Students who complete a post-master's certificate program in professional counseling are expected to gain a thorough understanding of a specialty counselor's role in a patient's life. Students learn how to counsel patients with neuroses and other abnormal behaviors and the biological reasons behind human and animal behavior. Depending on students' specializations, students may learn details of counseling children and adolescents or those with substance abuse problems. Since a post-master's certificate may involve original research, students may also learn about research methods used by psychologists.
Such a certificate program can also be useful to a professional counselor who needs a touch-up in new systems and practices in the field. Certificate programs require applicants to have a counseling psychology Diploma, 3 letters of recommendation, a transcript of previous coursework, and to attend in-person interviews. Program specializations include behavioral counseling, motivational counseling, substance abuse counseling, vocational counseling, adolescent counseling, and family counseling among others. Programs are 9-30 credit hours and often require an internship or practicum.