Practice Development Certificate for Mental Health Professionals

This program teaches mental health professionals the business skills needed to create, develop and manage a mental health practice.  They learn basic business skills and knowledge concerning entrepreneurship, financial management, practice management and marketing. These skills will then be applied to the specifics of running a productive and ethical mental health practice.
 The 7 week courses are designed so that a mental health professional can take them individually (earning a certificate for having taken the course) or as part of the larger package (earning a certificate for the program).
 Completing each course will earn 21 hours of continuing education credit. 
The courses offered on-line.  But a value-added feature in each of those courses is the opportunity to participate in a weekly web conference with the instructor, during his or her online office hours   

  EDUCCS 600:  Entrepreneurship and Niche Practices

Catalog Description: Learn concepts and strategies of entrepreneurship in creating, developing, and enhancing a private practice in a mental health setting.  Topics include identifying and capitalizing on opportunities in developing niche practices, developing business models, marketing, ethical and legal issues in establishing a practice, and setting up operations. 
Those who successfully complete this course will be able to:
   1.    Describe the concepts and skills necessary for them to function as successful entrepreneurs in a private practice context.
    2.    Identify, analyze and act on practice opportunities that present themselves to develop their practices
   3.    Develop a vision and business plan that will guide their practice development.
   4.    Design a psychotherapy niche practice
   5.    Design a niche mental health practice that is other than psychotherapy
   6.    Develop an action plan for practice development                                        

EDUCCS 601:  Practice Finance for Mental Health Professionals

Catalog Description: Students learn concepts and strategies necessary for managing finances in independent practice.   Topics include key terminology, exercising fiduciary responsibility, attitudes toward money and the effects on those attitudes, financial metrics, using practice dashboards, compensation systems, fee setting, and creating a financial action plan. 
Those who successfully complete this course will be able to:
   1.    Describe the basic elements of managing the finances of an outpatient mental health practice.
   2.    Describe the barriers to running a practice in a manner that recognizes the owner’s fiduciary responsibility
   3.    Define key financial metrics for their practice and create a practice dashboard for tracking these metrics.
   4.    Describe the advantages and disadvantages of different compensation systems
   5.    Contrast the different processes for setting fees and managing client accounts
   6.    Describe how to use basic financial and business principles in making special decisions related to practice (e.g., using an electronic billing system, hiring or outsourcing staff, renting office space, leasing equipment)
   7.    Describe how to build a relationship with their bankers
   8.    Create and implement a three-year financial plan.
 EDUCCS 602:  Practice Management for Mental Health Professionals
Catalog Description: This course addresses the knowledge and skills needed to run a mental health practice as a business entity and to manage that practice with intentionality. It emphasizes data driven decision-making, strategic planning, and the development of customized practice business plans.
 Those who successfully complete this course will be able to:
   1.  Describe how visionary and principle-centered management strategies relate to managing a mental health practice
   2.  Identify the multiple roles of mental health practice owners
   3.  Identify options for developing and managing practice subsystems
   4.  Describe procedures for data driven practice management decision-making
    5.  Conduct a SWOT analysis
   6.  Develop a personalized business plan for their own mental health practice
   EDUCCS 603:  Ethical Marketing for Mental Health Professionals in Independent Practice
 Catalog Description:  Learn concepts and strategies of ethical marketing for mental health professionals in independent practice.  Topics include understanding of what constitutes ethical marketing for independent practice, how to connect with referral partners and ideal clients, and marketing via person-to-person contact, print, websites, blogs and social media.
 Those who successfully complete this course will be able to:
   1.    Describe the concepts and skills necessary to ethically market the independent practice niches they have envisioned
   2.    Identify, create, analyze and act on marketing opportunities that present themselves
   3.    Develop an overarching marketing plan, based on their chosen niches, vision and mission that will guide their practice development
   4.    Design or modify their print marketing materials
   5.    Design or modify their own website
   6.    Design or modify a social media marketing campaign
   7.    Develop a personalized action plan for implementing their marketing plan
   8.    Develop skills for writing to the public for marketing purposes.
   9.    Develop blog posts pertaining to their niche specialty.


EDUCCS 604:  Ethics and Risk Management in the Business of Private Practice 

Catalog DescriptionStudents learn to anticipate the ethical and regulatory compliance issues that are especially salient for mental health professionals in private practice, including especially those that arise in starting a practice, in clinical practice, in practice administration, in billing and financial management, and in staff training and marketing. (47 words)
Those who successfully complete this course will be able to:
    1.    Describe the ethical challenges inherent in establishing and maintaining a private practice
    2.    Identify and address the most common legal compliance issues attendant to establishing and maintaining a private practice
   3.    Describe how to effectively address informed consent with clients
   4.    Implement policies to deal with emergencies, avoid abandonment, address boundary issues, protect records and maintain confidentiality
   5.    Implement ethically appropriate fee setting, billing and collection strategies
   6.    Describe procedures for training clinical and administrative staff regarding ethical issues and risk management
   7.    Clarify key factors in developing an ethically appropriate practice marketing strategy
          8.    Describe strategies for integrating sound ethical and risk-management policies and procedures into a private practice environment
 For more information and updates: We anticipate that the first course (Entrepreneurship and Niche Practices) will be offered fall 2018. If you are interested in being kept up-to-date on this certificate program as dates and tuition are established, please provide your contact information by clicking here



Continuing Education:  The Practice Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Practice Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content.