The need for mental health support has been continuously on the rise in recent years, and has drastically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with a national shortage of mental health professionals, this has created a mental health crisis.
Kaiser Permanente understands the value and need for mental health support and is doing its part to meet the shortage with the new Master of Science in Counseling program at the Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences. Kaiser Permanente employees are eligible for tuition assistance of 75% of the total cost of tuition.
Preparing for a career as a mental health care provider
The program aims to be the gold standard of education and training for mental health counseling in the health care setting, and prepares students for licensure in the state of California as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).
“What’s important about our program is that students are taught how to collaborate with professionals in all forms of care, from physicians and nurses to social workers and psychologists,” said Anthony Dragonette, PsyD, program director for the new counseling program, who is a former behavioral health manager for Addiction Medicine and Recovery Services at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa.
The training prepares students to practice in many different settings, including integrated health care environments such as Kaiser Permanente. Students will participate throughout the program in supervised clinical trainings in Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s Mental Health Training Program.
The school is offering the new program in partnership with Kaiser Permanente’s Mental Health Scholars Academy, an initiative that supports the training of new mental health professionals who intend to work for Kaiser Permanente in California. The leadership of the counseling program hopes to fill many of the open mental health provider positions in Kaiser Permanente with program graduates, Dragonette added.
How to apply to the program
There are 24 slots open for the 2-year program that begins in October 2021. All applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for admission.
Kaiser Permanente employees must first apply to the Mental Health Scholars Academy and then, if accepted, apply to the Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences’ master’s degree program. Those accepted into the scholars academy will receive 75% tuition assistance from Kaiser Permanente. Applications to the scholars academy open April 5. (Members of the public can apply to the School of Allied Health Sciences master’s in counseling program now.)
The hybrid learning environment of the School of Allied Health Sciences’ counseling program is designed to allow students who are KP employees to continue working. All students are required to be on campus in Richmond, California, one day a week for classes with the remainder of classes held online.
The accredited school has served students for more than 30 years with Bachelor of Science degree programs in radiologic technology, sonography, and nuclear medicine, as well as certificate programs in medical assisting and phlebotomy. This is the first master’s level program it’s offered.
“We aim to educate students with diverse backgrounds and identities, and prepare them to be successful, qualified mental health providers who can care for a wide range of individuals,” said Dragonette. “This will help improve access to quality mental health care for our members and communities.”
How you can learn more
Note: The master’s in counseling program is pending approval from the WASC Senior College and University Commission. The program is not yet approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences or Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. The Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences is accredited by WSCUC.