Crisis management and counseling is a specialized niche in the world of human services. Crisis counselors work with individuals who have experienced a highly traumatic or emotionally intense event. This patient population is prone to grief, anxiety, and emotional instability, and crisis professionals provide a safe space to work through the challenges that crises can present. While there are no degree programs that are specific to crisis human services, concentrations in this area can be found within behavioral science, human services, general counseling or psychology degree programs.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
An undergraduate degree in crisis services focuses on the external forces that can impact behavior in response to a crisis. Cultural influence, societal pressures, and socio-economic environments all contribute to how people react to intense emotional trauma. Graduates of a bachelor’s degree program in crisis human services are trained to understand these forces and the psychological theories that drive human behavior.
These degree concentrations provide a unique skill set: comprehension of the scope of trauma and the ability to gauge how best to treat patients who have experienced it, ensuring that they have proper treatment to effectively cope. A four-year undergraduate degree program also meets the minimum requirements for professional certification by the American Institute of Healthcare Professionals (AIHP).
Inside a Crisis Human Services Bachelor's Degree Program
Whether the ultimate degree conferred is in human services or another related field, all programs incorporate sociology, anthropology, and psychology into the fundamentals of general education. Typical course requirements include rhetoric and composition, natural sciences, mathematics, and the study of humanities. Most crisis management concentrations are at least 15 credit hours of specialized study.
Typical classes in a crisis counseling program emphasis combine theory and application, and might include:
- Personality Theory
- Social Science Statistics
- Abnormal Psychology
- Crisis Counseling
- Crisis Response
- Grief and Trauma
- Combat Trauma
- Chemical Dependency
- Community Mental Health
A crisis human services degree program also instructs students on day-to-day tasks in crisis counseling such as interview skills, case management, patient assessment, and treatment planning. Some programs offer an internship component, which provides valuable field experience in assisting victims of crisis.
What's Next for Crisis Human Services Bachelor's Degree Holders?
Career opportunities in crisis counseling are usually in some form of human services agency. Job duties could include a mix of crisis stabilization, therapeutic counseling, rehabilitation, income maintenance, and career coaching. Generally, these jobs are found in the social services sector of human services.
Aspiring crisis management professionals may also opt to pursue further education. Much like bachelor’s degrees, a master’s or doctoral degree in crisis human services may be earned through additional educational programs. Concentrating one’s graduate study in crisis counseling delves into greater detail of the psycho-social aspects of trauma response, and in many states will also qualify graduates for state licensure to counsel.