• After Graduation

  • Meet Our Graduates – Life After the Degree

    Miranda Meng
    Miranda shares the MHSSAC
    passion for helping people

    A Passion for Helping

    MHCC’s respected program in Mental Health, Social Services and Addictions Counseling (MHSSAC) offers a huge range of career paths and graduate Miranda Meng shares the MHSSAC passion for helping people.

    Old-school descriptions such as “social work” or “counseling” still apply in 2013 and 2014, of course, but they don’t begin to cover the diversity and scope of careers that begin in MHCC’s MHSSAC program. Today’s graduates are working with everyone from infants to high school kids to adults to seniors to the elderly at the end of life, and in areas that range from addiction counseling, mental health therapy, community corrections, gerontology, youth counseling and much more. The common element across all these careers is rewarding work that demands both mind and heart.

    Some students discover the MHSSAC program right out of high school, and there are also many returning adult students—most with a lot of life experience, and often a few hard knocks, in their past. Their passion for helping others brings them together on a career path with hugely varied options and the opportunity to go right to work after graduation or to bridge to more education.

    MHSSAC graduate Miranda Meng took that bridge, going from MHCC to Portland State University, where she recently earned her master’s degree. She is now a mental health therapist at SEAMAR Community Health Center in Vancouver, Wash., where she splits her time between a generalist practice at the center and working in the Clark County schools.

    “This program at MHCC is priceless,” Meng says, “I’ll use the skills I learned there forever. Although I didn’t know it until I got into my PSU master’s program, the texts we were using and the training we were getting at MHCC were master’s level! The program was the driving force that got me to where I am today. It’s such a valuable education, and it leads to amazingly rewarding careers.”

    Social Services Case Manager--Carlos Romero
    Social Services Case Manager--Carlos Romero

    Careers Options


    • All core classes satisfy educational requirements for certification as a drug and alcohol counselor in the State of Oregon (CADCI)
    • Learn evidence based practice, theories and treatment of addictions
    • Learn counseling skills for individuals and groups
    • Addiction counseling internships available with hours counted for certification
    • Careers working with drug, alcohol and gambling addicted clients
    • Transfer to university available through formal agreements
    • See www.accbo.com for more information about certification

    Community Corrections

    • Internships available working with incarcerated youth, residential corrections environments, treatment programs, Restorative Justice programs and corrections mental health
    • Train with probation officers, mental health professionals and addictions counselors
    • Learn about the criminal justice process and systems
    • Learn counseling skills for individuals and groups
    • Learn counseling strategies specific to corrections environment including Motivational Interviewing
    • Transfer to universities available through formal agreements
    • Careers and internships in criminal justice, parole, probation and Restorative Justice


    • Learn basic and advanced counseling skills including cultural counseling and Motivational Interviewing
    • Learn theory and practice of group counseling including developing group curriculum
    • Learn ethical and professional practice skills
    • Internships available as addictions counselor, assisting school counselors elementary through college and career counseling
    • Transfer to universities available through formal agreements
    • Careers available as school counselor, mental health counselor, addictions counselor, child and family therapist


    • Fastest growing population
    • Skilled professionals needed
    • Advocate with and for seniors for services needed
    • Facilitate groups for caregivers and seniors
    • Design and implement activities for seniors with dementia
    • Provide case management
    • Specialize in medical social work
    • Classes on aging
    • Internships available in a variety of settings
    • Transfer to universities available through formal agreements

    Mental Health

    • Learn diagnosis and treatment of clinical and personality disorders
    • Learn basic and advanced skills of counseling
    • Learn to facilitate and plan process and psycho-educational groups
    • Learn psychopharmacology
    • Work with children, youth, adults, and families
    • Intern in residential and outpatient settings
    • Transfer to universities available through formal agreements
    • Careers available in social work, counseling, and psychiatric technician
    • Behavioral Healthcare Specialist certificate available

    Social Work

    • Learn social work theory and practice
    • Learn case management skills
    • Training in basic and advanced individual and group counseling skills
    • Learn advocacy skills for work across the lifespan
    • Internships available with social issues such as abuse, homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, aging, etc.
    • Specialized transfer agreements designed to obtain BSW and MSW degree

    Youth Work

    • Special classes in youth development and risk assessment
    • Learn individual and group counseling skills needed to work with youth
    • Mentor and guide youth at risk
    • Internships available working with youth in schools, agencies, and community corrections
    • Facilitate groups for youth in a variety of settings
    • Specialized transfer agreements designed to obtain BS or BA degree working with children and youth
    • Careers available with programs serving youth, schools, corrections, criminal justice
    • Youth Work certificate available


    Employment opportunities are excellent both nationally and locally, with job demand continuing to expand. Depending on the type of employment, salary ranges vary between $12 - $20 per hour.