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Certificate in Fundamentals of Police Psychology

Prepare to work with law enforcement and public safety personnel in a variety of settings.

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Fundamentals of Police Psychology Certificate Overview

The advanced practice certificate in fundamentals of police psychology provides mental health professionals with foundational knowledge and skills in working with law enforcement and public safety personnel in multiple contexts, including private practice, law enforcement agencies, and health care.


Program Highlights

Pathway to a Master’s

The credits from this certificate coursework can be applied toward earning your master of science degree in forensic behavioral science or forensic leadership administration.

Offered Online

The program is offered online, giving you the flexibility to complete your coursework virtually and from a location of your choice.

Vital Work at a Vital Time

Learn to provide psychological support services to law enforcement personnel at a time when societal need for this expertise has never been more vital.



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Degree Information

Curriculum Plan

Course One: Introduction to Police and Public Safety Psychology

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the field of police and public safety psychology, examining the role of the police psychologist, the psychological impact of police work on the individual officer, and the issues involved in providing psychological services to officers and law enforcement agencies. It covers the many and diverse roles of the police psychologist and the legal, ethical and practical considerations inherent in these roles. The course will survey the history of police psychology and its evolution to its current state, and includes an examination of the special concerns when providing psychological services to police officers (and all law enforcement personnel and emergency service workers), including confidentiality, mandatory referrals, and weapons removal and retention. Also includes diverse perspectives on the role of the police psychologist by various individuals within and outside the law enforcement community.

Course Two: Understanding the Culture of Law Enforcement

The course explores the unique culture of police and sheriff departments, including the differentiation between working custody versus working patrol; common lapses in judgment and common pitfalls that can negatively affect new officers; differences and dynamics specific to sworn versus civilian law enforcement employees; elements of effective interactions with the public and the press. The course will explore the basics of teaching and consulting in the law enforcement community, including common pitfalls for the psychologist.

Course Three: Providing Psychological Support Services to Law Enforcement Personnel

This course will provide an overview of the intervention domain of police psychology. Topics will include the difference between in-house and out-of-house, or contract, psychological services; the stressors unique to first responders and law enforcement personnel and the cultures in which they work; the unique ethical considerations which must be considered when providing psychological services to law enforcement personnel including voluntary vs. mandatory counseling, confidentiality, and safety concerns. Other topics inclue the critical incidents that law enforcement personnel encounter including officer involved shootings, mass casualty incidents, public mistrust, homicides, undercover work, child abuse, etc. Also explored is an understanding of critical incident stress debriefings and defusings, early intervention strategies, and whether they should be recommended or mandatory; an understanding of multiple intervention/counseling techniques including individual therapy, couples counseling, family therapy and group interventions. The course explores the value of adjunctive services such as those provided by chaplains, peer counseling programs, employee assistance programs for the treatment of substance use/abuse and early prevention programs.


Links and Downloads

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Frequently Asked Questions


Is this course taught online or on-campus?

The certificate program is offered online. All classes and coursework can be completed virtually, allowing you flexibility with your schedule.


Are scholarships and financial aid available?

Yes, there are private and public scholarships to help you meet the cost of your education and Alliant offers institutional scholarships for many of our students. Learn more about these scholarship opportunities here. Additional financial aid is available for those who qualify in the form of loans, grants, federal work study, and military aid. Learn more in our Financial Options Guide.


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Why Alliant

At Alliant, our mission is to prepare students for professional careers of service and leadership and to promote the discovery and application of knowledge to improve lives. We offer an education that is accredited, focused on practical knowledge and skills, connected with diverse faculty and alumni, and aimed at the student experience.

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CSFS is dedicated to graduating rigorously educated and trained professionals who impact society, public opinion, and policy by applying science in preventing, investigating, and mitigating conflict and violence. CSFS is a corporate partner of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and many of our advanced practice certificates are eligible for continuing education credit.


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