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A career in the field of mental health can be rewarding and meaningful, allowing you to connect with and assist people suffering from a wide array of psychological disorders and problems. Intake coordinators who work in counseling organizations are mental health professionals with a background in psychology, social work or counseling. They perform a combination of clinical and clerical responsibilities to ensure the prompt and efficient delivery of services to their clients. As of May 2011, the mean average salary for counselors was $44,850, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Education and Training
As with other professional counseling positions, intake coordinators usually have at least a master's degree in a mental health field, like social work, psychology or counseling. However, the specific requirements vary depending on the organization, and some positions may only require a bachelor's degree in a mental health field. Additionally, some positions may require you to have a state license to practice in your field of expertise. Intake coordinators usually receive on-the-job training specific to the agency or organization. They may also be required to participate in training and educational seminars on a periodic basis.
Intake coordinators provide the initial contact a client has with a counseling agency or organization. They may conduct brief telephone screenings to determine the nature and extent of the client's problem and whether the agency can provide the services the client is requesting. They also meet with clients to perform intake assessments that take into account any psychological, social and biological problems that may be affecting the client's life and discuss the client's goals and expectations of treatment.
If applicable to the setting, intake coordinators may be responsible for verifying insurance information and mental health coverage. Intake assessments usually last between 30 and 40 minutes. After an intake assessment is completed, the intake coordinator refers the client to a staff counselor to begin the treatment process. Sometimes, intake coordinators may determine that the agency or organization is not an appropriate match for a client's needs and will refer the client to a more suitable facility.
Intake coordinators are members of interdisciplinary mental health teams that may consist of social workers, professional counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists. They work in diverse environments, such as mental health clinics, youth counseling organizations, community services agencies and college or university counseling centers. The nature of the work can be stressful and fast-paced due to the high clientele volume and limited staff resources.
In addition to having excellent verbal and written communication skills, intake coordinators must be able to multitask and handle working in a high-stress environment with a calm and professional demeanor. Intake coordinators often work with clients from a variety of backgrounds. They need to be aware of, and sensitive to, cultural, ethnic and economic diversity and skilled at handling clients who are dealing with difficult problems and life situations.
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.