Behavioral and Social Services


Located in Kirkland, Washington, just outside of Seattle, Lake Washington Institute of Technology's (LWTech) Behavioral and Social Services (previously named Social and Human Services (SHSV)) program prepares students for a variety of exciting and challenging social service positions. Student in this program will develop the professional values, skills, and knowledge to assist individuals and groups with personal, interpersonal, and situational problems. The program offers two social work degrees. First a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree in Behavioral Healthcare. Second, an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Behavioral and Social Services. LWTech students also have the option to earn a Certificate of Proficiency in Behavioral and Social Services.

The BAS degree in Behavioral Healthcare prepares students for work in the integrated treatment of mental health/illnesses, substance use disorders, physical illness, poverty, addiction, and homelessness. Graduates will be prepared to enter the workforce, advance in their current employment, or enroll in a graduate degree program in a related field such as, social work, addiction treatment, or counseling.

“We are people people. Human-oriented. People who want to help others.”

“We want to make a difference in someone’s life. We have a passion to help, to contribute.”

Who Are We? And Why Are We Here?

In this occupational area students will be prepared for employment as case managers in rehabilitation, employment services, corrections, educational programs, and community-based organizations serving youth, seniors, and individuals with disabilities.

The Behavioral and Social Services program was developed in 2002 by one of the college’s counselors in response to the labor market demand for trained professionals in a wide variety of positions. The curriculum was guided by an Advisory Committee, which identified 132 individual skills needed by entry-level employees in the field. Each of these skills was built into our courses with core classes in interviewing techniques, case management, multicultural appreciation, and oral and written communication. Students have the opportunity to combine theory and practical skills in each of three internships, preparing them for successful employment.

Mission of Behavioral and Social Services

Program mission:to prepare students for sustainable careers as behavioral health and social service professionals.

Why Students Choose Behavioral and Social Services at LWTech

You will develop the knowledge, skills, and professional values to assist individuals and groups with personal, interpersonal and situational problems.

Other schools offer similar programs, but LWTech Behavioral and Social Services students report a number of advantages to studying here:

  • Hands-on experience
  • Affordable education
  • Smaller classes with a personal atmosphere
  • A life-friendly schedule
  • A broad foundation in real-world training, teamwork, and problem-solving
  • A friendly, calm environment
  • Full or part-time studies, with financial aid available for those who are eligible
  • Have transfer opportunities for four-year degree opportunities

Students need an affordable education on the Eastside that is scheduled for working adults. LWTech’s Behavioral and Social Services program offers classes at a cost about one-third of state universities. And we do so in a smaller setting with personal relationships. The right training, at the right time, in the right place can help you get the jobs you want—to help others.

Partner Colleges

The following associate degree programs have articulation agreements to facilitate upward transfer into LWTech’s BAS in Behavioral Healthcare.

Cascadia College

Highline College

Whatcom Community College

Other Colleges

Enrollment Services staff will evaluate your transcript based on your current program of study, specifically looking for courses that satisfy LWTech Gen Education requirements (see the note below for the types of courses that can transfer to satisfy General Education requirements) and/or prerequisite requirements for Behavioral Healthcare BAS. See the prerequisites section below on this page for more information. 

After Graduation

Certificate & AAS Degree Recipients

Some of LWTech's graduates go straight into work in our community after completing their certificate or AAS. They work in senior centers, food banks, schools, shelters, vocational rehabilitation centers, home health agencies and more. Some who are already working earn promotions.

Many of LWTech's alumni go on to get a 4-year degree. Upon completion of the Behavioral and Social Services AAS at LWTech students may transfer to a variety of baccalaureate programs at junior status, including the Bachelor of Applied Science in Behavioral Healthcare and the Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Health at LWTech, as well as Seattle Central College, Highline, Central Washington, the Evergreen State College, University of Phoenix, and City University of Seattle.

Whether you’re interested in working with people, looking for a new career, returning to school, or just beginning your professional life, this program will give you the multiple skills you need for employment in this rewarding field.

BAS Degree Recipients

The most competitive job applicants will be familiar with the systems of healthcare, treatments for mental illness, recovery from substance use disorders, and support for those in poverty. The study of psychology is useful, but not enough; employers want graduates with real-world skills. The Behavioral Healthcare BAS curriculum is structured around the competencies sought by local service providers:

  • Knowledge of the structures, functions, and organizations which comprise the local healthcare system, with a particular focus on behavioral healthcare organizations.
  • Understanding of the practical application of treatment principles to a variety of individual concerns.
  • Awareness of the needs, roles, and strengths of the professionals within integrated healthcare and human services teams.
  • Care coordination skills.
  • The ability to complete holistic biopsychosocial assessments and develop client-centered, person-first plans.
  • Abiding hope in recovery for each and every person.

Check out the Job Opportunities page for additional information about the types of jobs BAS recipients qualify for.

Admission Requirements

Applied Bachelor's Degree

Applicants to the Bachelor of Applied Science in Behavioral Healthcare are admitted on a non-competitive basis. However, the program has application and qualification requirements with an application deadline unique to the program. Program information sessions and specialized advising is available before applying to this program.

Associate Degree

The associate degree in Behavioral and Social Services prepares students for entry-level work and for LWTech's applied bachelor's degree in Behavioral Healthcare or Public Health. Students begin working towards their AAS degree or certificate in Behavioral and Social Services by enrolling in BHAV 110 Introduction to Behavioral and Social Services. This class has two prerequisites: successful completion of the course Beginning English ENGL 093 (or an equivalent placement score for ENGL 099 or higher); and successful completion of the course Adult Basic Education Math II ABED 040 (or an equivalent placement score for MATH 087 or higher).

Students who complete Introduction to Behavioral and Social Services are then eligible for entry into the rest of the program.

Entry into this program requires completion of LWTech's admissions application.

Information Sessions

Academic Advising

For advising please visit the Academic Advising page for more information.

Related Programs

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