Olympic College’s newest program addresses growing need for mental health and substance abuse treatment

Feb. 5, 2024


Olympic College’s newest program addresses growing need for mental health and substance abuse treatment

Priority application deadline is April 14 for Fall 2024 program start

BREMERTON – Responding to the critical demand for skilled mental health professionals, Olympic College is launching a new bachelor’s degree program this fall.

The Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Behavioral Healthcare addresses a growing need for mental health and substance abuse treatment services while equipping graduates with the knowledge, skills, abilities, and desire to support a diverse client base in a variety of human services careers. With the state legislature prioritizing homelessness and substance abuse in Washington, and identifying a shortage of mental health professionals as a contributing factor, OC’s new program plays an important role in filling the gap.

“There is a significant unmet need for behavioral health services in our state and our community,” said Mirelle Cohen, interim dean of the college’s Social Sciences & Humanities division. “The BAS in Behavioral Healthcare builds on the associate-level Human Services & Substance Abuse Disorder Professional program, equipping students with advanced skills to aid them in their professional careers.”

The college is working with Peninsula College, Centralia College and Lake Washington Institute of Technology to ensure credits for their respective programs transfer seamlessly if students move and enroll in a new school. Allowing students to easily transition helps retention and graduation rates, resulting in more qualified counselors who are available to their communities.

The program is staffed by practicing clinicians with connections to local employers, Cohen said.

“Our instructors are very well connected, and that’s important for helping our graduates secure employment,” she said. “We have put together an exceptional program and I’m excited to welcome our first students this fall.”

Faculty member Grace Jones was instrumental in helping to develop the program.

“The BAS in Behavioral Healthcare answers the needs of our students and the community at large. It's been an honor to participate in the exciting process of introducing this new degree program to the college community,” she said. “We’ve developed a thoughtful, dynamic curriculum, utilizing accepted best-practices, that will equip our students with the skills they need to make a real, impactful difference in people's lives.”

The BAS in Behavioral Health is the college’s sixth bachelor’s degree program. Bachelor of Applied Science degrees address skill gaps in practical, market-driven fields where job requirements have advanced beyond the associate degree level. They enable students who already have a non-transferrable associate degree in a career or technical field to earn a bachelor’s degree without having to start from scratch at a university.

Prospective students are encouraged to act swiftly, as the priority application deadline is April 14. Apply today on our website.


You’re on a journey and Olympic College will help you reach your destination. Cutting edge programs. World-class facilities. Small class sizes. Professors who know you by name. A welcoming community. We offer all of this and more at a fraction of the cost of universities. Your first stop is the Olympic College Welcome Center, where you’ll receive one-on-one help with every step in the admissions process. Start your journey at Olympic.edu.

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