Practice Development Certificate for Mental Health Professionals

This unique program provides a comprehensive series of business-related courses designed specifically for mental health professionals, including psychologists, social workers, counselors and marriage and family therapists. The goal is to equip you with requisite knowledge and skills to create, develop and manage a productive and ethical mental health practice. 
Each 7-week course combines structured academic study with practical applications. Areas of focus include entrepreneurship, financial management, practice administration, marketing, and ethics and risk management. 
Courses are offered online, and include live weekly web conferences with the instructor. Thus, students will have the opportunity to interact with the instructor and with one another. In fact, a value-added feature in each of those courses is the opportunity to participate in a weekly web conference with the instructor, during online office hours.  
Each course provides a certificate from the Center for Advanced Professional Education, plus 21 hours of APA continuing education credit. Participants who complete all 5 courses will receive a comprehensive certificate for the entire program.




EDUCCS 610: Entrepreneurship and Niche Practices for Mental Health Professionals

(Next start date for this course: January 7, 2019)

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 611: Ethics and Risk Management in the Business of Private Practice

(Next start date for this course: March 11, 2019)

Students 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

EDUCCS 612: Practice Finances for Mental Health Professionals

(Next start date for this course: May 13, 2019)

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 613: Practice Management for Mental Health Professionals

(Next start date for this course: July 15, 2019)

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 related 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 614: Ethical Marketing for Mental Health Professionals in Private Practice

(Next start date for this course: September 16, 2019)

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.



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.

Course Pricing and Registration

The charter price for courses is $995.  The Practice Institute (TPI) members receive a 20 percent discount for each class in this certificate.
To enroll, contact Renee Castruita, Accounts Receivable Specialist, Student Financial Services at (909) 748-8183 to enroll. 

CAPE faculty are pleased to answer any questions about the courses or the certificate.  Please feel free to contact them at: