They range in age from high schoolers to grandparents. Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) has students from around Washington, from across the United States, and from nations such as Japan, El Salvador, Gambia, Somalia and Sweden. Their backgrounds are pretty varied but they come with a shared set of values and a shared interest in working to give everyone a fair opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.
We asked our students to describe themselves and their classmates. “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.” “We’re open minded.” “We’re working as a group towards a common goal, not just focusing on yourself. We treat each other with respect because we’re all here for the same goal. We’re like a family working to better society.”
Ask our students. They told us: “We came to LWTech to be one-on-one with our professors.” “The faculty are real, genuine, and honest. They tell you about their life experience and give you advice.” “They’re compassionate and personable; they want to help you.” “Your instructor has time to meet you.”
Both of the Behavioral and Social Services faculty members come with decades of real-world work experience, and a passion for sharing it.
School is a real commitment, but not the only one our students make. LWTech students are hardworking people, most of whom are balancing school with work and family.
One way we help is by scheduling classes carefully. LWTech makes sure none of our program classes will conflict with one another, and all of our classes can be completed in the morning. Often our students can schedule all of their classes on two to three mornings per week, leaving them the rest of the week to schedule their other responsibilities.
That depends on a few things: do you already have college credits? Are you able to enter straight into college-level English and Math courses? Are you attending part-time or full-time? Will you be attending school during the summer?
Many students complete our Certificate of Proficiency in four quarters. They’re done one year after starting. Many students earn an AAS degree in Behavioral and Social Services in seven quarters. They graduate less than two years after starting.
Our commitment is to giving you the support you need to succeed, including personal attention from your instructors and tutoring assistance as needed. Together we can get you your degree.
Students can also get credit for some Advanced Placement classes, CLEP work or military training. Please contact our Enrollment Services department directly to discuss your circumstances.
We have set up a class schedule that will get our students through the program as quickly and as simply as possible. All of our required courses and electives for the Behavioral and Social Services associates degree are available weekday mornings. Behavioral Healthcare bachelor’s degree courses are held weekday evenings, online, or Saturday mornings (senior year).
All our students still have access to the full catalog of LWTech classes, including evening, weekend and online classes as well.
Yes. The BAS in Behavioral Healthcare program has established relationships with local behavioral healthcare organizations. We place students in internships based on their personal interests.
Yes. In fact social service jobs are growing, fast. The state expects there to be 21% more social service jobs in 2023 than in 2013. The more education an individual has the more jobs they become eligible for. Individuals with AAS in Behavioral and Social Services degrees are hard at work (and well employed) in our schools, hospitals, day centers, community centers, shelters, housing projects and more.
Many Behavioral and Social Services graduates will go on to get a 4-year degree, to give themselves more options. We have transfer agreements in place with a variety of local colleges for that reason.
Contrary to popular opinion social services actually pays pretty well—above average. Median pay for community and social service occupations a few years ago was $38,520, nearly $4,000 per year above average. While we go into this work to help make others’ lives better we can make a reasonable salary doing so.
Consider yourself normal. Most of us are weighing several options, because there are lots of ways we can make a difference in the world. The best way may be to try us out for one eleven-week course. Take our Introduction to Behavioral and Social Services course and you’ll get a real taste of what the program is all about, with a look inside each of the courses and a chance to meet all of our faculty. By the end of that first course you’ll likely have a good understanding of who we are, what we offer, and whether it’s for you.
You might be “one of us.” Many of us studying human services or working in the field came because of our own personal appreciation for those who made a difference in our lives or in our loved ones’ lives. We come from all walks of life with a lot of different experiences.
Some of us have learned by coming through the fire.
Having a disability, living with a mental illness, or being in recovery from an addiction by no means prevents us from being fabulous human service professionals. To the contrary it can add to our understanding and empathy. We welcome you and want a variety of people in our program.
One of the strengths of the people in our program is their resistance to labeling people, or trying to fit people into boxes. They resist seeing one aspect of our identity as definitive of us as a person. Working in social services means working with people and appreciating them as they are.
It also means exposing ourselves to the traumas they face. Studying social services requires sitting with and exploring controversial or painful subjects. Each of us should carefully consider whether this is the appropriate time for us to do so.
In this program we do have to address difficult subjects. We will have to prepare ourselves to work with people who have been mistreated and those who mistreat others. Everyone is welcome here but students and prospective students should consider whether they are in a position currently to consider multiple perspectives on issues that may have touched them personally.
Behavioral and Social Services courses will challenge us intellectually, morally and ethically. We all come here to grow and LWTech does offer a supportive environment. If you have questions about whether this program is best for you please consider contacting the program faculty or LWTech’s Disability Support Services.
We understand that people make mistakes. And we certainly believe that people, all people, can change. Criminal history does not prohibit people from joining our program.
Most social service positions in Washington state do require the employee to hold an active credential from the state Department of Health, however. This allows the state to conduct background checks, verify our education and experience, and protect the vulnerable adults, children and seniors we may serve. “To protect the public, the department considers criminal history. A criminal history may not automatically bar you from obtaining a credential.” The state approves credentials for some people with criminal convictions but not for all.
Similarly each non-profit organization or government office is entitled to its own policies about whether they will take student interns who have serious convictions.
For more information about how your history can impact your eligibility for these credentials we suggest you contact the Department of Health directly, before starting your academic program, so you can make an informed decision about whether you will be able to do the sort of work that interests you. We would want you to know whether you can use an education in Behavioral and Social Services before investing heavily in it.
The community college allows students a local, affordable start. Upon completion of the Behavioral and Social Services AAS at LWTech, students may transfer to the following baccalaureate programs at junior status:
Graduates from our BAS in Behavioral Healthcare should be well prepared for Master’s degrees in social work, counseling, public health, and related fields.
You bet. Call Behavioral and Social Services faculty chair Rex Rempel at (425) 739-8285 or email him at BehavioralHealth@lwtech.edu. You can also contact our program’s Student Success Navigator Mony Loeum at (425) 739-8166 or email her at Mony.Loeum@LWTech.edu.
Avg. WA State Salary $38,866/yr
People Employed in WA 10,005
Avg. Wage in King County $20/hr
Avg. WA State Salary $51,476/yr
People Employed in WA 16,547
Avg. Wage in King County $25/hr
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Summer Campus Hours
June 17 to September 2, 2019
Mon-Thurs, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Fri, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat and Sun, CLOSED
Fall Campus Hours