Certificatein Psychology

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Psychology is one of the most popular undergraduate majors. For professionals with degrees in psychology or another field, a psychology certificate can lead to career advancement. A specialized psychology certificate prepares students for state licensure in a variety of disciplines, aids in career changes or advancement and allows the student to grow personally and professionally. With a specialized certificate, professionals can open the doors to more career opportunities and can offer patients more specialized care. Most certificate programs also help prepare students for more advanced studies; students can apply credit hours to a master’s or doctorate.

Types of Psychology Certificates

There are psychology certificate programs for every level of education, depending on where the prospective student is in his or her career. Whether just starting out or already working as a licensed professional, there’s an option for just about everyone.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

The post-baccalaureate certificate in psychology is designed for working professionals who already have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or another field. Programs are meant to advance students’ knowledge and skills in a specific specialty, allowing graduates to further their psychology career, make a career change into the field of psychology, or go on to pursue a master’s degree. Post-baccalaureate certificate programs are typically 18 credit hours, which students can complete in one year if attending classes on a full-time basis.

Classes in a post-baccalaureate certificate program are at the master’s level. Students take graduate-level courses and learn how to apply their learning to real-world issues during the program. Graduates of the post-bac program earn credits that they can apply toward a master’s degree. Colleges and universities require a bachelor’s degree—usually in any field—for admission into post-bac programs.

Post-Master’s Certificate

A post-master’s certificate is ideal for those who wish to develop their skills and knowledge of psychology beyond the master’s degree level and can also help prepare students for doctoral degree programs.

In a post-master’s program, students take doctoral-level coursework that further develops their knowledge of a specialization, often allowing additional opportunities for state credentialing. Certificate programs are about 18 credit hours, allowing students to complete the program within one calendar year, if attending full-time. Post-master’s certificate programs in psychology require a master’s degree in a mental health field and eligibility to pursue licensure in the state of residence, if the individual is not already licensed.

Post-Doctoral Certificate

Licensed mental health professionals looking to receive advanced training are perfect candidates for a post-doctoral certificate. Students receive advanced training in their current specialty or gain knowledge and expertise in a new, usually complementary, specialization.

Graduates of a post-doctoral certificate program usually qualify for additional licensure in their state of residence. The additional education and qualifications allow the professional to further his or her career, often in a very specialized area. Programs are three to five years in length, depending on the school and if students attend on a full- or part-time basis.

Certificates For Non-Degree Seeking Students

Non-degree certificate programs introduce students to the wonders of psychology, or a subspecialty of psychology, and can lead to rewarding careers supporting professionals in health care, social work, human resources, education, marketing and other fields.

Non-degree certificates are usually six to 12 months long and require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission. Some programs even allow students to complete coursework at their own pace, allowing them to continue working full-time while exploring a new field. Specific requirements will vary by school and program.

Certificate Specializations

Earning a certificate in a psychology specialization is a great way for professionals to advance their skillset without having to commit to earning a full degree. There are many different certificate programs available for psychology professionals who wish to focus their skills and experience on a particular area. Below are a few examples of certificate specializations within the field of psychology:

General – A certificate in general psychology is designed for students who want to teach psychology in public schools or at the community college level. Graduates will also become more marketable in other fields, such as advertising, public health and human resources. Students may also qualify for graduate coursework at their chosen college.

Courses in a general psychology certificate program include advanced-level social psychology, developmental psychology and learning theory. Most programs require some psychology coursework in the student’s undergraduate program since classes are high-level.

Sports – Athletes, personal trainers, athletic coaches and sports enthusiasts can all benefit from a certificate in sports psychology. Students learn how to improve athletic performance through a variety of techniques and study how to use exercise to help numerous mental health challenges.

Students take classes such as psychology of coaching, applied sport psychology and therapeutic boundaries. The admission requirement for a program like this is generally a bachelor’s degree, though some sports and/or athletic background would benefit the student.

Industrial/Organizational (I/O) – A certificate in industrial/organizational psychology can help further a career in human resources, business, management or a similar field. Sometimes called occupational psychology, this certificate focuses on interpersonal dynamics in a place of business, personnel decisions, productivity and environmental change.

Classes focus on topics such as interpersonal conflict, cultural diversity and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. A program like this is designed for working professionals and requires at least a bachelor’s degree, though the degree does not necessarily need to be in psychology.

Forensic – Those interested in or working in criminal justice may benefit from a certificate in forensic psychology. Students learn strategies in interviewing witnesses, how to gauge the impact of drugs on crimes, and how jurors influence and make decisions during a trial.

Those exploring a forensic certificate should hold a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, but many hold a master’s degree. The undergraduate or graduate degree does not need to be in psychology or criminal justice. Students will take classes covering topics such as ethics and the criminal justice system, interpersonal dynamics and advanced crime theory.

Counseling (post-MA or post-doc) – A post-master’s or post-doctorate counseling certificate can propel a professional’s career forward as he or she focuses on a very specific field of counseling. Students typically pursue this type of certificate in order to fulfill requirements or prepare for licensure.

Programs admit students who have a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology or other mental health field. Classes will vary depending on the school, but can include those related to assessment techniques in counseling, multicultural counseling, ethics and professional orientation, and practicum studies.

Neuropsychology (post-doc) – A post-doc certificate in neuropsychology allows graduates to perform as independent clinical neuropsychologists. In this capacity, they administer and interpret neuropsychological tests and consult with neurologists, neurosurgeons, pediatricians, psychologists and other medical professionals.

A certificate program such as this typically requires an internship, doctoral dissertation and postdoctoral fellowship. Students learn about neuropsychological intervention, rehabilitation, psychological foundations of behavior and more prior to certification.

Psychology Certificate Programs Online

People are busy, but they know continuing education and additional licensure will help to boost any career. For those with family and work obligations, choosing an online psychology certificate program makes a lot of sense. Unlike traditional campus-based programs, online programs allow the student to take classes from the comfort of home or anywhere with an Internet connection, usually on their own time. Students access lectures and course materials online and submit assignments via a course management system such as Blackboard via or email. Online programs require student discipline and a willingness to reach out to professors and peers when needed, which may be challenging for some.

Students who want to interact with other students and their professor, but occasionally need flexibility in their school schedule, would benefit from a hybrid program. In these programs, students take many classes online but have the added benefit of attending some meetings, lectures or other requirements on campus.

Career Opportunities

A specialized certificate is not required to practice psychology; however, earning a certificate can be a huge career boost. Certificate-holders often garner more respect from physicians and other colleagues. Additionally, certificated psychologists often earn more money and accept more reimbursement from third-party payers. Most importantly, however, a specialized psychology certificate provides additional education and experience, which will allow the holder to better service his or her patients.

If you want to learn more about specializations in the psychology field, click on the links below.

For career planning resources, you can check out our career guide below.

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SCHOOL NAME CITY, STATE STUDENT POPULATION SCHOOL TYPE TUITION PROGRAM TYPE PROGRAMS
University of Phoenix-Online CampusPhoenix, AZ307,871Private, 4-above$9,216Both
Master’s - ONLINE
  • Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Health
  • Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Doctorate - ONLINE
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Master’s
  • Psychology - Other
Ashford UniversityClinton, IA74,596Private, 4-year$9,648Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Psychology - General
  • Mental and Social Health Services and Allied Professions - Other
Arizona State UniversityTempe, AZ72,254Public, 4-year$9,208Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Psychology - General
  • Applied Psychology
Master’s
  • Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services
  • Psychology - General
  • Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
Doctorate
  • Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling
  • Educational Psychology
  • Psychology - General
  • Neuroscience
  • Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services
Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA64,096Private, 4-above$18,562Both
Associate - ONLINE
  • Associate of Arts in Psychology - Christian Counseling
Bachelor’s - ONLINE
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice - Criminal Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Christian Counseling
Associate
  • Psychology - General
Bachelor’s
  • Psychology - General
Master’s
  • Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services
  • Counseling Psychology
Doctorate
  • Counseling Psychology
Miami Dade CollegeMiami, FL63,736Public, 4-year$2,483Campus
Associate
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Services Technician
Houston Community CollegeHouston, TX63,015Public, 2-year$744Campus
Associate
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Services Technician
University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL58,465Public, 4-year$4,426Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Psychology - General
Master’s
  • Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services
  • Psychology - General
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling
Doctorate
  • Psychology - General
Ohio State University-Main CampusColumbus, OH56,867Public, 4-year$9,168Campus
Bachelor’s
  • Psychology - General
Master’s
  • Psychology - General
Doctorate
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology - General