic damage to the brain.
Medical professionals use this data to develop treatment plans.
Therefore, the specialist must document and present data either verbally or in a written report.
Depending on the location, soldiers may complete casework.
This position requires soldiers to complete basic document control including maintaining confidential records.
Specialists in this MOS also complete basic nursing functions.
This includes diagnostic procedures such as taking vital signs and assisting in a patient’s daily activities.
Part of the position is to administer medication, so understanding medication side effects and the behavioral changes that medication may cause is critical.
Soldiers must know emergency medical techniques including CPR.
At times the specialist may be required to prepare and present information on medication addiction, suicide prevention, and coping skills.
They may be required to escort patients to appointments, meals, or recreational activities.
While in a fixed facility, hours may be more standard.
In a deployed scenario, hours may be longer or during odd times and may require soldiers to work with combat stress teams assisting soldiers with combat stress reactions.
The Army video below provides more information on job functions and training.
What Does a Mental Health Specialist Get Paid?
This position is entry-level and will pay based on rank and time in service.
Recruits can expect to make around $23,000 a year in base pay, with that amount fluctuating during training and as training is completed.
View the base pay table below to see the pay for each rank.
|Insignia||Pay Grade||Rank||Abbreviation||Minimum Monthly Pay|
|E-1 +4 months||Private||PVT||$1,917.60|
|E-2||Private Second Class||PV2||$2,149.20|
|E-3||Private First Class||PFC||$2,259.90|
|E-7||Sergeant First Class||SFC||$3,445.80|
|E-9||Command Sergeant Major||CSM||$6,055.50|
|E-9||Sergeant Major of the Army||SMA||$6,055.50|
In addition to the base pay amount above, soldiers receive additional pay and benefits that add to the total income.
First, there are recruiting opportunities that provide bonuses for situations such as fast shipment.
There are also special pay scenarios for situations such as deployment.
Other benefits include:
- Paid housing and food
- Tuition assistance
- Medical and Dental
- 30 days vacation a year
- Paid sick time
- Military clothing allowance
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Reviews of the Behavioral Health Specialist position are positive.
Most soldiers like that they are helping other soldiers cope with issues and find the position gratifying.
Positive aspects of the position discussed in reviews include benefits, education, travel, and the experience.
Negative aspects include time away from family at training and multiple deployments.
The review below provides information on a typical day and experience in the position.
The review below provides information on working in an inpatient setting.
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Civilian Career Opportunities
The skills learned in this MOS allow for careers in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, social services, behavioral centers, and rehabilitation centers.
This position can prepare soldiers for work as a Caseworker, Psychiatric Technician, Social Service Assistant, Substance Abuse Worker, or Behavioral Disorder Counselor.
Through the Army’s COOL program soldiers can earn credentials such as Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, which adds Army promotion points and opens the door to rehabilitation center work as a civilian.
Soldiers can also sign up for the Army’s PAYS recruiting program that guarantees a job interview with a military-friendly employer.
An Army Behavioral Health Specialist (MOS 68X) assists with the care and treatment of inpatient and outpatient mental health patients.
This position helps soldiers and their families, in fixed or field locations, with personal, behavioral, or psychological problems.
This entry-level position requires ASVAB testing, and the training length depends on the specialty.
Soldiers can expect to be paid based on rank and time of service.
The reviews for this position are positive, with most previous specialists recommending both the position and the Army.
Experience and training gained in this MOS will allow soldiers to find work in behavioral health as a civilian.
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