Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-Informed Care Undergraduate Certificate

About the Trauma-Informed Care Certificate

Learn discipline-specific approaches to care that promote healing and recovery.

Trauma can have serious impacts on behavioral health, mental health, and school or work performance, as well as overall health and well-being.

The trauma-informed care certificate program at PennWest California is designed for students who are  seeking careers in psychology, social work or other human services professions. It prepares them to acknowledge the impact of trauma, understand paths to recovery, and utilize practices that respect and respond to trauma’s effects on the individuals they someday will serve.

PennWest California’s 12-credit, on-campus program introduces trauma-informed approaches to care that are drawn from the disciplines of psychology and social work. Undergraduate students gain a well-rounded perspective on this contemporary model of care.

What is trauma-informed care?

The Center for Health Care Strategies Inc. explains that “trauma-informed care shifts the focus from ‘What’s wrong with you?’ to ‘What happened to you?’” – an approach that benefits both clients and service providers.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, trauma is highly prevalent and can affect individuals, families, groups and communities over a lifetime.

Nationwide, community studies estimate that as many as 2 in 3 children and adolescents have been exposed to at least one traumatic event, such as:

  • Psychological, physical, or sexual abuse.
  • Community or school violence.
  • Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence.
  • National disasters or terrorism.
  • Sudden or violent loss of a loved one.
  • Military family-related stressors (e.g., deployment, parental loss or injury).
  • Neglect.
  • Serious accident or life-threatening illness.

The agency calls trauma-informed care training a “promising model for organizational change in health, behavioral health, and other settings that promotes resilience in staff and patients.”


Multidisciplinary approach: This trauma certificate program includes both psychology and social work courses, providing a broad perspective that is applicable in many professional settings.

Top faculty: Our faculty bring in-depth research, clinical and community practice experience to the trauma certificate program, along with a commitment to excellence in teaching and mentoring their students.


2 in 3 
Children who reported at least one traumatic event by age 16.
Courses required to complete the trauma-informed care certificate.


Degree icon.

Degree Benefits


The undergraduate certificate in trauma-informed care demonstrates your understanding of this approach, which is widely recognized as having benefits for both clients and practitioners. The trauma certificate  program provides a broad, generalist perspective on trauma-informed care that is applicable in a wide variety of settings.

Cap icon.

Graduate Outcomes


As more organizations institute this approach to care, this certificate may provide a competitive edge for graduates seeking employment as human services professionals. According to the Center for Health Care Strategies, the trauma-informed approach to care “can also help reduce burnout among healthcare providers” by helping them to understand the impact of trauma on the lives of those they serve.

Trauma-Informed Care Training Certificate Courses

This 12-credit program is designed for undergraduate students in social work, psychology and related majors.


Course Credits
SOW 201  Interviewing for the Human Services  3
PSY 222  Psychology of Stress Management 3
SOW 310  Trauma Informed Social Work Practice 3
PSY 415  Trauma-Informed Care in Psychology 3
Total 12