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Grief Support Group Certified Specialist Certification

Grief Support Group Counseling Certification

“Dedicated to Continued Learning, Growth, and Achievement in Health Care Practice”

grief counseling support group certification

***Achieve your Grief  Support Group Counseling Certification. This Grief Support Group Counseling Certification Specialty is available ONLY to those who are currently Certified as a Grief Counselor in the American Academy of Grief Counseling or hold a certificate in Grief Counseling from another organization AND meet our Grief Counseling Certification prerequisites***

For information on becoming a Certified Grief Counselor, please visit our program page here: Click Here

The American Academy of Grief Counseling offers comprehensive, quality, Grief Counseling Certification and Fellowship programs for qualified professionals including, physicians, nurses, counselors, social workers, funeral directors, clergy and other professional providers practicing in all specialties of Grief Counseling.

The objectives of the AAGC  are:

  • Provide high quality programs of Certification and Fellowship for professionals practicing grief/bereavement counseling with a specialty practice in group based grief counseling, with a specialty focus in grief support group counseling certification.
  • Develop and support high standards of education and practice requirements for the attainment of grief counseling support group certification, fellowship status, and re-certification in group based grief counseling.
  • Provide a mechanism for the ongoing involvement of a peer advisory board of qualified professionals to oversee program development and requirements for grief support group counseling certification and fellowship in the AAGC.
  • Provide society with a mechanism to ascertain the appropriate education, skills, knowledge and experience required by professionals who offer such services related to grief support group counseling.
  • Establish quality standards and requirements for the re-certification and re-fellowship of its credentialed members, attesting to ongoing education and skill attainment in the practice specialty of grief/bereavement counseling and who attain grief support group counseling certification.
  • Provide a comprehensive program of approvals for continuing education, seminars, offerings, independent study, and other related educational activities, to ensure high quality standards are met and that such programs are of value to professionals practicing grief and bereavement counseling with a specialty in grief support group counseling certification.


Certified Grief Counselor with a Specialty Certification in Grief Support Group Certified Specialist requires attainment of the following certification criteria:

  • Applicants must hold current Certification as a Certified Grief Counselor by the American Academy of Grief Counseling. To review all information on the Grief Counseling Certification program:   Access Information
  • Note: Other Applicants who hold a current Certification in Grief/Bereavement Counseling from another credible Organization may be considered for acceptance into this program. Each Applicant will be evaluated on an individual basis. Applicants, besides holding a Certification in Grief/Bereavement Counseling must also meet at least one of the prerequisites established to have entered our Core Grief Counseling Certification program. These prerequisites may be found here. Contact to inquire regarding qualifications to enter if you do not hold current certification as a Certified Grief Counselor in the American Academy of Grief Counseling.
  • Completion of the continuing education program in Grief Support Group Certified Specialist Practice offered by the American Academy of Grief Counseling. Upon completion of the four (4) core courses in the Grief Support Group Group Certified Specialist Practice CE Courses curriculum the candidate may then apply for official Certification. This program of education consists of core continuing education courses designed to meet the specific education standards as developed by the American Academy of Grief Counseling for the practice specialty of Group Support Grief Practice at the Specialty level. All courses are offered by distance education, and candidates have two full years to complete the complement of courses. For full program information: access here.

Once Certified, members must commit to adherence to the Code of Ethics for Certified Grief Counselors and adhere to their specific profession’s Standards of Practice.


All certifications shall be for a period of 4 years from the date that the initial certification by the American Academy of Grief Counseling (AAGC) is granted.

The Certification Process

We have a dedicated page that provides a quick over-view of our certification process. It will provide you with good information about the process/phases of both the education courses and application for certification. Click here to access.


Those applicants who become certified by the AAGC in the specialty of Grief Support Group Certified Specialist shall be deemed “Certified” and may use the initials/credentials: “GSG-CSp” which stands for “Grief Support Group Certified Specialist”


Once a Certified Grief Counselor by the American Academy of Grief Counseling achieves their Certification as a Grief Support Group Certified Specialist, this Specialty Certification becomes tied to their Certification as a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C). When they re-new their Certification as a Certified Grief Counselor, their Specialty Certification as a Certification as a “Grief Support Group Specialist” will automatically recertify at that time with no additional charge at the time of recertification. This Specialty recertification will continue to renew along with their Certified Grief Counseling (GC-C) Certification for subsequent recertification periods as long as their maintain renewals of their GC-C Certification status in the American Academy of Grief Counseling.

For those who Achieved Certification as a Certified Grief Support Group Specialist who were admitted into the program based on another grief/bereavement certification credential other than the Certification in Grief Counseling by the American Academy of Grief Counseling, the following Recertification process will apply to them:

Those Certified members with the practice specialty certification, but who are not Certified in Grief Counseling Counseling by the American Academy of Grief Counseling, may receive recertification at the expiration of their four year term by:

  • Obtaining 50 or more hours of continuing education within the four year period of certification.
  • Meet the practice requirements in Grief Counseling for the four year period of initial certification.
  • Criteria for Recertification


Those applicants who have successfully achieved certification, or recertification by the AAGC will receive a large size official Certificate attesting to certification as a child/adolescent certified grief counselor, as well as an official letter of notification. The certificate is suitable for framing and details the official professional certification title, initials that may be used, and time frames for certification. Those recertifying receive a new, updated certificate.

Standards & Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics for Certified Grief Counselors and Fellows of the American Academy of Grief Counseling may be viewed online by clicking here. The Code of Ethics is approved by the Governing Board and the Advisory Board of the American Academy of Grief Counseling.

Fee Schedule

  • The certification fee for Grief Support Group Certified Specialist is $200.00, plus shipping and handling, for the four year term of certification. All Certification packets, which include the official certificate, wallet ID card, and other related documents are shipped with tracking. Payment in full is due at the time of application. If an applicant does not meet certification criteria, the application fee is refunded. A completed application must be submitted with full payment to be considered for certification. The application form is available Here.
  • Application for Re-certification is $200.00, plus shipping and handling, for the next four year period only for those who are recertifying and are NOT currently certified as a Certified Grief Counselor by the American Academy of Grief Counseling. Those who hold current certification as a Certified Grief Counselor in the American Academy of Grief Counseling, will recertify their Grief Support Group Specialist Certification at the time that they renew their Grief Counseling Certification all for one fee of $ 200.00.  This is a one time payment and is required in full at the time of application for re-certification. A completed application must accompany the payment.
  • Major credit cards are accepted. Check and money orders are to be payable to: The American Institute of Healthcare Professionals.

Achieving Fellowship Status in Grief Support Group Counseling

The AAGC provides for a Fellowship status for Certified Grief Counselors. Fellowship is granted following the successful completion of all requirements as defined by the AAGC. Fellowship status is considered the highest form of professional recognition by a certification body, and attests to the Fellow’s ongoing commitment, knowledge attainment, skill, and practice experience in the field of professional Grief Counseling. Those who achieve Fellowship status are deemed a “Fellow in the American Academy of Grief Counseling “, and may use the initials, FAAGC. Fellows may also continue to use the initials GC-C as they maintain their initial certification along with their Fellowship.

Click here for Fellowship Information.

Online Application for Certification

Click here for the online application for certification.

Additional Resources

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What is Certification?

“A certification is a third-party attestation of an individual’s level of knowledge or proficiency in a certain industry or profession. They are granted by authorities in the field, such as professional societies and universities, or by private certificate-granting agencies. Most certifications are time-limited; some expire after a period of time (e.g., the lifetime of a product that required certification for use), while others can be renewed indefinitely as long as certain requirements are met. Renewal usually requires ongoing education to remain up-to-date on advancements in the field, evidenced by earning the specified number of continuing education credits (CECs), or continuing education units (CE’s), from approved professional development courses. “ 1

Certification is an official recognition from a “Professional Organization” that one has met all of the established standards as determined by that professional organization to be conferred the specific “certification” by that professional organization.  Certifications are most frequently established and conferred by “professional organizations.” Certification is thus a validation that a professional has thus achieved a high standard of knowledge, learning and skills in a specific specialty area of practice. It attests to an achievement in professional practice that is beyond that achieved for licensure. It is also specialty practice specific, rather than generic in nature.

Certification is distinctly different from ‘licensing.” Licensure is conferred /granted by the Government. In most all cases, licensure is the responsibility of the State Government. Every state has its own government agencies that oversee and confer licensure to professionals, i.e. the state boards of nursing.  Licensure is established by “laws” and then specific rules and regulations which conform to the tenets of the state’s laws. Licensure is granted and over-seen by state agencies. Certification, on the other hand, is NOT licensure and is not established by any “laws.”  Licensing agencies generally do not “oversee” professional certifications, unless their specific laws mandate a certain professional certification, in order to practice. An example of this would be: for a registered nurse to receive and be conferred a license as a “Nurse Practitioner” most states require that the RN also have Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.  So, in order to be licensed as a nurse practitioner, the nurse must hold certification from one of those two professional organizations. The State Board of Nursing does not oversee the certification, but rather requires it for nurse practitioner license.

Why Achieve a Certification?

“Professional certification shows consumers and potential employers that you are committed to your profession and are well-trained. It gives them confidence in your abilities and knowledge. Certification makes you more valuable to employers, so you can expect to earn more than someone without certification. Certification also offers advancement opportunities.” 2  Other compelling reasons to consider a specialty practice certification include: Acquire advanced knowledge and skills in a sub-specialty health care practice: 1) Achieve national recognition for attainment of knowledge and skills by meeting established standards of professional advanced practice, 2). Enhance and expand your health care practice, 3). Increase your marketability, 4). Be viewed as a credentialed expert in your practice specialty, and 5). Become part of a professional group and network of recognized and certified health care specialists.

Report findings published on revealed the following regarding Nurses that held certifications: 1). Certified nurses make more money, 2). Certified nurses have respect and recognition, 3). Certified nurses have validated competence in their specialty area, 4). Certified nurses are more marketable and hireable, 5). Certified nurses perceive they have more power in their organizations, 6). Certified nurses have more professional opportunities, 7). Certified nurses have standing among their professional peers, and 8). Certified nurses are more confident. 3

While these study finds were specific to the nursing profession, we believe such benefits are applicable to all health care professionals who hold practice specialty certifications, especially related to recognition, opportunities in employment and validated competency in their practices.

Ongoing Learning

A major hallmark of quality Certification programs is the mandate that Certified Members commit to continued learning in order to maintain their certifications. This is most generally achieved by requiring a recertification process in which certified member’s document continued learning in their practice specialty by way of continuing education. Certifying bodies will establish quality standards for the requirements for its certified members to achieve contact hours of continuing education credits in order to maintain their certification status by the organization or association. 1, 2

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals upholds this high quality standard for recertification of its members by an established program of recertification via mandatory continuing education as well as clinical practice hours over a four-year time frame.  Certified members may recertify their status upon meeting the standards established for recertification of their practice specialties.


  1. October 2018. Page 1.
  2. October 2018
  3. October 2018