The Specialized Certificate
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy is a structured, theoretically‐based approach to therapy that builds on the normal
communicative and learning processes of children. Therapists strategically use play therapy to
help children express what is troubling them, when they do not have the verbal language to
express their thoughts and feelings. In play therapy, toys are like the child’s words, and play is
the child’s language.
Especially appropriate for children ages three through 12 years old, teenagers and adults have
also benefited from play techniques and recreational processes. In recent years, play therapy
interventions have also been applied to infants and toddlers.
Play therapy is used in mental health, school, agency, developmental, hospital, residential, and
recreational settings. Play therapy treatment plans have been used for multiple mental health
conditions and concerns, as well as for modification of behavioral disorders, including anxiety,
social development, physical and learning disabilities, and conduct disorders.
Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children experiencing a wide variety of
social, emotional, behavioral, and learning problems related to such life stressors as divorce,
death, relocation, hospitalization, chronic illness, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence,
and natural and man‐made disasters.
(Source: See Association for Play Therapy website—www.a4pt.org, “Play Therapy Makes a Difference!” for entire article and content
Who Will Benefit?
The certificate program is designed for licensed therapists, therapist interns, and allied health
professionals who work with children, adolescents, and their families.
Prerequisites for Admission
Anyone may enroll in courses, but it is important to remember that they are taught at a post‐
master’s level and are directed primarily toward individuals with a master’s degree in a mental
Becoming a Registered Play Therapist (RPT)
The certificate program satisfies the instructional requirement of the Association for Play
Therapy (APT) to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT), as well as a Registered Play
Therapist Supervisor (RPT‐S). Extension is approved by the APT to offer continuing education
specific to play therapy (provider no. 98‐046). Details about requirements and applications for
the designations may be obtained from the Association for Play Therapy: www.a4pt.org
To earn the certificate you must complete 11 quarter units to total 154 hours of course work. A
total of 12.5 units and 171 hours of course work are offered during a complete program cycle
from which you select courses that fit your schedule. The units meet Extension’s unit
requirement to earn the certificate, and the 154 hours meet and exceed the Association for Play
Therapy’s requirement for 150 hours of in‐class instruction to become a Registered Play
Therapist (RPT) or a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT‐S).
How to Begin
To get started in the program, simply enroll in the course or courses of your choice. To register
for the certificate online, find the button at the bottom of the certificate page, or register by
phone or in person. The fee is nonrefundable. You do not need to register in the program before
enrolling in courses.
The total cost of the program is approximately $3000. Each seven‐hour course is $135; the two
14‐hr. courses are $245. You pay as you go; there is no lump sum due up front. The total cost
includes the $35 certificate enrollment fee that you can pay any time while you are taking the
Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions. To contact the department office, send an email
to email@example.com or call (858) 964‐1070.