Early Childhood Mental Health, Graduate Certificate

Early Childhood Mental Health, Graduate Certificate
12 Credit Hours
Admits: Fall & Spring
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Program Tabs


The ECMH Graduate Certificate Program is open to professionals with at least a bachelor’s degree who work or desire to work with young children and their families, including: social workers, early childhood educators, early interventionists, early childhood program administrators, policy advocates, psychologists, pediatricians, nurses, public health educators, child protective services personnel, speech-language pathologists, and others.

The School of Social Work and Department of Special Education and Child Development collaborate on this joint certificate program in Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) focusing on children from birth to five years of age and their families. Graduates of the Certificate program will be able to:

  • Promote awareness about the importance of early childhood mental health.
  • Work with diverse families with young children.
  • Identify evidence‐informed services for young children and their families.
  • Recognize ecologically valid mental health assessments of young children.
  • Explain relationship of social, cognitive, and communication development in young children.
  • Support positive, relationship‐focused communication between young children and their adult caretakers.
  • Facilitate positive social‐communication skills among young children, parents, and other caretakers in a variety of settings.

The program is 100% online and designed to be flexible for working professionals hoping to continue their education.

The Certificate in ECMH can be completed in as little as 2 semester if enrolled part-time.

Graduates of the program will learn critical skills for positions in the field of Early Childhood Mental Health. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Mental Health Social Worker • Childcare Worker • Speech-Language Pathologist • Healthcare Social Worker • Child, Family and School Social Worker • Social and Human Service Assistant • Preschool Teacher • Marriage and Family Therapist • Early Childhood • Educator • Early Interventionist • Early Childhood Program Administrator • Policy Advocate • Psychologist  • Public Health Educator • Child Protective Services Personnel


Application Deadlines:

  • Fall semester:
    • Priority Application: March 1st
    • Final Application: August 1st
  • Spring semester:
    • Priority Application: October 1st
    • Final Application: December 1st

Admissions & Requirements: 

  • Complete the Graduate School Admissions Application
  • A bachelor’s degree, preferably in a human services field from a university accredited by a US Department of Education-recognized institutional accreditor
  • Transcripts from all academic coursework beyond high school
  • All previous work beyond high school documenting an overall grade point average of at least 2.75 (based on a 4.0 scale)
  • Resume 
  • Three recommendations 
  • 2-4 page (double-spaces) statement of purpose 
  • Early childhood intervention experience is helpful, but not required

The statement of purpose should address the following: 

  • What first interested you about the certificate program?
  • How do you think the certificate can help you in your career?
  • Discuss your previous experience, if you have any, with diverse children and families (meaning people who are from different backgrounds than your own). What was your biggest challenge and what did you learn from the experience? 
  • What strengths and skills do you bring to the certificate program? 

Courses can be taken in any order and not all courses are offered in every semester.  Students typically complete this certificate in 2 - 3 semesters.   

Four (4) required courses: 

  • SOWK 6171: Early Childhood Mental Health (3 credits)
  • CHFD 6240: Advanced Studies in Infant and Child Development (3 credits)
  • SPED 6350: Young Children with Disabilities and Their Families: Interdisciplinary Collaboration (3 credits)
  • SPED 6242: Enhancing Communication and Supporting Behaviors in Inclusive Settings: B-K (3 credits)

*Rates are subject to change*


  • $288.82 per credit hour
  • $3,466.00 est. program cost

Outside of NC Non-Resident:

  • $536.98 per credit hour
  • $6,444.00 est. program cost

Non Resident:

  • $1,098.21 per credit hour
  • $13,178.00 est. program cost