Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Psychology

Online Psychology Certificate Programs may enable learners to conveniently broaden knowledge and skills in a particular area of psychology. An online Graduate Certificate in Psychology typically explores a singular topic, which could mean an in-depth and targeted set of courses.

written by Rana Waxman

Online Psychology Certificate Programs: Overview

Students could look for Online Psychology Certificate Programs in various types of psychology. There are psychology certificate programs for various levels of education, depending on where the prospective student is in his or her career. Whether just starting out or already at work as a licensed professional, there’s an option for just about everyone.

Online graduate certificate programs in psychology may be useful as stand-alone credentials or as a preliminary course of study for a graduate degree. Either way, these tend to be shorter term programs with fewer courses that may range from 12 to 27 credits.

Applicants to online Psychology Certificate Programs may need to fill out the same form as other graduate students, but certainly, this could vary. The wide range of subjects covered lends itself to diverse requirements, such as a specific academic background.

Other material that may need to be furnished with transcripts and completed application form could draw from the items below. This is, of course, a guide. Please refer to individual online psychology schools for further details.

  • Minimum GPA
  • Sample of writing or Masters thesis
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement of goals
  • Interview

Pursue an Online Psychology Certificate Post-Bachelors

Online post-baccalaureate Psychology Certificate Programs may be designed for students who already have a bachelors degree in psychology or another field. They may help graduates to further their psychology career, make a career change into the field of psychology, or go on to pursue a masters degree.

Either way, these programs provide courses at the masters level, which could provide a nice challenge. Without the commitment of a full degree. Dip your toes in the water, then think about how to build on your knowledge through a full degree later on.

Post-baccalaureate certificate programs are typically 12 to 18 credit hours, which students might complete in one year on a full-time basis. Expect variables in program length and credit weight.

Pursue an Online Psychology Certificate Post-Masters

Online post-masters Psychology Certificate Programs could be of interest to professionals (E.g. counselors, educators) who want to develop their grasp of psychology beyond the masters degree, and may prepare students to pursue doctoral studies later.

In a post-master’s program, students might take doctoral-level coursework and may study to refine their ability to provide therapy to a specific group. This could be motivated by a desire to switch career fields, carve out a niche, or pursue advancement which requires more education.

As with other certificate programs some range from 12 to 18 credit hours, although programs intended to meet specific state licensure (E.g. ABA certification) might require more courses and some supervised field work. Consequently, the length could vary, with many programs still about one year if undertaken on a full-time basis.

Post-master’s certificate programs in psychology often require a masters degree in a mental health field and eligibility to pursue licensure in the state of residence, if the individual is not already licensed.

Types of Online Graduate Certificates in Psychology

Online post-Bachelors and post-Masters graduate certificates in psychology could connect students more deeply with a field they already know about, or help them learn new techniques.

Build up your resume and expand your mind with a topic that may be meaningful to your career and personal interests.

Online Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate

An online Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate (ABA) could help students master the theories and interventions used to help those with autism, autism spectrum, and related behavioral disorders.

Behavior analysis is the scientific study of human behavior with an eye to improve socially important behaviors so persons could function optimally. Some ABA certificate programs may prepare graduates to pursue licensure as Board-Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) in their state.

Students who pursue online ABA certification may be able to complete coursework via computer, and might arrange their supervised practicum in their local community. Also, in some schools, learners may meet online with a BCBA supervisor to prepare portfolio exhibits.

These components together may be required to allow students to be eligible to sit for the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam. See below for some potential course topics.

  • Language and Social Skills for Individuals with Autism
  • Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Assessing Autism Interventions
  • Professionalism for Behavior Analysts

Typically, there are specific admission requirements for ABA certificate programs. For instance, applicants may need a Masters in ABA, Psychology, Education or BCBA-approved major. Some online psychology schools might also ask students to complete a practicum site approval form.

Online Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate

An online Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) graduate certificate may prepare graduates to assist children, adolescents and adults with these behavioral issues. Curriculums might use video-taped case studies to bring courses to life.

Interested students might use an ASD certificate as a stand-alone graduate certificate or as an emphasis in and Online Masters in Special Education at partner school, George Mason University. On its own, it may require 15 credits, or 5 courses.

In their coursework, students might learn how to identify and support the behavior and sensory needs of individuals with Autism. Also, how to intervene at various lifespan stages. Other topics might discuss ways to support communication and literacy in Autistic persons.

Online Certificate in Developmental Psychology

An online Certificate in Developmental Psychology could discuss the various influences and ways people mature and grow across the life cycle. Some students of developmental psychology may focus on children or adolescents. Others may want to study aging and the challenges that older adults face.

Online Certificate in Child and Adolescent Development: Oriented to current professionals, a Child and Adolescent Psychology Certificate program may provide students with the chance to enhance specific skills. These abilities may help them to effectively assist young people who struggle with mental health issues.

Curriculums could examine normal growth from infancy through adulthood. Students might therefore study the biological, psychological, and social factors that impact children and adolescents. In addition to psychosocial roles, this discussion could touch on familial interpersonal dynamics.

Coursework could include studies in psychopathology and behavior disorders, trauma and crisis intervention, and evidence-based programs. Other aspects could bring in elements of family systems and family therapy. The goal, to understand how structure positive interventions for various situations.

  • Peer pressure
  • Body image
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Relationships
  • Sexuality
  • Parental divorce or death

Online Certificate in Industrial Organizational Psychology

An Online Certificate in Industrial Organizational (I-O) Psychology could assist students who want to understand and work to improve workplace behavior and productivity. Coursework might therefore examine the factors that drive organizational success.

I-O psychology is an applied psychology. Psychological principles and research methods are used to problem solve and enrich the quality of work life. Students might therefore learn how to manage organizational change, select and motivate organizational teams, and increase employee output.

Curriculums could provide insight into organizational behaviors at the individual and team levels. Students might discuss issues such as motivation, diversity, work stress, conflict and negotiation, decisions, personality, and attitudes. Other areas that might be covered in course topics could include the following.

  • Management and leadership
  • Corporate ethics
  • Organizational climate
  • Globalization

The nature of the courses addressed could mean that for some online graduate certificate programs in I-O, applicants may need some type of related post-baccalaureate relevant work experience.

Advanced Certificate in Workplace Learning and Instruction: Designed to help students align employee development plans with strategy, students may learn to leverage personnel talent to optimize organizational success.

Coursework could aim to foster skills that could be used to develop effective learning materials. Effective material is that which drives strategic employee development and boosts performance.

Other aspects of the curriculum could provide insight into management to help students lead the employee development efforts of an organization. Potential course topics could draw from the examples listed.

  • Theories of learning
  • Instructional design
  • Learning assessment and evaluation
  • Human performance design and development

The state with the highest employment level for I-O psychologists is Virginia. i

Online Certificate in Social Emotional Development

An online Certificate in Social Emotional Development may be useful to current educators who want to help students adapt to the complex challenges of today’s digital age.

This certificate program might assist a teacher or helping professional learn techniques to support their students. Study to help them develop key attributes problem solve, self-manage, and build relationship and social awareness skills.

Curriculums may require students to complete 15 credits of core courses. These may focus on how to understand and engage the people served. Other courses might cover professional ethics, social emotional competence and mindfulness.

Online Coaching Certificate

An Online Coaching Certificate may help students develop the skills and techniques used in career, college, health and wellness, and other specific types of coaching practice. Coaching is a brief, goal oriented alternative to psychotherapy.

Nova Southeastern University, a partner school, offers a Graduate Certificate Program in Solution Focused Coaching. It is a 15 credit hour program (five courses). Students who decide to continue their studies may be able to apply some of these credit hours toward the M.S., Ph.D., or D.M.F.T. in Family Therapy, if accepted into the program.

Course requirements cover systems theory as well as major theories of personality and psychopathology. Students might study the psychiatric diagnostic classification systems as well as implications for treatment and a comparison of approaches.

A course in human development might provide insight into therapy techniques that could be appropriate at each stage of the life cycle. Other courses might expand on some of the topics listed below.

  • Workshop development
  • Community outreach
  • How to establish a referral network
  • Models of Family Therapy

Why Study to Earn a Psychology Certificate Online?

Online Psychology Certificate Programs enable students to potentially boost a resume without putting life on hold. Students don’t have to relocate, leave their current career, or interrupt an otherwise busy day to attend class on campus. Instead, the campus comes to the student via web-based platforms.

Coursework is usually offered through an interactive learning system which is intended to be easily navigable and accessible across mobile devices, tablets, laptops, or desktops. These platforms generally allow students to find their coursework and assignments, work with fellow classmates, and direct questions to their instructor.

In terms of schedule, students typically have full access to uploaded material. With the exception of deadlines, this may permit students to choose when and where to log in, rather than at set times. Some schools might also provide 24/7 technical support, which may ease the mind should a tech problem occur.

Despite the virtual classroom, most online psychology schools engage learners through discussion boards and feedback. Professors might lead these discussions, and may ask students to view documentaries, lectures, and online assets from various sources to help create a well-rounded online program.

Formats for online Graduate Certificate Programs in Psychologyvary of course. Some programs may make use of video conferencing and podcasts, and students may take part in real-time conversation with a diverse group of peers. Others may be entirely modular. Either way, online learners have the same access to services as on-site students.

Unsure? Preview an online class when this feature is available. Some online psychology schools may put up a live link to give prospective students an idea of how easy it could be to earn a certificate online.

Choose an Online Psychology Graduate Certificate

Balance education with obligation. Easily compare and quickly apply to Online Psychology Certificate Programs from partner schools next. Choose the subject to get started. When you find an online graduate certificate in psychology that appeals to you, fill out the on-page form. Take that step now.


  • Purdue University Global

  • UMassOnline

  • University of Western States

  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

  • University of Cincinnati

  • Arcadia University

  • Daemen College

  • Missouri University of Science and Technology

  • Northern Arizona University

  • Fielding Graduate University