Graduate Certificate Programs in Psychology and Counseling
Psychology and counseling are closely related fields that draw on many of the same theories, principles, and practices in order to assess behavior, identify behavioral problems, and help individuals, couples, families, and groups overcome behavioral issues. To work professionally in areas that involve psychological counseling/psychotherapy, and/or the application of other types of psychological treatments, requires rigorous formal training. Furthermore, in settings that involve direct client contact, individuals generally are required to obtain a professional license granted by a state board of psychology or counseling.
Eligibility requirements for licensure in counseling and psychology vary by state and by specialization, but generally entail the completion of an accredited graduate degree program. For example, professional mental health counselors and therapists must complete an accredited master’s program in counseling before they can apply for licensure, and psychologists must be trained in doctoral programs approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) in order to qualify for licensure. These degree programs include didactic instruction and supervised clinical practice hours, and generally require students to choose an area of specialization, such as clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, rehabilitation counseling, substance abuse counseling, clinical psychology, experimental psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, forensic psychology, and applied behavioral analysis.
It is important to note that requirements for licensure in psychology and counseling vary by state and by specialization. For example, in some states substance abuse counselors are not required to have a master’s degree, and non-clinical fields of psychology, such as industrial-organizational psychology, allow master’s program graduates to practice professionally without earning a doctorate.
For professional counselors and psychologists who have already completed a master’s or doctoral program and who would like to add to a new area of practice, there are graduate certificate programs in counseling and psychology that allow students to train in a new specialization without having to repeat the general coursework and instruction that is integral to master’s and doctoral programs in these fields. Instead, a graduate certificate program gives counselors and psychologists a streamlined pathway to add a specialization, such as addiction and substance abuse treatment and prevention, applied behavioral analysis, marriage and family therapy, or industrial-organizational psychology.
Graduate certificate in counseling and psychology programs generally consist of a limited number of graduate courses – three, four, or five courses is common – that can be completed by working professionals in eight to twelve months. Because these programs are typically designed to accommodate working professionals, many offer courses in the evening, on weekends, or online so as not to conflict with the traditional work week. In addition, graduate certificate programs generally cost less and take significantly less time to complete than full graduate degree programs because they require fewer courses.
Finally, there are two distinct levels of graduate certificate programs in psychology and counseling. While many programs require applicants to hold a master’s or doctoral degree, some graduate certificate programs in psychology and certain counseling specializations accept college graduates who have not yet earned a graduate degree. For example, there are post-baccalaureate psychology certificate programs for bachelor’s program graduates who did not major in psychology and need to complete prerequisite undergraduate coursework in order to qualify for a graduate degree program in psychology. And in counseling specializations that do not require a master’s degree, such as addiction and substance abuse counseling, there are post-baccalaureate graduate certificate programs that prepare students to begin work in counseling once they have completed the program and registered with a state board of counseling.
Graduate Certificates in Psychology and Counseling
Learn more about graduate certificate programs in psychology and counseling by exploring the programs listed below.
Addiction and substance abuse graduate certificate programs offer college graduates and mid-career professionals who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree with training and instruction in the principles and practices of substance abuse and addiction prevention and treatment.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) graduate certificate programs offer college graduates and mid-career professionals who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree with academic instruction and professional training in the psychological theories and clinical practices used to help people with autism, brain injuries, intellectual disabilities, and/or social and behavioral problems develop better social and behavioral skills.
Clinical mental health and rehabilitation counseling graduate certificate programs offer qualified students who hold a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree with a direct pathway to becoming a licensed professional counselor (LPC) without having to complete a full master’s program in clinical counseling.
General counseling and counseling specialization graduate certificate programs are non-degree, post-baccalaureate and post-master’s academic programs that are offered by accredited, non-profit colleges and universities, and which allow qualified students to study general counselor education, college and career counseling, trauma and grief counseling, sports and performance counseling, and other counseling specializations.
School counseling graduate certificate programs are non-degree granting academic programs that provide professional training in school counseling to qualified students and mid-career professionals who either have a master’s degree in counseling, education, or a related field, or to students who hold a bachelor’s degree and intend to pursue further graduate studies in education and/or counseling.
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