Psychologist Certification and Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Psychology
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Introduction to Psychologist Certification Programs

What is a Psychologist Certification?

Working within the field of Psychology offers nearly endless opportunities for specialization, allowing you to focus in on the aspects of the profession that interest you most. There are plenty of specialized degrees in various fields and psychology certificate programs are among some of the most popular. These psychologist certifications are offered at the post Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate levels. These highly flexible programs allow you to continue your education and earn extra credentials to specialize in your career.

Even if you have a degree in another field, you can still benefit from earning an online counseling certificate. In today's job market, you would be hard-pressed to name even one field for which a solid understanding of people's motivations and behaviors wouldn't be an asset. By earning your counseling certificate online you can expand both your education and your career!

What are the benefits of psychology certificate programs?

There are several different online graduate certificate programs in psychology, spanning across educational attainment levels and often offering online psychology classes. The most popular is the Post Graduate Certificate, which is usually earned to delineate a specific focus for practicing Psychologists. Regardless of the degree you hold, earning a certificate in psychology, such as a counseling certification online, from a college or university can help you in several ways:

1) If you are in the process of earning a Bachelor's degree in business or another field, adding online psychology certificate courses can help you stand out from the rest of the pack. Psychology and successful sales, marketing and business endeavors go hand in hand, as human behavior directly impacts the bottom line.

2) If you are applying for a Master's program in Psychology, adding an online graduate certificate psychology specialization displays your commitment to the field, your focus and may enhance your application.

3) If you're already in the workforce, adding a certificate in a specialized area of Psychology can help you to qualify for a variety of interesting positions. Employers are impressed by people who invest in keeping their education current, and often prefer employees who have advanced knowledge of psychological principles and who have completed accredited online certification programs.

4) If you are already employed in the psychology field, earning a certificate in a specialization increases your knowledge base and can help you land you the job you want. For instance, taking a certificate course in child psychology can help you obtain a role within a family centered institution, while a certificate in addiction counseling could help you obtain placement with a rehabilitation facility.

5) Earning a Psychology Certificate opens new opportunities to network with professors and other students. The importance of developing and maintaining solid references and contacts within your field is essential to success. While it is important to have a solid education, we all understand the old adage 'it's not what you know, but who you know'. Combining knowledge and networking is a wise choice as you move forward.

While these benefits make earning a certificate in psychology attractive, what makes certificates particularly prized is that they often deliver these benefits in less time and at a lower cost than earning a higher degree. Most certificate programs can be completed in a few months to a year depending on which type of certificate you are interested in. Because certificates in psychology focus on core knowledge of a specific kind, many online psychology certificate programs consist of just a handful of psychology classes.

What are programs for Psychologist Certification like?

In essence, there are three types of Psychology certificate programs available: post Bachelor's, post Graduate and post Doctorate certificates. Each type of certificate program requires that you have the basic degree program completed or in progress before obtaining specialization. This means that you can add a certificate on to your studies while you are completing them, or after you have earned the respective degree. In most cases, your degree does not necessarily have to be in Psychology, especially at the post Bachelor's level.

Take the Certificate of Psychology program at Columbia, for example. It is a Postbaccalaureate certificate program designed specifically for college graduates without a background in Psychology. This program is often taken as preparation for graduate studies, and attracts students with Bachelor's degrees in education, management, public health and social work. The course plan consists of nine classes in Psychology, including lab and research courses, and can be completed by earning less than 30 credits.

Some of the most common areas of specialization in Psychology include conflict management, sports psychology, eating disorders, substance abuse, school counseling and family and marriage counseling. Most graduate level online psychology certificate programs require that you be enrolled in a Master's or Doctorate degree program to be considered for admission, but it is possible to find both campus based and online graduate certificate programs in Psychology if you try.

Look through the schools and psychology certificates below to find those you are interested in learning more about. Once you have a few choices in mind, contact the schools by clicking on the links to request information. Obtaining program materials and reviewing them will help you find the psychology certificate online that is best for you and your career goals. Keep in mind that many schools are now offering online graduate certificate programs in Psychology as well. With the push toward distance learning, there has been a recent expansion of Psychology certificate programs online as a means to facilitate education expansion for working students and those with families.

While it used to be that you had to attend classes on campus, taking time off of work, many schools now offer psychology certificate programs online. Capella University, for instance, offers several online Psychology certificates including addiction counseling, family and marriage therapy, school psychology and professional counseling. If you would like to learn more about your options for online certificates in Psychology, contact the schools for program materials.

Working With Your Certificate in Psychology

Online psychology certificate programs can prepare you for a variety of specialized careers in counseling and psychology. Mental health issues are so complex, and there are so many struggles that patients deal with, it's no wonder there is a growing number of online psychology courses with certificates for students who have their Masters degree already.

Here are just a few of the careers you can pursue with your online counseling certificate education:

First of all, let's start with the big picture. Post baccalaureate certificate programs in psychology can help you shift into several areas of psychology that are reserved for individuals with expertise. This expertise typically stems from Graduate level and Certificate degree programs.

Here are some common professional areas of interest for students comparing Psychology Certification programs:

  • Addiction and rehabilitation
  • Disaster Relief
  • Gender Diversity
  • General Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Mental Health & Trauma
  • Organizational

After 9-12 months of earning your certificate in counselling psychology, you can purse many roles in those areas of psychology and counseling.

Here are some specifics for working with your psychology certificate:

1.) School Counselor. Many child psychology classes online can prepare you for the role of school counselor. In this job, you can guide students through some of their most formative years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017), school counselors earned an average wage of $53,660 (BLS, 2017). The anticipated 8% growth for school counselors between 2014-2024 is expected to keep up with the overall growth for other occupations.

Your certificate program will likely help you develop strategies for helping students become more successful in school. A lot of your counseling will focus on social skills that are so important for students at all grade levels.

2.) Substance Abuse & Addiction Counselor. Working as a mental health or substance abuse counselor can be rewarding. Whether you want to help teens or adults, your online psychology certificate program may help you learn the unique skills that this type of counseling requires. The BLS states that mental health counselors earned an average pay of $43,190 (2017). While this may be lower than the average for school counselor pay, there is a stark difference in job growth. The growth for mental health counselors between 2014-2024 is expected to be 19%, which is over twice the national average for job growth.

The BLS also breaks down the pay for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists by type of setting they work at.

Here is the average pay by type of workplace:

  • State and local government - $69,700
  • Outpatient care centers - $47,240
  • Offices of other health practitioners - $45,690
  • Nursing and residential care facilities - $44,140
  • Individual and family services - $43,510

3.) Social Work. Pursuing a career in social work is possible with your certificate in psychology. We need educated social workers to help the most disadvantaged members of our population. Children, the physically disabled, mentally ill individuals, they all require equal representation under the law. Professionals with a clinically focused social work certificate can help rehabilitate, diagnose and treat individuals that need social services.

The BLS states that social workers earn an average pay of $46,8900 per year (2017), and lists psychotherapy practices under their 'what they do' section. But, to get the best idea of what psychology-based social work pays, it's best to speak with schools that serve students in your city.

4.) Marriage and family therapist. There are many schools that offer psychology graduate certificate programs in marriage and family therapy or spiritual counselor certification online. These programs are geared to help students aid in therapy that is focused on family relationship dynamics. Once you complete your certificate program, you can apply for counselor roles that focus on couples and families. You can review the average pay for marriage counselors in the second job descriptions for substance abuse counselors, since the BLS lumps these two occupations together for salary analysis.

Keep in mind that your state may have additional license requirements for certificate in counseling graduates for certain roles. Until you reach the PhD level, you will likely have to work under the guidance of a licensed professional. This can give you the kind of experience to determine if a doctorate program, and your own practice would be a good career move from here.

How Can You Learn More About Counseling Certificate Online Programs?

Online psychology courses with Certificates offer you an opportunity to train at an efficient pace that can result in a whole new career trajectory. Just think about the kind of impact you can have when you step up to a new professional level.

Contact the schools below to learn more about psychologist certification.



Featured Online Certificate in Psychology Programs:


Online programs may not be available in all states


Traditional On Campus Certificate in Psychology Programs:





In addition to the campus based programs, there are numerous online programs available for many of the common Psychology degree types (Associate, Bachelors, Masters, PhD) and specialties. Please feel free to use the links on the left-hand side of this page to explore some of the online degree programs available. Thanks for visiting!