What Degree Is Needed To Become a Crisis Intervention Specialist?

Crisis Intervention SpecialistIs there a specific degree needed to become a crisis intervention specialist? The answer to that question is no; a glimpse of today’s television schedules reveals that responders work in several disciplines. Crisis intervention is not just arriving at the scene of hostage negotiation or a suicide threat though that may be a part of it. What is it, and how do you become a crisis intervention specialist?

What is Crisis Intervention?

Crisis intervention specialists (also called crisis counselors) work with individuals in an at-risk population to provide pro-active intervention that may avert a crisis. They do not deal with the event as much as they deal with the individual’s response to the event. Often, this involves a mental health issue. Crisis intervention is like psychotherapy except that it deals only with the immediate situation. Crisis counselors identify at-risk people who are struggling through a problem that is causing stress that they cannot handle. The counseling may only last a few weeks, which is just long enough to reduce the stress level, ensure the safety of the individual and those around him and give the individual some coping strategies. When the conflict is resolved, the specialist helps arrange for follow-up and maintenance care.

What Do Crisis Intervention Specialists Do?

Intervention specialists often go to schools and company offices to train staff how to respond to crisis. They also train others on the crisis intervention team. Besides counseling crisis victims, crisis intervention specialists coordinate with Victims’ Advocates to offer support services to victims, especially in a courtroom, and they may even function as a Victim’s Advocate. The specialists manage follow-up services such as referral to long-term counseling, and handle reports and paperwork.

What Training is Needed?

The majors that offer the most preparation for this career are psychology, sociology and women’s studies. Education degree programs prepare individuals to do intervention in the school setting. All of them offer courses in crisis intervention. There are also special courses designed to give individuals expertise in dealing with traumatic events. Although there is no specific degree needed to become a crisis intervention specialist you can elect crisis counseling as a concentration in many schools. Even if the school doesn’t offer a concentration in crisis intervention, you can tailor your degree to fit that career by using the electives. With the current emphasis on care of returning soldiers, post-trauma stress disorder studies, combat related is a valuable study. Other electives having to do with grief and loss are important as well. There is also no certification or licensing required for the profession, but there are credentialing organizations such as the National Association for Crisis Managers and The American Association of Health Care Professionals that offer classes and certification that would give the practitioner added credibility in his profession.

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The average salary for a crisis intervention specialist is just under $50,000. Managers and upper-level professionals could expect to earn more, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there is no specific degree needed to become a crisis intervention specialist, you will benefit from the special skills afforded by degree electives and certification classes.