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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 354O
Category: Social Services

Class Series Concept

Positions in this series provide specialized mental health counseling to a group of offenders. Duties include full programming responsibilities, regularly scheduled group and individual counseling, development of case reports, participation in official classification meetings, case presentation before boards and committees, providing consultation to staff regarding specific cases.


In an adult corrections treatment program, independently provides specialized mental health counseling to a group of offenders demonstrating emotional, cognitive and/or behavioral disorders.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This is the journey-level counselor.  Positions at this level perform under minimum supervision.  Caseloads usually consist of a variety of types of cases; however, a caseload of similar cases may be assigned.  This level of counseling is characterized by:

A. full programming responsibilities,

B. regularly scheduled group and individual counseling,

C. development of case reports,  

D. participation in official classification meetings,  

E. case presentations before Boards and committees, and  

F. consultation provided to other staff regarding specific cases.

Typical Work

Observes, interviews, gathers data about, assesses, and directs treatment of offenders on an assigned caseload;

Provides individual and group counseling as part of a mental health treatment program;

Develops and implements individual treatment plans for assigned caseload in accordance with the Offender Health Plan;

Documents clinical interactions;

Participates on Facility and Risk Management Team and treatment and multidisciplinary treatment conferences;

Communicates as needed with other agencies such as work release, community mental health, psychiatric hospitals, and other prisons;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of:  treatment values and objectives; laws, regulations and procedures related to legal offenders; individual and group behavior; hospital and community resources; methods of gathering and organizing personality and social data.  

Ability to: recognize and interpret signs and symptoms of mental illness; relate to people with psychological understanding, personal honesty and concern; build motivating rapport with offenders; work effectively with professional people; appraise persons and situations accurately and adopt effective courses of action; speak and write clearly and effectively; and complete all necessary clinical documentation.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

A Bachelor's degree with major study in a social or behavioral science.


One year of mental health, or social service experience which shall include six months of experience providing mental health treatment to groups and/or individuals. 

A Master's degree in a related field may be substituted for the one year of mental health, criminal justice or social service experience.  The Master's degree does not remove the requirement for the six months of experience providing group or individual mental health treatment. 

Note:  For specific programs, specialized training and/or experience may be required for eligibility for examination or appointment. 

Note:  Experience in mental health treatment may be defined as:  any experience where responsibilities have included mental health treatment planning, mental health program implementation and/or direct delivery of client mental health services.

Class Specification History

New class: 10-11-85
Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, minimum qualifications and title change (formerly Corrections Mental Health Counselor 1): 7-10-92
New class code: (formerly 38960) effective July 1, 2007
Revised definition and deleted distinguishing characteristics; adopted August 13, 2015; effective August 14, 2015.
Salary adjustment, addition of the class series concept from the abolished CMHC 1 level (354N) and revisions to the typical work and desirable qualifications; adopted June 30, 2017 effective July 1, 2017.