Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Mental Health

The Early Childhood Mental Health (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. This could include social workers, early childhood educators, early interventionists, early childhood special educators, 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 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 ECMH Graduate Certificate requires 12 graduate credit hours and is offered fully online. Courses can be taken in any order. Students typically complete this certificate in 2-4 semesters. Not all courses are offered every semester.

To view course requirements and the plan of study, please visit Social Work ECMH Plan of Study website.

For detailed admission requirements and information on how to apply, please visit the School of Social Work ECMH Admissions Information website.

Have questions? Contact the School of Social Work at You may also contact Dr. JaneDiane Smith (Child and Family Development, Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Mental Health Graduate, Concentration Coordinator) at 704-687-8850 or

ECMH – School of Social Work Website

ECMH – School of Professional Studies Website

Time Limits

If a certificate student is later accepted into either the MSW or MEd program at UNC Charlotte, all courses for the degree must be completed within six years of initial enrollment. All courses for the Graduate Certificate in ECMH only must be completed within four years from initial enrollment in the certificate program.

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Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Development: Birth through Kindergarten