Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health certificate caters to working professionals

At first glance, Kathleen Hipke didn’t think she’d benefit from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Capstone Certificate in Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health. She already worked in the field and had a significant amount of training.

But on closer inspection, the program looked perfect for her.

“I couldn’t pass it up when I saw the lineup of instructors and the types of learning opportunities it was going to provide,” Hipke says. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to integrate and deepen my learning, and that’s absolutely what it did.”

The one-year program in Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health trains students to evaluate and treat mental health disorders in infants and young children. Like Hipke, many of them already work in the field and require a flexible program that allows them to stay in their jobs.

“I’m a full-time working professional mom, so finding the time for school was probably my biggest challenge,” Hipke says.

The program made it possible by offering classes on evenings and weekends. “All of the work that needed to happen in between, I was able to control when I fit that into my schedule,” she says.

Cutting-edge skills

The Capstone Certificate in Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health has given Hipke’s career a serious boost.

“The program helped me to organize my work better around serving young children. It’s helped me become a much more satisfied professional because I know I’m doing good work and utilizing cutting-edge skills. I really have the language and the confidence to advocate for what I need in my workplace, and that’s helped me feel a lot more satisfied about what I’m doing.”

Along with helping Hipke on the job, the program plugged her into a larger network of professionals in her field.

“When you join this kind of training program at UW-Madison, you become part of this larger community of people who are passionate about the same things,” she says. “So I feel like I have a much bigger professional network now; it really ripples across the state. It’s opened a lot of doors to work on statewide projects.”

Hipke’s new professional network includes not only fellow students, but also instructors.

“One of the things my certificate program did very well is pulling in instructors who are well known nationally for their clinical and research work. It balances that with pulling from expertise in our state, so I could deepen my learning with mentors here in Wisconsin I’d looked up to for a long time. Those people have become part of my professional network as well, and that’s opened a lot of doors for me.”

Learn more about the Capstone Certificate in Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health.

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