We are often asked for clarification on the difference between Certificate Program vs. Certification. Knowing the difference, what to consider when searching for programs, and what is available, can help professionals determine their learning path.
A certificate program is a series of training hours on a topic area or treatment method. It is designed to advance your skills and knowledge. This is a common training format in university continuing education programs. Completion does not represent that you have ‘certification’ or are ‘certified’. You are provided a frameable certificate of completion for the program if you meet all completion requirements. In addition, you receive applicable CEUs for the courses or program. Certificate course work provides resources for additional study. In some cases, it inspires pursuit of advanced intervention skills such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) offered through other training providers. A certificate program is not a substitute for a clinical license.
This should only be offered by programs that adequately assess both knowledge acquired and competent implementation of the skills. Ongoing clinical or administrative supervision may be required as part of the completion of a certification program. Clinical practitioners must comply with their professional codes of ethics in how they represent skills and knowledge acquired through continuing education programs, as well as applicable rules issued by their state licensing board. A certification program is not a substitute for a clinical license.
If yes, certificate programs will better meet your needs. Graduates often indicate that a certificate program helps them advance knowledge, acquire some core skills, and often helps them focus on specific client populations or career paths they had not previously identified or studied.
If yes, then in addition to a certificate program, you may want to pursue the specialized training related to the client population served. For example, obtaining Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Basic Training through an EMDRIA Approved Training Provider along with EMDR consultation is the first step toward EMDR certification. Other examples of training towards certification or additional credentials include, but are not limited to: Registered Play Therapist (RPT); Dialectical Behavioral Therapy; Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT); and achieving provider status for Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Please note that clinical supervision is often needed, and sometimes required for competency in the therapy modality.
If yes, please make sure you are following them and are representing yourself accordingly. (e.g. NASW Code of Ethics)
We offer in-person and hybrid certificate programs. Many, but not all are limited to licensed master’s level clinicians currently treating clients in therapy, and sometimes only to master’s level clinical supervisors. Program options change each year to allow for new courses and repetition of popular courses. If you have a learning path you are interested in and don't see it on the website, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to talk to you!
We have 3 trauma-informed certificate programs and each has eligibility criteria. Select the one that best meets your needs and eligibility. Each of these programs can be completed entirely online. We also offer trauma elective and skill intervention workshops in Buffalo, NY.
It is important to keep in mind that gaining knowledge about trauma survivors will be invaluable in your work. However, you don’t want to accidentally confuse someone into thinking you are a therapist because they see a certificate of completion from one of our trauma-informed certificate programs hanging on your office wall. There have been situations where there has been a concern that clients might become confused over a person’s education and credentials. All clients in any setting tend to be vulnerable, and this is especially true of trauma survivors.
This is the most common request we hear from agencies that want to become trauma-informed. A continuing education certificate program that gives various staff core training will not transform an agency into a trauma-informed organization. It provides a starting place for conversation about the needs of trauma survivors, and what the agency needs to do to best serve these individuals.
Agencies that use our online self-study trauma-informed certificate programs can save money by having staff watch as a group. Handouts are included and the videos can also be downloaded for unlimited access. Participation in certificate programs are not required to take the courses listed in the program. Some agencies may choose to select only specific courses that meet their needs and forgo a full certificate.