Have questions about the Community Mental Health Worker program? Read through our frequently asked questions to get answers.


Community Mental Health Workers are employed in public and private social/human service. The culturally-appropriate range of services they offer include:

  • individual, group, and family supportive counseling,
  • consumer advocacy and liaison,
  • care management and systems navigation,
  • community organizing,
  • wellness and recovery action planning,
  • crisis intervention, and
  • behavioral health education.

It is a three-semester 16 unit college-level certification designed to provide the skills and knowledge needed to become a mental health service provider and to further your path toward greater professional and educational opportunities. Our program responds to the Mental Health Services Act, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and City College of San Francisco’s vision to train:

  • culturally and linguistically diverse communities,
  • consumers of mental health services,
  • family members, and
  • allies in the recovery and wellness model in mental health.
  • The first step is to complete the CCSF application online or at the Admissions & Records Office.
  • To begin program in fall semester, register in course Health 102 – Helping Relationships: Recovery and Wellness.
  • To begin program in spring semester, register in course Health 103 – Community and Group Forums.

The program offers future workers a comprehensive introduction to the field of recovery/wellness in mental health and current workers the opportunity for advancement. The program includes:

  • a certification that documents your mastery of critical skills and knowledge as a recovery and wellness service provider in mental health,
  • exploration of culturally diverse approaches to wellness and recovery through a formal internship,
  • formation of relationships with employers and others in the field of mental and behavioral health,
  • a chance to pursue advanced employment opportunities, increased compensation, and/or promotion, and
  • a pathway and linkages to undergraduate programs and degrees.

Enrollment in CCSF’s Community Mental Health Certificate Program offers students:

  • the benefits of experienced faculty with close professional and community ties,
  • project-based curriculum linking real-world experience with coursework, and
  • a 120-hour internship providing front-line experience in a supportive field-based environment.

Other benefits for students include affordable tuition and financial aid, evening and weekend course options, a path toward achieving a degree or transfer, access to a full range of supportive and counseling services, and scholarships or stipends for those who qualify.


Most courses in the certificate are transferable to the CSUs. Some students do decide to pursue a Bachelor's or a Master's degree in fields such as Counseling, Social Work, or Nonprofit Management to expand their career opportunities. If you are interested in transfer, we recommend that you meet with an Academic Counselor to make sure you are on track to meet transfer requirements.

Frontline mental health jobs are often listed with job titles like Peer Specialist, Community Mental Health Worker, Peer Counselor, or Mental Health Outreach Worker. Typically program graduates seek employment with public agencies like San Francisco's Department of Public Health or Alameda County's Department of Mental Health, as well as nonprofit agencies. Part-time and on-call jobs offer wages starting at around $16-20/hour, and full-time jobs typically offer $30,000-$40,000 starting salary.