How To Become a Mental Health Director in 6 Simple Steps

The clinical director is responsible for supervising and carrying out a wide range of clinical tasks, such as staff training, supervision, compliance with regulations, patient progress, budget spending, and much more. This person typically needs a graduate degree and expert-level abilities in management, organization, communication, and other leadership-related skills because they handle a variety of tasks.

How to become a mental health director
  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree. Most employers typically require mental health directors to have an advanced degree. …
  2. Earn a master’s degree. …
  3. Complete an internship, practicum or cooperative. …
  4. Gain relevant experience. …
  5. Earn a relevant license. …
  6. Obtain optional certifications.

What does a mental health director do?

The duties of directors of mental health services are to increase the effectiveness of daily operations and ensure the facility’s long-term viability. The type and size of the facility where they work frequently affects the tasks they complete. However, some of their common responsibilities include:

What is a mental health director?

The person in charge of overseeing the daily operations of a mental health facility is a mental health director, also referred to as a behavioral health director. Several different facility types, such as hospitals, psychiatric facilities, specialized treatment facilities, and substance abuse clinics, employ behavioral health directors. Since directors typically oversee the facility and attend to the needs of the staff rather than meeting with patients, this position is primarily administrative in nature.

How to become a mental health director

The steps most mental health directors take to get to their position are listed below:

1. Earn a bachelors degree

Most employers typically demand that mental health directors possess a higher education level. Typically, a bachelor’s degree is required before you can obtain this degree. Undergraduate programs frequently offer courses in psychology, social work, counseling, and health science. Students may concentrate on learning more about the various roles in the field of mental health.

2. Earn a masters degree

Getting a master’s degree broadens your knowledge of management and mental health. Health administration and business administration with a concentration in healthcare are common degree programs for aspirants to positions as mental health directors. Obtaining a master’s in public health with a focus in social and behavioral health is another choice that potential mental health directors may think about.

3. Complete an internship, practicum or cooperative

While you are still a student, you can gain experience working in the field of mental health through internships, practicums, and cooperative studies. You can look for chances to take part in these programs during your undergraduate and graduate studies. They can assist you in learning about the various positions available in the field of mental health, which may aid in determining the best career path for you. Your professional network can be expanded by participating in an internship, practicum, or cooperative program and by meeting other mental health professionals.

4. Gain relevant experience

It’s beneficial to work other jobs to gain experience before applying for your target position because the position of mental health director is a senior-level role. Some directors of mental health services begin their careers as social workers or counselors, which can provide them with experience working with people who have mental health issues. Then, they could submit an application for lower-level management jobs in mental healthcare facilities, like shift supervisor jobs. You can gain management experience in this kind of leadership position, which is a necessary qualification for mental health directors.

5. Earn a relevant license

Counselors, for example, must obtain a specific license in some states before they are permitted to work in their chosen field. Depending on the state, additional requirements could be an exam or continuing education. To make sure you’re ready to apply for mental health director positions, you can do some research on the state’s requirements specifically.

6. Obtain optional certifications

Professional certifications are not typically required by employers, but obtaining them could help you improve your resume. Professional certifications can demonstrate to employers that you are knowledgeable in your field and can also help you learn new information and abilities. Some common professional certifications that mental health directors earn include:

Mental health director skills

The following abilities are frequently possessed by mental health directors, which enables them to manage mental healthcare facilities successfully:


Directors of mental health facilities speak with staff members and share information with patients using highly developed communication skills. They are adept at effectively informing their staff of the facility’s rules and regulations. Directors of mental health facilities may also communicate with clients or clients’ families to discuss treatment options or the advantages of their facility. In addition, directors frequently consult with other medical specialists to coordinate patient care systems.


In order to ensure the healthcare facility operates effectively, mental health directors typically supervise a staff of employees. They frequently assign tasks to their staff and make decisions on the facility’s behalf. Additionally, mental health directors frequently participate in the hiring process, selecting new personnel like counselors or administrative assistants.

Team building

Since creating a welcoming and friendly work environment is advantageous to both staff and patients, many mental health directors make an effort to do so. The goal of using team-building techniques by mental health directors is to make the facility a more enjoyable place to work by encouraging interaction and closer bonds among the staff. In order to help new hires adjust to their new surroundings and feel like they are a part of the team, mental health directors also use these skills when they hire them.


Directors keep track of staff schedules, budgets, and patient files using their organizational skills. Strong organizational skills are frequently required to ensure the healthcare facility runs smoothly and that their employees properly file important documents. By ensuring that staff can easily locate patient files and medications, an organized facility can simplify the treatment of patients.


Behavioral health directors use math skills to analyze their budgets. Normally, they assess these budgets to make sure the facility has enough money to keep running, including money from both public and private sources of income. In accordance with the budget, the mental health director also makes changes to the facility, such as adding new staff, fixing crucial medical equipment, or updating software.

Please note that Indeed is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in this article.

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How do you become a director in the medical field?

Here are the steps you need to become a medical director:
  1. Earn a medical degree.
  2. Complete medical training.
  3. Pursue board certification.
  4. Become licensed to practice medicine.
  5. Consider earning voluntary certification.
  6. Gain clinical teaching experience.

Is mental health a good career?

The field offers the chance to work in a variety of fields and has strong growth potential. To better serve their clientele, a variety of organizations, including human resources departments and medical practices, require psychologists.

What is a clinical director mental health?

Description: Responsible for overseeing and developing the Clinical department including. hiring, supervision, evaluation and scheduling. Develop, plan and implement strategies for. program continuation and growth. Provide clinical training to clinical staff and interns.

What qualifications do I need to work in mental health UK?

You could complete a degree in psychology or a related field of health and social services before applying for a spot on a postgraduate training program. After earning your degree, you’ll work in the health sector and complete a British Psychological Society-approved training program for improving access to psychological therapy.

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