Counseling Psychology Certificate Graduate Programs

Counseling Psychology Certificate Programs are designed to help graduate students with the educational requirements needed to gain counseling licensure. Sometimes referred to as post-master’s certificate programs, Counseling Psychology Graduate Certificates are available in different concentration areas and may also be considered add-ons to an existing skill-set. Whether you are a current counseling professional seeking continued education or using the targeted credentials as part of your graduate degree, a certificate in counseling psychology is worth considering.

Counseling Psychology Certificate Programs: Basics

Interested in a Counseling Psychology Graduate Certificate Program? Prospective students usually need to have a counseling psychology graduate degree, letters of recommendation, a transcript of previous coursework, and sit for in-person interviews. Within the framework of counseling, students can choose a certificate in a variety of concentration areas. These might include art therapy, behavioral counseling, motivational counseling, substance abuse counseling, career counseling, adolescent counseling, family and marriage counseling, among others.

Sometimes referred to as “post-master’s” certificates, some programs are intended for students who already hold a master’s degree but require additional graduate credits in order to be eligible for the credential Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in certain states. Usually students need to successfully complete 60 graduate semester hours within which they may need to have credits in several designated areas. Graduate Certificate programs vary but typically are 9-30 credit hours.

Explore Counseling Psychology Certificate Programs in Depth

Counseling psychology is considered a specialization within psychology that encompasses research and applied work in several domains: counseling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counseling; and prevention and health. Some unifying themes in this branch of psychology include a focus on the client’s assets and strengths, their environment interactions, educational and career development, and personalities[i].

Counseling Psychology Certificate Programs often focus on both counseling theory and its practical application. Depending on what you choose, you may be studying subjects such as:

  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Psychology and childhood
  • Psychology and adolescence
  • Substance abuse counseling (alcohol and drug)
  • Behavior disorders
  • Research methods in psychology
  • Art therapy

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Counseling Psychologist

While it would seem that both the counselor and the counseling psychologist share the same goals- helping people resolve problems, there are very different educational paths, although both are licensed and regulated professions. There are options available to earn a certificate in counseling psychology for either path you choose to pursue. 

Counseling is generally associated with the field of education (e.g. M.S. or M.Ed.), although some counselors may have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in psychology. In addition, graduate psychology programs offer degrees in Counseling Psychology specifically. You might see programs that lead to credentialing in either LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) or LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, or something similar, depending on the state. You may study psychology but in the end you cannot call yourself a ‘psychologist’. Counseling is overseen and governed by the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is another organization that approves counseling programs.

Counseling Psychologists are licensed Psychologists, having earned a doctoral degree – either the PsyD or the PhD in counseling psychology. Psychology programs are overseen and governed by the American Psychological Association (APA). There are three licensable specialties in Psychology—Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology.[ii]

DID YOU KNOW? 30% of Behavioral Disorder Counselors have a Master’s degree, 19% a Bachelor’s degree. 16% a professional degree (O'Net)[iii]

Choosing a Graduate Certificate in Counseling Psychology: Online or On-Campus

One of the things to consider when selecting a graduate Counseling Psychology Certificate Programs is the learning format. Since counseling is a human-centered profession, most of your options will likely either revolve around attending graduate school whether full time or as part of an online program. This ensures that you learn the valuable interpersonal skills and receive practical patient-care methods. Also, it gives your professor a chance to assess you.

When you are ready to initiate a search, GradSchools.com makes it easy for you. Just use a few simple steps:

  1. Select the type of Counseling Psychology Certificate:
  • Art Therapy
  • Career Counseling
  • Counseling and Therapy
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  1. Choose Hybrid, Online, or Campus Format
  2. Browse listings in your category

Remember that you can also just search by location. Use the city, state or country tabs to determine what is available. You can request info from the graduate school directly. You want to make sure that any credits you earn will be accepted in the larger scheme of your graduate degree, licensing or other requirements you might have.

Some of the options you might find interesting – Certificate: Graduate Certificate in Alcohol & Drug Counseling, Graduate Certificate in Art Therapy, and Post-Master’s Professional Counselor Licensing Credits.

Take the Next Step to Earning Your Certificate in Counseling Psychology

Before you choose your Counseling Psychology Certificate, make sure that you are informed about accreditation standards and licensing requirements in your state. Certainly, learning focused skills and methods may be one way of opening up a variety of potential career paths, making it a great addition to your resume.


[i] apa.org/index.aspx |[ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm| [iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1011.00

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