Certificate in Counseling Psychology with Course Summaries

All states require counselors to be licensed before practicing. Post-master's certificate programs in counseling psychology or professional counseling provide the educational requirements necessary to gain licensure in a particular state.

Essential Information

Students who complete a post-master's certificate program in professional counseling are expected to gain a thorough understanding of a specialty counselor's role in a patient's life. Students learn how to counsel patients with neuroses and other abnormal behaviors and the biological reasons behind human and animal behavior. Depending on students' specializations, students may learn details of counseling children and adolescents or those with substance abuse problems. Since a post-master's certificate may involve original research, students may also learn about research methods used by psychologists.

Such a certificate program can also be useful to a professional counselor who needs a touch-up in new systems and practices in the field. Certificate programs require applicants to have a counseling psychology graduate degree, 3 letters of recommendation, a transcript of previous coursework, and to attend in-person interviews. Program specializations include behavioral counseling, motivational counseling, substance abuse counseling, vocational counseling, adolescent counseling, and family counseling among others. Programs are 9-30 credit hours and often require an internship or practicum.

Graduate Certificate in Counseling Psychology

The didactic courses included in a post-master's certificate program in counseling psychology focus on both counseling theory and its practical application. They include abnormal psychology and the following:

  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Psychology and childhood
  • Psychology and adolescence
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Behavior disorders
  • Research methods in psychology

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of specialty professional counselors are school and career counselors, with employment in the category totaling 253,460 in 2015. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors totaled 87,090 employed in 2015, while mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists accounted for 160,270 jobs in the industry the same year.

The employment of counselors was projected to increase at varying rates between 2014 and 2024, depending on the specialty field: school and career counselors, 8%; substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, 22%; mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists, 19% (BLS).

In May 2015, the BLS published the average annual earnings for counselors and therapists as follows: educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors, $56,490; substance abuse and behavioral disorders counselors, $42,920; mental health counselors, $45,080; and marriage and family therapists, $53,520.

Certificates in counseling psychology prepare individuals for state licensure by providing coursework in both counseling theory and its practical application. Coursework may vary a bit based on specialization.

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