Program Details

Post-Master of Science in Counseling: Childhood and Adolescence Disorders Certificate

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Earn a Post-Master of Science Certificate in Childhood and Adolescence Counseling

Grow your professional skillset and enhance your career qualifications by pursuing continuing education opportunities in childhood and adolescence counseling. The Post-Master of Science in Counseling: Childhood and Adolescence Disorders Certificate, offered by Grand Canyon University, is designed for working professionals who hold a master’s degree in counseling or other behavioral health fields. The program provides advanced knowledge and skills in childhood and adolescent disorders, developmental issues, school and family life issues, child-parent relationships and the mental health disorders specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The certificate in childhood and adolescence counseling is offered through the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The intensive curriculum examines research, theories and evidence-based practices in the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders in young people with the end goal of improving quality of life and supporting individual and family relationships.

Study Childhood Development, Disorders and Disabilities

The Post-Master of Science certificate in childhood and adolescence counseling is available through online courses. A total of 15 credits are required for completion. Graduates will emerge with an in-depth understanding of the theories related to child and adolescent development, best practices in identifying disorders and the use of evidence-based treatment modalities. GCU seeks to graduate students who are skilled communicators who embrace the principles of servant leadership, ethical decision-making and the Christian worldview.

In courses such as Specialization in Professional Counseling and Development Through Childhood and Adolescence, students will explore the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and develop a framework for understanding childhood and adolescence disorders. The curriculum includes the psychosocial stressors within the family system and the physical, biological and psychosocial development of young people.

Progressing forward in this certificate program, students will explore the following topic areas:

  • Developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, specific learning disorders, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)
  • Assessment and treatment approaches designed for trauma that occurs during childhood and adolescence, including physical, sexual, mental and emotional abuse and neglect
  • Common disorders that occur in young people, including disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders

Students will complete case study exercises designed to provide a real-world, hands-on exploration of contemporary issues they may encounter in their work.

Serve as a Leader in Counseling and Behavioral Health

Children and adolescents are susceptible to a wide range of daily life stressors and mental illnesses. While many of these mental illnesses may also manifest in adults, recognizing and treating them in children requires flexible thinking and different approaches. A Post-Master of Science certificate in childhood and adolescence counseling provides the specialized knowledge and skills that professionals need to thoughtfully address the unique needs of young people throughout their developmental stages. Graduates are fully prepared to effectively advocate on behalf of young people and to assume leadership roles within the behavioral health field that can make a positive difference in their communities.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Master of Science in Counseling: Childhood and Adolescence Disorders Certificate program at GCU, it is required that applicants possess a master’s or doctoral degree in any of the following fields:

  • Counseling
  • Substance abuse counseling
  • Clinical or counseling psychology
  • Marriage and family therapy
  • Behavioral health
  • Social work

Graduate degrees in the fields of human development, nursing or psychiatry medicine are also acceptable.

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Total Program Credits: 15
Online: 8 weeks
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)

Online: $530 per credit [More Info]

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. For information about specific course content, credit length and VA approval in your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
15 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
15 credits

Program Core Courses

Course Description

This survey course provides an introduction to the graduate certificate programs in childhood and adolescence disorders, marriage and family therapy, substance use disorders and addiction, and trauma. Students are introduced to the University policies and procedures, the learning management system, the library, and proper APA formatting for academic writing. In addition, students are introduced to the current DSM and how the information relates to the field of counseling. Students also learn about researching and utilizing community resources, and becoming certified in specializations.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of the theories related to child and adolescent development. Also covered are the variables that directly impact children and adolescents throughout their personal development. Students gain the knowledge to advance understanding of childhood and adolescent disorders.

Course Description

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the developmental disabilities occurring in children and adolescents, as defined in the DSM. Students examine the following disorders and disabilities: specific language and learning disorders, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, sensory processing, and physiological developmental disorders, while learning assessments and measurements used in diagnosing. Students receive an overview of the neurological and cultural perspectives of developmental disabilities, and the unique needs of the families.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of trauma related issues during childhood and adolescence. Students examine the various types of trauma, including neglect; physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse; family trauma; parental substance use; and domestic violence. Students learn assessment and treatment approaches designed for trauma occurring during childhood and adolescence.

Course Description

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of common disorders among children and adolescents, as defined in the DSM. Studies in this area include the following: disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, separation anxiety and selective mutism, trauma and stressor related disorders, PTSD, and adjustment disorders. Students also gain the required knowledge and skills needed for treating these disorders.

Program Locations


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere. GCU offers the most experienced leadership in delivering online degree programs. Full-time faculty members and fully trained adjunct instructors, equipped with strong academic backgrounds and practical experience in their fields, support you every step of the way. Designed with the career-oriented professional in mind, our online classes provide an intimate environment that stimulates engaging and challenging discussions. Choose from programs across our distinct colleges, in high-demand employment areas. Classes begin frequently.


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom. Night classes are designed for a specific number of students, providing a warm and nurturing environment that supports an engaging experience. In an evening cohort, you will progress through your degree program with the same career-minded classmates, providing an opportunity to network and forge relationships that go beyond the classroom. Classes begin frequently at various locations, including our main campus.

* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.

Program Domains

* The Department of Education defines how an institution must calculate a program's On-Time Completion rate for federal disclosure purposes. The On-Time Completion rate is based on a program's published required number of months to complete all degree requirements as provided in the institution's catalog. Completion statistics are updated every January and are based on the cohort of students who started the program in the same year and then graduated within the published program length .

Online and Evening program disclosures (0.917 years)

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.