Sports Counseling and Student Athlete Mental Wellness

Sports Counseling and Student Athlete Mental Wellness Online Graduate Certificate

About Sports Counseling Certificate

Help athletes maximize their mental and physical potential with this 100% online certificate.

Develop specialized counseling skills to improve the wellbeing, mental functioning and physical performance of athletes. Designed for counselors, counselors in training, educators, coaches, and professionals in any sports-related field, the online graduate certificate in sports counseling from PennWest California can be completed in during the summer terms.

PennWest California's counseling education programs are among the top in Pennsylvania, and the sports counseling graduate certificate program is rooted in the American Counseling Association code of ethics and the NCAA Mental Health Best Practices.

Improve therapeutic relationships and efficacy with sports counseling expertise.

Take best practice-based courses in:

  •  The foundations of sports counseling.
  • The contextual dimensions of sports counseling.
  • Knowledge and skills for the practice of sports counseling.
  • Student-athlete mental wellness.


Online Flexibility
Access classes from anywhere, and at any time, with 100% online courses. Learn through streaming videos, PowerPoint presentations and online forums. Communicate with professors and peers through discussion groups, chat rooms and email.

Grounded in counseling: Coursework for the graduate-level certificate in ssports counseling and student athlete mental wellness  is provided by PennWest California‚Äôs counselor education program and  is aligned with CACREP standards. This is your assurance that this online certificate program meets the highest academic standards.

Learn more about applying

 The American Psychological Association (APA) lists sports counseling among the fastest growing careers in counseling and psychology.
$60K - $80K 
Sports counselors working for collegiate athletic departments can easily earn between $60K and $80K per year, according to the APA. At large universities, that income can exceed $100K.
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Degree Benefits

Unlike sports psychology, which focuses primarily on athletic performance, sports counseling takes a holistic approach to the mental wellbeing and pyscho-emotional needs of athletes.

  • Incorporate principles of counseling, career development, movement science, psychology and human development into effective therapeutic relationships.
  • Operate from a multicultural perspective and a strength-based model of counseling.
  • Assist athletes at any level, from youth to professional.
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Graduate Outcomes

This program enhances the career opportunities and job efficacy of counseling and helping professionals working with athletes and their families within a variety of settings, including:

  •  Schools and higher education institutions.
  • Interscholastic programs.
  • Community and social agencies.
  • Outpatient clinics and rehabilitation centers.
  • Private practices.
  • Professional and amateur sporting agencies.

Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

The four-course (12-credit) graduate certificate in sports counseling has a summer start date and is delivered 100% online. Courses will not certify you as a professional counselor, but may be utilized as Act 48 continuing education units, and applied toward Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) credentials.



Course Credits
CED 780  Issues and Techniques in Counseling Athletes 3
CED 781  Sports Counseling Programming 3
CED 783  Counseling and Advising Athletes with Death, Loss and Grief  OR  CED 788  Contemporary Topics in Counselor Education (approved related to sports counseling) 3
CED 784  Student Athlete Mental Wellness 3
Total 12
Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Certificate:  Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.90 or higher (Students with a GPA below 2.90 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited institution
  • Interview may be required
  • One-page resume of work and education may be required

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Certificate:  Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.90 will be reviewed for a decision
    • Interview may be required
    • One-page resume of work and education may be required

Provisional Admission
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

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Course Spotlight: Counseling and Advising Athletes with Death, Loss and Grief

Learn practical skills and treatment strategies for dealing with death, loss and grief situations you may encounter working with athletes. This course examines research on grief counseling and intervention, as well as death, loss and grief in sports.

Sports Counseling Faculty

Dr. Grafton Eliason

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Dr. Elizabeth Gruber

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Dr. Robert Mehalik
Assistant Professor

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Dr. Jeff L. Samide

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Dr. Jacqueline Walsh

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