Addictions and Mental Health Graduate Certificate Programs

Dec 31, 2019

The main focus of this article will be the graduate certificate programs related to addictions and mental health as well as the admission requirements that prospective students will usually need to meet.

Graduate certificate programs that concentrate on addictions and mental health are more likely to emphasize the former area. These programs might be of interest to those who would like to pursue a career as an addictions counselor as some programs cover the topics that are required to pass the licensure exam in a few states. Some graduate certificate programs in addictions may also include internship opportunities and practicum experiences.

Common Courses in Graduate Certificate Programs in Addictions and Mental Health

Students who are enrolled in a graduate certificate program in addictions and mental health may be able to take courses on-campus or online and in some cases, students can earn the certificate as well as a master's degree at the same time. There can be as many as 40 credit hours of materials that students can complete within a year or two.

Ethical Issues in Addiction

An ethics course could introduce students to the details of the ethical and legal codes that are relevant to the professional practice of an addictions counselor. Students may learn about the different organizations that are involved in maintaining these laws. After completing this course, students should be able to use ethical theories to guide their decision-making processes.


A psychopharmacology course usually covers the fundamentals of psychotropic drugs and how they cause addictions. In this course, students may learn how addictive drugs work on the brain as well as how these particular addictions can be treated. Students may also need to evaluate hypothetical patients and recommend the best routes for treatment.

Group Counseling

A course that focuses on group counseling could teach students how to treat individuals in a group setting. Students may learn about the different stages of group development and participate in simulated group activities. This course may also cover how students should deal with groups that are culturally diverse.

Treatment of Co-occurring Disorders

A course that covers treating co-occurring disorders might teach students how to treat those who have both addiction and mental health disorders. In these courses, students could learn how to use diagnosis and treatment models when dealing with these kinds of individuals. Students may also evaluate case studies using what they have learned.

The Foundations of Addiction

A foundational course on addiction could cover the basics of addiction theories as well as the history behind the treatment of addiction. Some courses may focus on the biological theories of addiction and the therapist's responsibilities when treating an addiction. In some cases, students may need to complete a project.

General Admission Requirements for Graduate Certificate Programs in Addictions and Mental Health

To be considered for admission, prospective students must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and some programs require a minimum GPA of 2.75. While applicants may enter the program with a degree from any discipline, they may need to complete prerequisite courses such as developmental psychology, counseling skills, and group process. When submitting their application, prospective students may need to send school transcripts, letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a statement of purpose. In some cases, applicants may need to write about their own experiences with addiction.

Graduate certificate programs in addictions and mental health can have up to 40 credit hours of coursework that could help persons pass state-mandated licensure exams. These programs are generally open to those with undergraduate degrees from an accredited college or university, but they may be required to complete prerequisite courses in areas related to psychology and counseling.

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