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Most Common Psychology Certifications

Alliant International University
Alliant
Alliant International University
Published 11/21/2022
8 minutes read
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What Are the Most Common Psychology Certifications Available at Alliant?

Whether you want to be a certified counselor, a school psychologist, or a clinical psychologist, the point is there are plenty of career options in psychology. Pursuing a successful, impactful career in psychology requires a commitment to rigorous coursework, hands-on training, continuing education, and a passion for helping patients become their best selves. At Alliant International University, students have an opportunity to not only pursue licensure, but also have access to two of our accredited psychology certifications. 

But, why should you pursue a psychology certification? Are you eligible? Would higher education help fast-track becoming a licensed psychologist? What do our two psychology certification programs entail? In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more to help you choose a certificate program that’s right for you and your future career. 

Whether you’re still researching a career in psychology or you’re ready to take the plunge and apply to a psychology program, you’re in the right place. 

Why Pursue a Certification?

There are over 100,000 licensed psychologists throughout the United States.1 However, psychology isn’t a monolith—most psychologists pursue at least one specialty to provide the best possible care to a specific population group or collection of diagnoses. Because psychology is constantly evolving, it's no surprise that most practitioners also pursue higher education.

What do you do to get an advanced certificate? If you’re considering specializing your psychology education, you should explore your options for psychology certification programs for many reasons:

  • Psychology certifications provide students with an in-depth study of a specific disorder, group of disorders, or patient population group. 
  • Psychology certification programs allow students to gather so much more than the general knowledge offered in any one education program.
  • Exploring a special interest can be a great first step to help prepare psychology students for an impactful career and improve their ability to provide highly specialized services to future patients.  

Pursuing a certification may add value to your graduate education by providing extra preparation for licensure and expanding your knowledge of a niche subject. Getting an advanced certificate also may also give you an opportunity for growth in your professional development.

Are You Eligible to Enroll in a Certificate Program?

Alliant International University offers two psychology certifications, and each program has different eligibility requirements.

  • To enroll in the Doctoral Respecialization Program (DRP) in Clinical Psychology, you must already have a doctorate in another area of psychology or a closely-related field. Students may be able to specialize in clinical psychology and use the program to become eligible for licensure. 
  • For enrollment in the Certificate in LGBT Human Services and Mental Health program, you must also be enrolled in a graduate or doctoral program at Alliant International University. You also must meet the admissions criteria and enroll in the California School of Professional Psychology to pursue the certification.  

While our two psychology certifications are tailored for different students, both provide an opportunity to specialize your future psychology practice. 

Psychology Certifications at Alliant International University

Each of our accredited psychology certification programs offers unique requirements for coursework and hands-on training. Let’s explore both programs to help you decide which one is right for you and your career. 

Doctoral Respecialization Program (DRP) in Clinical Psychology

This is a career path for an aspiring clinical psychologist. The Doctoral Respecialization Program (DRP) in Clinical Psychology provides an opportunity for students who have already received a doctorate to respecialize in clinical psychology and, if desired, take a licensure exam. 

However, if you’re pursuing licensure in California or elsewhere, you must take the following steps to ensure eligibility for licensure: 

  1. Confirm with the appropriate state Board of Psychology that you’re eligible to take the licensure exam based on your previous doctoral degree.  
  2. Register with a state Board of Psychology to ensure that all clinical hours you undertake with the California School of Professional Psychology are recorded for licensure eligibility purposes. 

After enrolling in the DRP and taking the steps above, you’ll be ready to get started on your respecialization in clinical psychology. 

Course Requirements

The DRP offers a variety of courses that will prepare you for licensure in California or another state. The program requires that students complete the following requirements:

  • 35 units of clinical coursework
  • 9 units of clinical assessments
  • 36 units of post-doctoral internship hours

While a variety of courses are available to meet the first of these requirements, the selection and sequence of courses can be custom-tailored according to students’ experience in their previous doctoral program. Some of the available courses include:

  • Intercultural Awareness Development
  • Observation and Interviewing
  • Advanced Psychopathology
  • Theory and technique of Clinical Practice, with a choice of:
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    • Family Systems
    • Psychodynamic
  • Clinical and Ethical Issues
  • Advanced Clinical Seminars

Not all courses count for the same quantity of units, and you’ll have to take two sections of some courses, like Intercultural Awareness Development. Each section will cover different material. 

Optional Coursework Requirements

In addition to the coursework above, you can also explore additional topics. These topics are required for licensure in California and numerous other states, but they’re not required for completion of the DRP.

Alliant International University offers the following optional courses:

  • Chemical Dependency
  • Child Abuse and Treatment
  • Human Sexuality
  • Partner Abuse
  • Aging
  • Suicidality

Each course typically provides less than one unit, so make sure that these optional courses will fulfill your state's Board of Psychology licensure eligibility requirements. Whether or not you plan to pursue licensure, these courses provide an in-depth study of each topic and contribute to a well-rounded clinical education and future practice. 

Postdoctoral Internship Hours

One of the most integral and time-consuming requirements for licensure in clinical psychology is the postdoctoral internship. Different state Boards of Psychology require different quantities of supervised clinical hours, but the DRP provides 3,000 hours per California licensure requirements. 

Alliant International University provides two types of postdoctoral credits to fulfill licensure requirements:

  1. Postdoctoral Practica, which are typically part-time hours spent in an approved facility. 
  2. Postdoctoral Internships, which typically require full-time hours in an approved facility.

Certificate in LGBT Human Services and Mental Health

If you’re already enrolled in or considering a psychology graduate program at Alliant University, our Certificate in LGBT Human Services and Mental Health program is for you. 

As of 2017, approximately nine million adults in the US self-identified as LGBT, and this patient population group may benefit from mental health care providers who are educated on the systemic issues that befall LGBT communities.2

Our certificate in LGBT Human Services and Mental Health aims to provide competency in the following skills:

  • Understanding multicultural, intersecting identities of LGBT clients
  • Acknowledging the historical and cultural influences impacting LGBT clients
  • Using best practices for assessing and treating issues in LGBT mental health

Even if you’re still on the fence about choosing a specialty, competency in treating LGBT mental health may be able to bolster your ability to treat a diverse patient group—an integral part of any psychological practice. 

Required Courses

You’ll have to complete four different requirements to achieve the LGBT Human Services and Mental Health Certificate:

  1. Foundations of LGBT Mental Health course
  2. At least one Advanced Study Course
  3. At least three to four LGBTQ Electives
  4. A two-semester practice sequence providing services to patients

The coursework requirements comprise twelve units, and students may choose courses from either the Advanced Study Courses or the LGBTQ Electives to meet this unit requirement. Advances Study Courses are generally more in-depth, while LGBTQ Electives explore general topics affecting the LGBT community and treating their mental health. 

Advanced Study Courses

Students must take at least one Advanced Study Course to complete the Certificate in LGBT Human Services and Mental Health, and these courses typically cover one LGBT identity and explore issues affecting this population at length. If you’re a student who loves to deep-dive into specialized topics, these courses are for you. 

Alliant International University offers four Advanced Study Courses:

  • Advanced Study of Bisexual Issues
  • Advanced Study of Transgender Issues
  • Advanced Study of Lesbian Issues
  • Advanced Study of Gay Male Issues

Students can take just one of these courses or all four. The credit requirements for the certificate allow students to choose in-depth courses or more broad topics to develop competencies based upon their interests and practice goals. For students seeking an in-depth course experience, the Advanced Study Courses provide an excellent framework for theoretical competency and hands-on treatment for LGBT patients. 

LGBTQ Electives

If you prefer to explore border topics and use them as a springboard for deeper analysis, consider taking more LGBTQ Electives. These courses address a specific area of practice and explore its usefulness in the LGBT community at large. 

LGBT Electives include:

  • Cultural Seminar: LGBT Couples and Families
  • Practice Seminar: LGBTQ-Affirmative Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Sociocultural Diversity-Intersectionality of Identities
  • LGBTQ Lifespan Development
  • LGBTQ Affirmative Psychotherapy
  • LGBTQ Issues in Education (Pre-K through High School)
  • LGBTQ Health Disparities
  • LGBTQ Immigration and International Issues

While each of these courses covers a broad psychological topic concerning the LGBT community, they provide so much more than simple background knowledge of LGBT issues—students taking one or more LGBT Electives develop competencies related to niche patient groups and bolster the skills acquired throughout their psychology graduate program. 

Ensuring a Successful Psychology Career with Alliant International University Certificate Programs

Psychology certifications allow students to explore a deeper niche, develop specialized skills, or prepare for licensure. Including them in your resume also make you look more credible, which aids your professional development. At Alliant International University, our two psychology certification programs prepare students for hands-on treatment of patients and, if desired, licensure by their state’s Board of Psychology. 

Whether you’re a doctorate recipient looking to achieve licensure or a new graduate student pursuing a specialty in a specific population, our DRP and LGBT Human Services and Mental Health certificates can be a great first step on your journey to becoming a psychologist. 


Sources: 

  1. Lin, Luona, Jessica Conroy, and Peggy Christidis. “Which States Have the Most Licensed Psychologists?” Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association, January 1, 2020. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/01/datapoint-states. Access January 4, 2022.
  2. “Diversity & Health Equity Education.” LGBTQ Patients, 2017. https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/cultural-competency/education/…. Accessed January 4, 2022.
     

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