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PTSD Counseling Certificate Programs

Find out if a certificate program in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would be right for you. Read on for information on candidacy requirements, program formats, course topics and career benefits.

Who Can Earn a Certificate for a PTSD Counseling Certificate?

Any therapist, counselor, psychologist, social worker or other mental health professional that wishes to focus on trauma therapy can earn a PTSD counseling certificate. This form of therapy can be practiced in a variety of fields and specializations. Educational requirements vary greatly for mental health professionals. For example, a counselor may only need a 4-year degree, but a clinical psychologist needs a master's or doctoral degree.

Eligibility RequirementsCertificates are generally designed for professionals already working in the therapy, counseling, psychology, and mental health fields; each field has its own requirements
Program StructurePrograms will vary, as some may be offered on one weekend while others will require you to take one class per week
Common TopicsCrisis interventions, trauma theory, prolonged exposure therapy, personality disorders, victimization
Benefits of the CertificateWidens potential patient base, increases employability
Median Salary (2018) $44,630 (for all substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 23% growth (for all substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will the Program Be Like?

Many programs are structured so that working professionals can attend. In some programs, you may only attend class once per week at a specified time. Some specialized programs are very intensive and only take a weekend to complete. In this case, you would spend the entire weekend in classes and lectures. Some programs have a very flexible format that gives you a certain amount of time to complete courses and training at your leisure.

What Are Some Topics that Will Be Covered?

You may learn about the effects trauma has on the brain in neurobiology courses. You may also study how people process trauma and the various stages they go through. Some programs also look at how trauma specifically affects children. Different types of trauma are also discussed, including domestic violence, sexual abuse and war. Additional course topics could include:

  • Victimization
  • Personality disorders
  • Trauma and human rights
  • Grief
  • Crisis interventions
  • Trauma theory
  • Prolonged exposure therapy
  • Attachment theory
  • Dissociation

How Will Earning a Certificate Help My Career?

By expanding your expertise and earning a PTSD certificate, you can widen your potential patient base. You could choose to only work with PTSD patients, or you could work with all types of patients, including those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. There are organizations that exist to help people suffering from trauma disorders find counselors. For example, the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs has created the National Center for PTSD (www.ptsd.va.gov), where veterans can search for therapists, programs and counselors that are qualified to help them. Earning your certificate in PTSD counseling can help you reach a wider and more diverse clientele, and your training can help you better understand the complexities of PTSD and other traumas.