There is a critical shortage of mental health professionals who are trained to address the needs of children, adolescents and their families. We are meeting this need.

Want to build knowledge, skills and credentials in a specialized area above and beyond a master degree without extending your time at Falk College? The Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Child Therapy is a 12-credit hour graduate program to further your knowledge through a comprehensive, specialized curriculum of applied skills in child therapy. The CAS in Child Therapy is available for graduate students, clinicians, mental health professionals, and practitioners from allied disciplines who intend to expand their knowledge and skills in clinical practice with children and their families or care-givers. The Certificate of Advanced Studies in Child Therapy addresses the concerns expressed by state and federal agencies about the critical shortage of mental health professionals who are trained to address the needs of children, adolescents and their families.

Sample Courses

Courses are designed to help students understand principles of child development; human sexuality; gender development; and family development and processes, especially in the context of trauma. Sample courses include:

  • Play Therapy with Children and Families
  • Family Therapy Across the Life Cycle
  • Family Therapy with Complex Trauma
  • Violence, Bullying, & Trauma: Clinical Perspectives
  • Counseling Children and Adolescents
View all course requirements and electives

Why a CAS is Important

Students consider CAS programs to advance or complement an existing skill set, or to develop a new one. For some students, CAS programs are helpful stand-alone options to enhance an advanced degree they already have. For others, supplementing a master program with a CAS generally entails coursework that matches M.A. or M.S. requirements. With little to no additional time or financial investment required, pairing a master degree and a CAS simultaneously is appealing. Take for example, a student in Falk College’s MFT or M.S.W. programs, or its dual degree program in MFT-M.S.W. Enrolling in the CAS in Child Therapy while pursuing one of these master degree pairs important skills in high demand.

What’s the advantage of earning a CAS credential and a master degree?

Graduate certificates are important when pursuing a master degree because they can give you a leg up on employment once you graduate. You build knowledge, skill and credentials in a specialized area of interest above and beyond the master degree without extending your time at Falk. And when you graduate with a master degree and a Certificate of Advanced Study, the CAS letters next to your M.A., M.S., M.S.W. or MFT on your new business cards are a valuable addition.

What Our Students Are Saying

Our Facilities

Peck Hall is a five-story, 30,000 square-foot facility that houses MFT faculty and administrative offices, classrooms, a student lounge/kitchen, and a seminar room. Other key features include a children’s clinic and expanded counseling rooms for the Couple and Family Therapy Center, which serves clients referred from mental health and human service agencies and school districts throughout the area. The facility is equipped with state-of the art technologies, including smart classrooms with video conferencing, and counseling rooms with digital video imaging for clinical training purposes. Peck Hall is situated adjacent to the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center, enhancing collaborations with the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy specifically around issues of child and family trauma and giving students a technologically advanced, interdisciplinary training environment working with highly skilled and very dedicated mental health professionals. Additional long-standing community partnerships provide experience-rich learning opportunities for MFT students, including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Jewish Family Services, Vera House, and the Brownell Center at Liberty Resources, among many others.

Experiential Learning

All students spend one year providing therapy in the on-campus Couple and Family Therapy Center, which is well equipped for videotape and live supervision. They also see clients in off-campus practica sites after their first semester of client contact. The Couple and Family Therapy Center offers no cost, confidential therapy services to families, couples, and individuals who are coping with life’s challenges. Some of the issues most frequently addressed at the Center include resolving marital and couple difficulties; easing relationship or communication struggles; helping a troubled child, teenager, or family; moving beyond family violence or substance abuse; or dealing with emotional distress such as anxiety or depression, grief, and loss. The Couple and Family Therapy Center serves diverse clients from across Central New York. It is located in Peck Hall, which provides a comfortable therapeutic atmosphere. Rooms provide flexibility in treatment options, from talk therapy to play therapy and sand tray interventions. Therapists are master or doctoral students in the Marriage and Family Therapy Department at Syracuse University who work closely under the supervision of licensed faculty. Advanced technology affords students excellent training oversight and ultimately improves the quality of service to clients. The Center also features the Trans Team, which provides a unique opportunity for students who want to gain training and experience working with transgender people and their loved ones. In addition to their general caseload, therapists on the Trans Team work with transgender individuals, couples, and families, providing general therapy, helping families become more attuned to their transgender family member, navigating with clients through the process of gender transition, and providing letters of support for medical gender transition.

What's next after this degree

A Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) complements a M.A. in marriage and family therapy degree and other master degrees, not to mention their marketability after graduation, with additional knowledge, skills, licensing and credentials in a specialized area. Additional licensing and credentialing strategically positions students in the counseling and mental health fields. Students wishing to pursue a university level-teaching career can further pursue a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy.


According to U.S. News & World Report, marriage and family therapy is one of the fastest-growing mental health disciplines in the U.S. today. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected in both occupations as more people have mental health counseling services covered by their insurance policies. Child counselors often work in facilities where there are children in need of mental health services. This often includes schools, hospitals, children’s homes, juvenile detention centers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, and social service offices. Like many other counseling professionals, child counselors can also usually choose to open their own private practices. In doing so, they may counsel children in their offices, or travel to the children’s homes or schools.

Student Organizations

Students should maintain membership in AAMFT throughout their enrollment in the M.A. and doctoral programs. M.A. students should apply for Student Membership in AAMFT their first term in the core program and maintain registration until receiving their degree. Students interested in working with faculty on research projects will find numerous projects available to them. Additionally, specialized opportunities based on a student’s interest are also available to broaden his or her professional skills. For example, the Trans Team involves student therapists providing LGBTQ affirmative therapy and assisting clients who are preparing for gender transition. The Trans Team provides a unique opportunity for students who want to gain training and experience working with transgender people and their loved ones. Students volunteering for this team attend specialized training, where they learn about a gender-affirmative approach to therapy and how to support transgender clients through the readiness process for medical gender transition.

Financial Support

New reduced 2021-22 tuition for graduate students:

Beginning Summer 2021, tuition rates for matriculated students in the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate programs were reduced from $1,734 to $1,084 per credit hour for the 2021-22 academic year! This reduced pricing is for both new and current students. With few exceptions, the reduced rates can not be combined with other funding awards and are not applicable toward prior semesters’ tuition. For questions about the new tuition pricing, please contact Falk Admissions.

Getting Admitted

The Certificate of Advanced Studies in Child Therapy is restricted to baccalaureate prepared licensed/certified professionals, and students currently enrolled in a master level licensure qualifying programs. GRE’s are not required. Psychopathology (or its equivalent) is required for completion of the Child Therapy CAS. Because Psychopathology is a required course in the SWK, MFT and MHC master degree programs, it is not listed as a course in the Child Therapy CAS. However, applicants who previously completed a master degree, and did not have Psychopathology in their course of study, must take a Psychopathology course in addition to the required 12 credits in the CAS. Completion of the Advanced Certificate in Child Therapy program alone does not qualify an individual for licensure as a social worker, marriage and family therapist, or any other profession licensed under Title VIII of the Education Law, nor does it authorize a certificate holder to engage in those scope-restricted professions. A maximum of three credits from a combination of transfer and/or external examinations/extra-institutional and experiential learning will be accepted toward a C.A.S. Apply Today!

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