Army Behavioral Health Specialist (MOS 68X) assists with the management and treatment of in and outpatient mental health activities.
These specialist work under the direction of a social worker, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse or psychologist.
Soldiers who want to join into this MOS should enjoy helping and caring for other people.
Qualifications and Training
Recruits looking to join as Behavioral Health Specialist must first take the ASVAB.
There is a minimum score of 101 required 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.
Exact training length with depend on 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 specialist 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 ward, drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, correctional facility, combat-stress unit, social service, research facility and community behavioral health activity are all area examples that specialist may work in.
These specialist will not only assist soldiers, they will assist family members as well.
Their specialty is needed during peace time 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.
Specialist will use different communication techniques to assess and evaluate the patient or client.
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 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.
This data will be used to develop treatment plans.
All findings will be documented and presented either verbally or in a written report.
Depending on the location, soldiers may complete case work.
This position requires soldiers to complete basic document control including maintaining confidential records.
Specialist 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, understand medication side effects and the behavioral changes that medication may cause.
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 on 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 $20,000 a year in base pay, with that amount fluctuating during training and as training is completed.
The base pay table below can be viewed to see pay for each rank.
|Insignia||Pay Grade||Rank||Abbreviation||Avg. Monthly Pay|
|E-2||Private Second Class||PV2||$1,884|
|E-3||Private First Class||PFC||$1,981|
|E-7||Sergeant First Class||SFC||$3,021|
|E-9||Command Sergeant Major||CSM||$5,308|
|E-9||Sergeant Major of the Army||SMA||$5,308|
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 allows 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, that 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.
Army Behavioral Health Specialist (MOS 68X) assist with the care and treatment of inpatient and outpatient mental health activities.
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 training length depends on the specialty.
Soldiers can expect to get paid based on rank and time of service.
The reviews for this position are positive, with most previous specialist 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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