The Certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health is intended for professionals who work with infants, young children, families, and caregivers, but who lack specific knowledge about promoting and supporting young children’s social-emotional development in the context of relationships and within early childhood systems of care. The certificate includes advanced coursework focused on developing an understanding of caregiver-child relationships, family and community systems, culture and diversity, trauma informed care, and reflective practice. The Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health field is multidisciplinary, so individuals across sectors (e.g., education, social work, public health) are encouraged to apply. It is also intended for students enrolled in graduate degree programs and those in related fields who need to meet continuing education requirements or desire additional academic preparation.
This certificate prepares students to pursue the Illinois Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health credential, as the coursework is aligned to the foundational and functional competencies required for the credential. The Illinois Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Credential requires an earned Master’s degree, at least 5 years of post-graduate experience with infants, toddlers, young children, and their families, and 60 hours of reflective supervision. For more information about this certificate and the experience requirements see Illinois Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Credential.
Admission to the Graduate School at NIU, either as admitted to a program or as a student-at-large, is a prerequisite to admission to the Certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Students wishing to apply to the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution at the time of initial enrollment. Admission to the certificate program requires approval of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Admissions Committee. Students apply to the certificate after being admitted to the Graduate School at NIU.
A student pursuing the certificate program is expected to have a minimum of 3 semester hours of undergraduate course work in child development. If deficient, the deficiency course should be completed during the first semester after admission to the certificate program. The deficiency course must be met with a grade of B or better.
A minimum of 15 credits are required for the completion of the Graduate Certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. The curriculum is comprised of 9 credit hours of required course work and 6 additional credits of elective courses. Students must maintain a cumulative minimum 3.00 GPA in all course work to continue in the certificate program. Please see the program website for more information.