Frequent Questions - UC San Diego Extension

Specialized Certificate Program in
Play Therapy
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any prerequisites for the classes or program?
Anyone may enroll in any Play Therapy course; however, it is important to note that all courses
are taught at a post-master’s level and are directed primarily toward individuals with a master’s
degree in a mental health field.
If I complete all the courses while I am still an intern, will I receive my
A license is not required to receive the program certificate. Once you are licensed, if you choose,
you may then submit the completed coursework to the Association for Play Therapy and it will
count toward meeting their requirements to become a Registered Play Therapist.
I am currently a pre-degree MFT working on my practicum hours. Am I
eligible to take these courses, or must I wait until I receive my degree?
Yes, you are eligible. Individuals interested in becoming a Registered Play Therapist may begin to
complete the requirements at any time. Such individuals will not submit their application to the
APT until they have met all the criteria, and that may be several years after that individual
completed the courses. An Extension certificate will be awarded for successful completion of the
program whether or not an individual intends to pursue the APT credential. That certificate and
course work would apply towards satisfying the APT requirements.
How are the courses formatted and scheduled?
Courses usually take a seminar format: new information is presented, and then the class works
through case studies, group activities, and/or class discussion to explore and integrate that
Likewise, courses are usually (but not always) held on a single Saturday. Each class is usually
offered two months in a row, to provide students with a choice of dates. Two different classes are
offered each month. Hours are 9:00am-5:00pm and provide seven instructional hours per
Do the courses need to be taken in any specific order?
No, you may begin taking courses at any time. The goal is to accrue 154 hours of instruction in
play therapy. To accomplish that, you will need to take many, but not all, of the courses that are
offered, but the order in which you take them is up to you. The courses are not sequential.
I am not interest in earning the Certificate, but I would like to take some of the
classes: is this possible?
Yes, the courses are available for enrollment and provide CE credit on an individual basis.
Once I start taking courses, do I have to take courses every quarter?
No, if you need to stop taking courses for a period of time, you may simply start taking them again
whenever you are ready.
What is the cost of the program?
The total cost of the program is approximately $3000. Each 7-hour course is $135, and each 14hour course is $245. You pay as you go; there is no lump sum due up front. The total cost
includes the $60 certificate enrollment fee that you can pay any time while you are taking the
How long does it take to complete the program?
It will take a minimum of 6 quarters (20 months) to take enough courses to accrue 11 credits of
instruction in play therapy. You may take up to five years to complete the program.
Do I need to fill out a formal application before I can take courses?
No, you may begin taking courses at any time by simply enrolling in the course(s) of your choice.
There is no formal application form. There is a $60 certificate program enrollment fee that may be
paid at any time while you are taking courses and must be paid to receive your certificate when
you complete the program. Because the fee is nonrefundable, we recommend that you take a few
courses before enrolling in the program in order to ensure that our program is right for you.
How do I enroll in courses?
To enroll
 Online:
Go to You will then see a list of all program courses.
Click on the title of the course you are interested in. That will take you to the specific course
page, which will have a description of the course itself and below that, if it is currently being
offered or will be offered in the near future, information on the individual sections (be sure to
expand the “click to show details” box). If a class is being offered, there will be a yellow “Enroll
Now” button next to it (if the class is being offered but it is full, there will be a waitlist option).
Click on that button when you are ready to enroll in that class.
 By phone:
Find the course(s) either on the program website ( or
the Extension catalog. Locate the 6-digit “Section ID” (or SID) number: this will be on the
course-specific page if online, or under the course information in the catalog. Call the Student
Services office at (858) 534-3400, (619) 260-3070, or (858) 534-9999. Please be ready with
the section ID number and your credit card information (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover
 In person:
You may enroll at any of the three UCSD Extension sites: on campus at the
Extension Complex, 9600 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla 92093, 858-534-3400; Mission Valley,
404 Camino Del Rio S., Ste. 102, San Diego, CA 92108, 619-260-3070; or University City
Center, 6256 Greenwich Dr., San Diego, CA 92122, 858-534-9999.
Do I need to enroll for a letter grade, or can I enroll for pass/fail?
You have the choice of a letter grade or a pass/fail grade: either will count toward your completion
of certificate requirements. To note, all classes must be enrolled for credit (as opposed to “not for
credit”) in order to apply towards completing the certificate requirements. If you choose the “not
for credit” option and later decide that you want to earn the certificate, the course cannot be
applied toward it.
How do I enroll in the Play Therapy Certificate program?
Enrolling in the certificate program involves the same procedure as enrolling in a course. Instead
of section ID number, the certificate has “certificate ID number.” This number is updated each
quarter on the program website, and it can be found in the certificate listing at the back of the
catalog. You can enroll on the website or by phone. The fee is $60.
Is there any help available for tracking the courses and hours I complete?
Yes. An official transcript is maintained for you in the Registrar’s office, but it does not reflect the
hours you’ve accrued. Contact Joel Tolson ([email protected] or 858-534-9265) if you would
like a spread sheet created that will show your course completion, hours accrued, and classes
I’ve taken workshops that were taught by an Association for Play Therapy
approved provider: can I get credit towards the certificate for them?
Although such workshops would be accepted by the APT towards meeting the 150 educational
hour requirement for earning the RPT and RPT-S designations, they cannot be applied towards
our certificate program because they lack academic credit. If you are not interested in earning our
play therapy certificate, you can combine Extension courses with other APT approved courses to
meet APT’s 150-hour requirement. You can receive an individual CE certificate for each course
you take by signing the CE sign-in sheet provided in the classroom.
I took a play therapy course in my master’s program: can I get credit towards
the certificate for it?
Yes, you can substitute a maximum of two such courses for two courses in the certificate program
as long the topics are not duplicates of Extension courses you have already or will take. Contact
the program representative at [email protected] or (858) 534-9265 for more information.
Can I apply these Play Therapy courses to the degree I am working on?
UCSD Extension courses and workshops do offer academic units, but they are continuing
education units, which are neither undergraduate nor graduate level units. If an Extension student
is interested in applying Extension coursework to an academic degree they may be working on,
the institution offering the degree would make the decision whether or not to accept the units. It
would be up to the student to inquire and supply whatever documentation the institution may
Does the certificate program include a practicum?
No. The certificate program only addresses the instructional hour component of the Association
for Play Therapy’s (APT) list of requirements for becoming a Registered Play Therapist (PTR and
PTR-S). In addition to instructional hours, the APT also requires a set amount of supervised
clinical hours, among other requirements, but these are outside of the scope of the program. More
information is available on the APT’s website:
How do I get on a mailing list to receive the Extension catalog?
On the homepage of the Extension website (, click on ‘Request a Catalog’ at
the top of the page. Otherwise, you will automatically be put on the mailing list after you enroll in a
Where on the Extension website can I look for information on courses,
including dates and locations?
Go to You will see a list of the program’s courses, which
includes a note as to which term each is likely to be offered in. Click on individual titles to view the
description, course details, and to enroll (scroll down to access the Enroll Now button).
I work with children, but I do not have a master’s degree in a mental health
field. Can I still take courses?
Anyone can enroll in our play therapy courses; there is no application process. A course in play
therapy would be of interest to Child Life Specialists and educators, for example, from the
standpoint of providing an opportunity to gain some familiarity with a therapeutic method that is
used primarily with children and their families. It is important to note, however, that our courses
are taught at a post-master's level. In addition, taking courses does not automatically qualify an
individual to use play therapy in the work they do. Following is some information from the
Association for Play Therapy website, which may provide some clarification: The practice of play
therapy requires extensive specialized education, training, and experience. A play therapist is a
licensed (or certified) mental health professional who has earned a master's or doctorate degree
in a mental health field with considerable general clinical experience and supervision.
Are there any textbooks required?
No, extensive handouts are provided at each course
How much work outside of class is there?
There is no work required outside of class time. Some kind of student evaluation tool—short quiz,
essay questions, etc.—is administered at the conclusion of each course, which will be based on
the content presented during the course. It will be used to assign you a grade, either a letter grade
or a pass/fail.
Where are the courses held?
Courses are held at one of three locations (listed in frequency, from most common to least):
UCSD Extension Complex
9600 N. Torrey Pines Rd.
La Jolla, CA 92083
UCSD Extension Mission Valley Center
404 Camino Del Rio S., Ste. 102
San Diego, CA 92108
UCSD Extension University City Center
6256 Greenwich Dr.
San Diego, CA 92122
Maps and driving directions are available on the Extension website:
When I’ve completed all the requirements, what do I need to do in order to
receive my certificate?
Contact the certificate coordinator: (858) 534-3444 or [email protected] After your
course record has been verified for completion, you will be sent your UCSD Extension certificate,
as well as a certificate documenting completion of 150 hours of instruction for you to submit to
APT if you are pursuing the RPT designation.
Joel Tolson
Program Representative
(858) 534-9265
[email protected]