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Clinical Counseling Certificate Added

by University Relations

Last fall, 33 students formed the first cohort of individuals seeking to enhance their professional marketability by obtaining a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) Respecialization Certificate in Clinical Counseling. The program, available at the Azusa campus and the Murrieta and Orange County regional centers, gives students hands-on experience in the field of clinical counseling, allowing them to perform fieldwork with practicing school counselors and other licensed professionals.

“Adding the LPCC program positions APU ahead of the curve,” said David Morrison, Ed.D., professor and chair in the Department of School Counseling and School Psychology. “Thanks in large part to faculty member Paul Bernard, who helped develop the program and serves as the coordinator, APU stands as one of the first schools in California to offer this program. We anticipate a great increase in enrollment in coming semesters and expect the LPCC certificate to make a positive impact in mental health care programs.”

The LPCC program, which includes the involvement of three full-time and seven adjunct professors, comprises four courses and the completion of fieldwork hours. Students learn basic and advanced skills involved in clinical practice and study the topics of psychopharmacology, psychobiology, addictions assessment, and intervention. Fieldwork and internships occur at school sites, in juvenile detention centers, in mental health centers, and at other clinical sites where students learn to address issues related to personal growth, adjustment to disability, crisis intervention, and psychosocial and environmental programs in schools and other settings.

“We look forward to seeing how the addition of the LPCC certificate helps address California’s mental health care needs by preparing competent and compassionate professionals dedicated to excellence,” said Michael Block, Ph.D., program director and professor in the Department of School Counseling and School Psychology.

Program candidates must have a master’s degree in counseling, clinical counseling, or a related field to be admitted to the program. Beginning in 2012, the department will propose a master’s degree program in school psychology with an embedded LPCC certificate.

This certificate broadens graduates’ career options by allowing them to practice beyond the K–12 school counseling arena. Options include opening their own private practice, working in nonpublic schools or foster homes, and counseling individuals and families. “The certificate is a great addition to a candidate’s skill set,” said Block. “It positions them as competitive and highly marketable professionals in this area of study.”

Originally published in the Winter '11 issue of APU Life. Download the full issue (PDF).