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What Does a Crisis Intervention Specialist Do?

Perhaps you've heard of a crisis intervention specialist, but you aren't exactly sure what this job title means. What sort of work do crisis intervention specialists do? Who hires them, and what sorts of skills and education do they need? Read on to discover the answers to these questions and gain a clearer understanding of how crisis intervention specialists save lives, prevent tragedies and perform other much-needed interventions on behalf of at-risk individuals experiencing crises.

Possible Job Duties That a Crisis Intervention Specialist Might Handle

Counseling is typically a crisis intervention professional's primary responsibility. In fact, a common alternate job title for this line of work is "crisis intervention counselor." The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies these workers as behavioral disorder counselors. The nature of the counseling might differ depending on the hiring organization's objectives and the nature of each crisis at hand. Crisis intervention counselors often work to help at-risk individuals deal with the following types of issues:

  • Suicide prevention and prevention of self-inflicted injuries
  • Deterrence from aggression, assault, violent acts or other types of crime
  • Rape prevention


Many crisis intervention specialists operate phone lines and hotlines that at-risk individuals can call for help. Others work on an in-person, face-to-face basis.

Follow-up and incident documentation can be an important part of the job for many crisis intervention professionals. Their employers may require them to collect certain data and complete paperwork regarding each incident they respond to. They must also be sure to maintain confidentiality at all times.

Where Do Crisis Intervention Specialists Work?

Crisis intervention specialists can work in many different settings. The following are a few of the most common types of hiring organizations that utilize the expertise these professionals have to offer:

  • Mental healthcare facilities
  • Rape crisis centers
  • Veterans' organizations
  • Local and state governments
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Schools, academic institutions and youth organizations


Education and Skills Necessary for Becoming a Crisis Intervention Professional

There are varying educational requirements for crisis intervention professionals depending on the preferences of each hiring organization. A high school diploma is the minimum academic credential necessary. Most crisis intervention jobs also require a bachelor's degree. Crisis intervention counselors typically major in counseling, psychology, social work or sociology.

A crisis intervention counselor must possess the capabilities to quickly assess safety risks and react appropriately. Top-notch verbal and written communication skills are also necessary. Persuasive abilities, negotiating skills and conflict resolution abilities are essential for success in this line of work. A calm, soothing and empathetic demeanor is an asset; so is an understanding of applicable laws and legal terminology. Crisis intervention specialists working in healthcare facilities may also need to have an understanding of how to enter and access electronic healthcare records.

See also: 25 Most Accessible Bachelor's in Counseling Degree Online Programs

We hope this information provided you with the insights you were seeking regarding the role that crisis intervention specialists play in contemporary society. As you can see, these professionals are saving lives and contributing to their communities in meaningful ways. For those who want to make a positive difference in the lives of others, this vocation is an excellent opportunity to achieve that goal. The work is challenging but exceptionally rewarding. If you're considering a career in social work, counseling or mental healthcare, it is worth considering the possibility of training to become a crisis intervention specialist.