• Mental Health, Social Service and Addiction Counseling Program Details

  • Mental Health, Social Service and Addiction Counseling (MHSSAC) is now open entry!

    Important Note: Some external links may be inaccessible. People requiring accommodations due to a disability should contact Accessible Education Services at 503-491-6923 or aes@mhcc.edu.

    Thank you for your interest in learning about the exciting and rewarding field of Mental Health! Mt. Hood Community College's Mental Health, Social Service and Addiction Counseling (MHSSAC) program is the only all-encompassing 2-year degree in mental health within the Portland-Metro area.

    The MHSSAC program uses a cohort model of delivering quality instruction. Students start the program together, learn together and graduate together. The primary approach in this program is "hands on" learning. This means there are experiential parts to the classes including fieldwork, group work, and videotaped interviewing sessions. This kind of training prepares graduates for immediate employment upon graduation. Most graduates who seek employment in mental health, early childhood, schools, corrections or child and family agencies and so much more find work before or shortly after graduation. Other graduates elect to go on for a four-year degree utilizing our great transfer agreements to earn their bachelor's in counseling, social work, child and family studies or gerontology.

    If you are interested and seeking more information about this amazing program, please email Karen.Green@mhcc.edu to set up a meeting with her during her office hours. 

    Program Start

    The MHSSAC program is six (6) terms in length and begins with each FALL TERM ONLY each year. The current program curriculum can be viewed here. In the meantime, if you are planning to take courses while waiting to start the program in the fall, we suggest the following, which can be completed during or in the program. An academic adviser can help you plan your course schedule. 

    • HE202
    • HE207
    • HE208
    • Also, will need to take: WR121, WR122, MTH065 or MTH058, PSY201 & SOC204

    The core program classes are mainly offered Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays only, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. You will have Wednesdays and Fridays off. See FAQ for program class schedule.

    Student Enrollment

    This is an open entry program. There is no application process to register for program classes. Prospective students register on a space available basis after meeting the reading, writing, and math prerequisite requirements for the MHSSAC fall term class registration. Once the program classes are full, students can be added to the waitlist.

    Immunization, Drug Screening and Other Requirements

    While the MHSSAC program is open entry, internship placement is at the discretion of the faculty and internship sites supervisors. Therefore, the student may not be able to complete the program if internship placement is either not obtained or successfully completed.

    Immunizations: Students must provide documentation of the following before they start their internships:

    • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR), 2 vaccines or positive titers for all 3 diseases
    • Varicella, 2 vaccines or positive titer
    • Tuberculosis screening current within the last 12 months
    • Hepatitis B, 3 vaccines and follow up titer
      (Please note that the Hepatitis B vaccine series takes 6 months to complete.)
    • Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis (Tdap), current with the last 10 years

    Background Check: The program might require some students to complete a criminal background check in order to be placed into certain internships. If you have concerns about your background and success in the program, feel free to discuss your concerns with Karen Green, Director of the MHSSAC program.

    Please Note: Prior person to person assault charges may disqualify you from being placed with many of our agency partners and ultimately has proven to be a significant barrier to employment in certain Mental Health fields.

    In addition, some but not all of our internship sites require a DHS/CPS background check. 

    Drug Screen: Students may be required to complete a comprehensive drug screen while in the program if there is evidence of concerning behavior. In addition, students may be required by a few internship sites to complete a 10-panel drug screen before participating in a clinical rotation per the requirements of the assigned clinical facility.

    Sobriety for those with Substance Use Disorder:  The Mental Health, Social Service, and Addiction Counseling program is a rigorous and personally challenging program. If you identify as a person who has struggled with substance abuse disorder, we highly recommend that you have the supports you need in place before you start the program in order to assure success in this program.


    No state board is required upon graduation. Those interested in working as a Drug & Alcohol Counselor will need to take the CADC I or students can sit for the QMHA test for further certification in the Mental Health field. Please look into MHACBO for more information.

    Transfer Option

    The Mental Health, Social Service and Addiction Counseling degree transfers directly to Warner Pacific College, Clark College, and to Portland State University’s Child and Family Studies program and Social Work program. Some students attend University of Portland’s Social Work program, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, University of Washington, Western Oregon University and some may elect to do online bachelor degrees in social science. We are among the top programs at MHCC with students who finish their AAS degree that go on to complete a Bachelor and/or Master’s degree.

    Estimated Program Costs

    These costs are approximations and are subject to change without notice. They are listed only as a guide for your financial planning. Tuition is effective as of Fall term 2022 and subject to change without notice. 

    Item  MHSSAC 2-Year Degree (6 terms)


    Tuition is approximate and based on six terms in the program, does not include prerequisites/preprogram courses. To view the current tuition rate, visit www.mhcc.edu/tuition.

     Books* $1,000.00
     Total Estimated Cost $14,870.00

    *The textbook costs listed above are for your core classes only and do not include costs for the general and related electives required for the Associate of Applied Science Degree in MHSSAC.

    Important Note: Students are responsible for transportation costs to clinical practicum sites. Travel costs and licensure fees are not included in financial aid reimbursable expenses.

    Further Considerations 


    The Mental Health, Social Service and Addiction Counseling program is a professional training program with high performance and behavioral standards. The program has an excellent reputation in the social service community and our interns and graduates are sought after for employment. It is expected that students are prepared to commit themselves fully to learning to become ethical and effective helping professionals and are ready to focus on this goal. Excellent attendance, appropriate classroom behavior, healthy interpersonal communication skills, and competent academic performance are expected and rewarded throughout the program.

    Personal Discoveries

    It is the teaching philosophy of the program that healthy helpers have examined their own lives. You will be reflecting on your own developmental journey as part of your studies and this may trigger strong emotions to the point that outside support may be beneficial in processing these emotions. MHCC offers five free counseling sessions that any MHSSAC student may utilize as needed. You will be changing and growing as a result of the skills and theories you  learn in this exceptional program. 

    Click here to review Frequently Asked Questions.

    Graduating Class of 2014