The Trauma Treatment Graduate Certificate (TTGC) program is intended for currently admitted MSSW students entering their year of concentration courses. This program will provide students with the knowledge and practical experience needed to provide trauma informed and responsive interventions.
TTGC students will learn theories pertaining to trauma, along with the neurophysiological responses that individuals experience as a result of chronic stress and fear. They will also learn to identify, critically assess, plan, and treat any traumatic impacts. The larger social, cultural, and political forces that shape both exposure to and recovery from traumatic experiences are also examined. The TTGC is appropriate for students enrolled in both the Evidence Based Interpersonal Practice (EBIP) and Organizational Leadership (OL) concentrations.
The field of trauma has grown exponentially with advances in neurobiology, trauma-specific interventions, and increased recognition of trauma in the general population. Because many populations social workers serve have experienced some form of trauma, it is critical that social workers receive training in working with diverse populations who are affected by wide ranging traumatic experiences, including developmental abuse and neglect, chronic interpersonal and/or community violence, natural or human-made disasters, medical trauma, that experienced during accidents, combat trauma, and refugee violence.
The rationale for offering a TTGC is to provide students with high levels of theoretical knowledge and specialized skills for working with populations of traumatized individuals. Recent surveys in professional journals as well as by the College of Social Work suggest that professional agencies need these highly specialized skill sets in social workers they hire. Having a Graduate Certificate that confirms the possession of those skills will provide students with greater opportunities for employment and evidence-based work in their field of practice. Employers themselves respond better to structured certification programs that validate knowledge acquisition in that area. The College of Social Work awards a Certificate of Completion to students who complete the required courses and trauma-focused field placement.
The certificate requires 21 credit hours of graduate course work: 9 elective credit hours specifically designated as trauma specific and 12 credit hours in a trauma-specific field placement (i.e., a placement in which more than half of the student’s time is spent working with traumatized clients client systems).
More specific requirements of the TTGC are as follows:
- Trauma Electives (9 credit hours). All TTGC students must take SW531 Trauma Theory and Practice, as an elective. This course provides fundamental knowledge and theory regarding different types of trauma, including its neurobiology, as well as exposure to many different evidence-based interventions. All TTGC students must also complete two more trauma-specific elective, as listed below, for a total of 9 credit hours.
All TTGC students are required to take SW 531 ‐ Trauma Theory
They must also take two of the following TTGC electives:
- SW529 – Military Social Work Practice
- SW533 – Trauma Treatment for Adults
- SW534 – Trauma Treatment with Children and Adolescents
- SW535 – School Social Work
- Field Practice (12 credit hours). TTGC students must have a concentration field placement where they will gain exposure to working with or on behalf of populations affected by trauma. The placement must be in direct interface with traumatized clients/client systems at least 51% of the time. The field coordinator must agree that the placement fits the criteria for a trauma certificate placement. Students also must work with their field instructor at their assigned agency to develop specific learning goals that can be achieved in their practice setting. These must also be included on their field learning plans in IPT. Students not yet in field will not complete this step until they enter their concentration field placement.
TTGC applications are distributed to students in the fall of their generalist year. For applying Advanced Standing students, applications will be sent out with the Letters of Acceptance. Applications are brief, including a personal statement describing reasons for wanting to participate in the program; tentative trauma-focused elective courses the student would like to take; and other relevant information. Students are selected into the certificate program in the order in which their applications are received. The TTGC program is popular but is restricted to 25 students in each program (Knoxville, Nashville, Online) so that we can properly serve students in this certificate program. Further, we reserve 7 spots for each program for Advanced Standing students. Therefore, it is recommended that interested students get their applications in as soon as possible. If the positions for any program are full, students will be placed on a wait list.
For continuing College of Social Work generalist students entering concentration year – January 1
For newly admitted AS students—Two weeks after receiving acceptance letter
Students will be notified approximately 2-3 weeks after the application deadline.