Master’s in Community Psychology

There are numerous branches of psychology that seek to help people suffering from specific disorders and mental illnesses. However, one field completely rewires the common assumption about psychological career fields in focusing on the broad picture rather than just one individual. Community psychology is an innovative field that includes the consideration of the community within its practice. Clinicians and experts in this field seek to understand how a community affects those within and how people interact with their community on different levels.

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Simmons College | Accredited

What is Community Psych?

Sometimes mental illness and psychology disorders can be prominent in certain areas. Community psychology professionals can investigate the social, economic, and political factors within these certain areas to determine the proper changes or treatments needed to improve overall health.

Identifying the societal aspects of mental health as well as the prominence of various mental illnesses can assist professionals with providing helpful interventions for both people and their environment. Most community psychology programs are found in master’s or certificate format, providing students with specified education that focuses on community mental health.

If you are interested in making a bigger difference in areas that have a high number of recorded psychological ailments, this is definitely a field to consider. Our experts looked through some of the community psychology programs available to you to put together this helpful guide for you to use along your way. Take a look at what they have found for you below.

What Does a Community Psychologist Do and Why Are They Needed?

Simply saying that community psychologists help improve the mental health of communities does little for the curious mind. In order to understand this career field, it is important that you see some examples of how this discipline is applied in a community setting. Imagine that a certain area of the United States has a higher prevalence of youth drug dependency than others of its size.

As a community psychologist, you may first gather data and comparative statistics to examine just how extreme the dependency is. After you have gathered this data, you may propose a program that implements drug abuse education to school systems within the community. You may also try to encourage the creation of recreational activities and programs to help youth find mentors and activities to fill their free time. The prevalence of mental illness or other psychological ailments such as dependency within communities is very telling of the community itself.

This field seeks to find solutions to problems that are created by the environment, without putting specific focus on just one person. This is just an example of how this field can be applied to different communities. Depending on the area and the different issues that are prominent, there could be a large range of different proposals and problematic illnesses you must work with. Community psychologists are needed to provide safe and happy environments in which people can thrive, rather than areas that create situations that encourage negative adaption and mental illness.

Common Coursework and Universities Offering Comm. Psych Certificates/Degrees

The most common program for community psychology is found at the master’s level. Some students find it helpful to pursue a master’s level program such as clinical psychology or school psychology, and then pursue a certificate in community psychology to further their skills.

Community psychology certificate programs are designed to accommodate students that have achieved higher level education and wish to further their expertise from the community perspective. These programs typically include coursework that is specific to social psychology or group interventions. Since most of the work included in community psychology includes gathering data and creating helpful intervention programs, students must understand the fundamentals of such large-scale initiatives.

Master’s programs may also encourage students to become more involved in their communities, so that they may have a better understanding of the benefits of their programs from an inside view. Our experts researched some of the best certificate programs available for community psych students and have provided a list below for you to browse.

Wichita State University

At Wichita State University, you could take part in the undergraduate certificate program in community psychology. This program is best complemented by a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and can further your knowledge into the study and intervention of community settings. The entire certificate program is only 16 credit hours and includes classes that are relevant to your understanding of the community dynamic. Take a look at some of the courses below.

Social Psychology

Social psychology is a course that introduces learners to the complex internal interactions between people and their environment. Emotions, perceptions, and behaviors are outlined through this course in an effort to introduce students the the effects of communities on the people within.

Psychological Statistics

Statistics are a large portion of studies in community psychology. This course teaches students how to properly collect and analyze data, as well as applying results to case studies and intervention programs. Throughout this course, students may gain the skills necessary to accurately define community programs so that they may implement change programs to increase the quality of life for all people.

Introduction to Community Psychology

This course introduces students to the procedures, theories, and history of community psychology. The importance of society on individuals may be described in detail, as well as some of the methods for implementing change for large groups.

Antioch University – Los Angeles

The Community Psychology Certificate program at Antioch University seeks to encourage students to play a role in the improvement of diverse communities. This 15-month program includes some of the most important aspects of community constituents and their effects on the mental health of those within. The classes required for this certificate program include a look into the development of community-focused programs and the consideration of diverse populations. Some of the coursework for this program is listed below.

Program Development and Evaluation

Students taking this course can learn how to identify the needs of the public and implement programs that are effective towards their desired goal. The process for the development of programs is also discussed, including research, statistics, budget, and evaluation.

Prevention and Promotion

This course present students with the tasks of identifying community factors that present risk to the public and designing preventative programs and interventions to assist with their reduction. Research methods, environmental factors, and overall mental health awareness are spotlighted throughout this course.

Community Consultation and Collaboration

Students in this class may learn the basics of a collaborative partnership. Students are encouraged to become acquainted with community-based programs such as education, healthcare, and politics in order to effectively voice their concerns about public mental health and seek the support they need.

Portland State University

The community psychology certificate program at Portland State University consists of 5 courses totaling 20 semester hours. This program can teach students how to effectively work with communities to lower the prevalence of mental illness and problematic behavior, the history of community psychology, and how to consider social justice throughout their career. Coursework for this certificate program is listed below this section.

Human Diversity

Human diversity provides students with the opportunity of understanding the struggles and difficulties present for people in diverse areas. Providing education into different social groups and how these groups interact within society is a main topic throughout this course.

Individual Psychology

Individual psychology takes a look at how individuals experience mental processes and exhibit behaviors. Students may be involved in studies regarding the brain and its processes, cognitive development, memory, and emotion.

Social and Group Dynamics

This class can introduce students to the communication and interaction present in group settings. A deep look into the norms, ethics, and sensitivity within society may also be included in this course in an effort to teach students how to effectively approach widespread application of psychological techniques.

Salary and Career Outlook

Working in the field of psychology can present itself as a diverse and ever-changing experience. In the community, professionals may often be tasked with aiding in the creation of helpful community plans and programs that can improve the quality of life for all people. As a community psychologist, you may be responsible for working with organizations such as schools, healthcare centers, and even local government during the creation and implementation of intervention programs.

This field could see a tremendous growth over the next decade, since the importance of community health is becoming more apparent alongside the growth of the field of psychology. More people may be finding it necessary to seek out psychological professionals to assist them with leading more productive lifestyles in spite of mental illness and disease. If you are interested in taking part in this field, it is natural to consider the earning potential in community psychology.

Earning potential for this field, as well as most others, can vary greatly depending on the amount of time you have spend working in the field, total level of education, whether or not you are licensed, and the area in which you plan to work. While this is a relatively new field in the aspect of psychology, the earning potential could be comparitive to other applied fields is psychology. Applied psychology fields that include the treatment of individuals, groups, and even school-aged children have a median income of $78,690 per year, according to the BLS (BLS; 2016).

Final Thoughts

Community psychology is and up and coming field that reminds students of the importance of overall community health. It is hard for people to thrive in an environment that is not supportive of a healthy and safe lifestyle. Entering into this program with an open mind and the desire to help others can help set you on the path for success throughout your career.

If you have the urge to make a difference in the community in which you live, community psychology is an excellent choice for your degree program. While this program focuses on the need for understanding of the community dynamic, it also strives to teach students how to apply psychology theories and concepts to a group rather than just the individual. The importance of community mental health goes beyond just having a happy environment for all people.

Corrective issues that provide stressful environments and providing support to sensitive groups can help make society a more accepting and therapeutic place to live for all people. Through coursework and case studies, you may learn how to properly apply these concepts in an effort to better the overall mental health of the community.

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