Can I work while studying for my certificate?
While you are enrolled in a psychology certificate program, you will probably pursue the same work opportunities as a person earning their bachelors or their online associates degree in psychology, especially if you are not a post-doctoral student. Many of these positions give you a controlled environment to practice patient therapy and conduct research without the full responsibility that comes with these occupations.
A psychology certificate will give you the proper credentials to apply to almost every psychology-related profession; it just depends on what level of education your certificate is matched with. Both traditional and online universities offer psychology certificates for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level students.
If you have already earned your PhD in psychology and are supplementing it with a licensed professional certificate, you could work as a school counselor, a clinical therapist or you could simply establish your own private practice.
A lower level certificate in psychology, at the bachelors or associates level, will qualify you for positions like market researcher, sales representative, advertising agent or teacher. These careers allow you to use your communication skills to develop relationships with various clients and students so you can help them with anything from business transactions to troublesome lesson plans.
Are there any brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online program?
Because the Internet is so widely used, many traditional universities are creating online distance learning programs so you no longer have to seek out exclusively online colleges to find an accredited psychology certificate online.
Prestigious institutions like Columbia University offer psychology certificates through their School of Continuing Education. Columbia’s certification programs include introductory, intermediate and advanced undergraduate coursework that gives you research experience and prepares you for degree programs in education and public health.
If you are considering less conventional psychology degrees like a experimental psychology degree, South New Hampshire University offers certificates in Justice Studies, Crime and Criminology and Policing and Law. Throughout the program, you will have online access to assignments and lectures from criminal justice professionals 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Many students looking at certification programs are concerned about their job and the real world ramifications of their degree like the typical psychology salary or the job outlook of psychology-related professions. As such, online certificate programs are optimal for these students because it allows them to earn the credentials for their future career without interfering with their current job.
What are the common assumptions about students who choose to get a certificate?
An incorrect assumption about students pursuing certificates in psychology is that they are too job-oriented and not as concerned about earning their degree. As you will discover while you evaluate different certification programs, many courses are designed to prepare students for higher degree programs. In fact, many students are not eligible for certain psychology certificates unless they earn a supplementary degree like a bachelors or an associates.
Another false idea about students earning a traditional or online psychology certificate is that they are not as passionate about psychology compared to students pursuing degrees in the subject. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s certificate programs provide the counterargument for this idea because they will not admit students that cannot describe their passion for psychology.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology will allow you to apply for certification in forensic, adolescent and consumer psychology, but like most undergraduate degree programs, it requires you to include a 500 to 750-word essay detailing your professional goals and why you chose a psychology concentration. Because these certification programs produce professionals in the field, students have to demonstrate their dedication to learning and applying their knowledge in work environments.
Another assumption people have about certification programs is that the application process is easier than other traditional degree programs. If you are applying for a psychology certificate, it is vital that you understand that this is false.
Online certification programs run through colleges like Capella University offer certificates in family counseling, mental health services and forensic psychology, and like most undergraduate applications, require a stellar faculty interview, numerous writing samples and official transcripts.
What is the hardest part of the application to an on-campus or online program?
Your application for a traditional psychology certificate will not have the same requirements as various psychology certificate programs online. Traditional colleges typically have a larger admission pool and craft more scrutinizing admission processes that focus not only on your academic performance, but also on your passion for psychology.
Traditional programs like Georgia Tech University’s School of Psychology offer certificates in cognitive, experimental and social psychology, but they require you to enroll in at least 12 semester hours and pass every class with a grade of “C” or higher. The difficult part of this particular application is grade point average. The middle 50% of admitted students have a GPA between 3.76 and 4.07.
If you are looking at certification programs through traditional universities, you should understand that their large admission pool usually consists of students with incredible academic histories. To stay competitive, you will have to distinguish yourself through personal essays, extracurricular activities and community service.
Other certificate programs run exclusively online will have more relaxed admissions criteria, especially if you are pursuing a certificate that will prepare you for your associates or bachelors degrees. In lower level certification programs, online schools will want to see your high school diploma or a GED certificate just to gauge your eligibility for college classes. As you seek higher professional certification, many colleges will require standardized or graduate testing results, letters of recommendation and proof of a college degree.