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Therapy Degrees & Certifications: A Comprehensive Guide

The call to help and heal others can be found through various therapy degrees and careers. Maybe it’s a path you’ve decided to take post-undergrad or maybe it’s one you’ve decided to revisit after pursuing another initial line of work. It’s never too early or too late to experience a rewarding career in clinical psychology

There are several degrees in therapy available to choose from, depending on the communities you’d like to serve. Whether you want to pursue a Master’s Degree, Doctorate, or become certified in a specific psychology field, there are a variety of clinical psychology programs to choose from that will contribute to your education, experience, and talents. 

Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling

The Clinical Counseling MA program allows you to develop skills to guide individuals and groups through significant positive change and growth by implementing different avenues of treatment. A career in clinical psychology focuses on helping those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, grief, and other short-term or long-term mental challenges as well as significant life changes. 

The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) at Alliant International University’s  program prepares students for California Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor credentialing through a combination of coursework and hands-on experience under supervised practice. Students studying to be a professional counselor receive a minimum of 280 supervised clinical experience and a total of 700 hours of working directly with individuals and groups. 

In addition to the core curriculum outlined by the program, each student chooses up to six units focused on their desired concentration to pursue a career path in hospitals, community mental health clinics, private practice for marital and family services, among others. The program is designed for students to learn, understand, and implement core competencies first and then, focus on a chosen specialty to fulfill their own career path. 

Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology

Following the educational path of a MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology integrates the teachings necessary for licensed psychologists to safely prescribe medication and treatment. This degree in therapy is offered fully online, allowing flexibility for students who are already managing a practice or working in a therapist role. It is a 30-credit minimum program and takes a minimum of three years to complete. Course offerings include Clinical Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Neuroscience: Neurochemistry, among others, as well as Case Seminar and Practicum in Clinical Psychopharmacology. 

Pursuing this degree is common for those who want to supplement their therapy degrees, enhance their careers as a professional counselor, and have the capabilities and requirements needed to prescribe medication. Although, others prefer to follow a research-specific route to conduct studies and provide innovative treatment methods for other practitioners. Either way, there is a constant need for clinical pharmacologists in both a medical and psychology setting to prescribe medication to treat mental health disorders. 

Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy

One of the most sought-after therapy degrees is a Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy and some students continue this path into the PsyD degree program. Both graduate programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, which is one of the select few in the state. Through Alliant’s curriculum, students can adapt the online coursework schedule to best meet the needs of their schedules. 

It provides students the education and hands-on training needed to jumpstart their career upon graduation. Additionally, there are special advantages to this degree program. These include a $50,000 loan reimbursement from the National Health Services Corps in exchange for two years working in an underserved area, employment opportunities through the Department of Veteran Affairs, and increased licensed portability, which makes it easier to obtain licensure in other states.

The foundation of the MA and PsyD programs in Marital and Family Therapy enables students to practice therapist responsibilities with competence, engage within communities, and broaden the spectrum of availability for therapy for diverse communities. Alliant also offers a BS in Psychology for those who are just beginning their undergraduate education. For students pursuing this route, there is a fast-track option to take bridge classes that count toward both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy, or Clinical Counseling.

Psychology Certificate in LGBT Human Services and Mental Health

Therapist certifications hold value as practitioners continually expand their expertise and experience. There is a growing need for therapists to serve marginalized communities, such as LGBTQ individuals and families. A certification program is available to continue therapist education within this specific area. The LGBT Human Services and Mental Certification addresses the core competencies as recommended by the American Psychological Association’s ethical guidelines for the treatment of the LGBT population. 

It is a 12-unit certification that is offered completely online. All students must take Foundations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Mental Health and add electives for advanced study based on their specific interests. These may include LGBTQ Couples and Families, Lifespan Development, Public Policy/Advocacy, and LBGTQ Issues in the Workplace. 

Pursuing a Therapist Career

These cover many of the therapy degrees and certifications available through Alliant’s psychology programs. Depending on your specific goals and career interests, you can tailor a class schedule and coursework to fit your needs. 

There are all kinds of therapists needed to support mental health, whether it’s providing treatment on an individual basis, within marriages and families, among organizational or education environments, or for underrepresented communities. At Alliant University, we offer a number of different master's level counseling programs for all future family therapists, clinical psychologists, and any other professional working in this field. Pursuing one of these degrees in therapy requires honing in on who you want to help the most and where your passion and dedication lies in regards to advancing your career and your impact. 

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