Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Teacher Qualification and Certification

The MBCT Certification Pathway was developed by Susan Woods, MSW, LICSW and the Institute is deeply grateful for her contribution to the field through this effort.

EXPERIENCED MBCT TEACHERS:
If you are seeking to pursue certification through the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute and have questions about whether any of your previous training or experience can apply to this Certification pathway, please email us at mindfulness@ucsd.edu with a description of your training and experience, a listing of formal training completed (including dates, locations and teachers) and a current copy of your CV.

Phase 1: Teacher Qualification


The purpose of Teacher Qualification is to establish a basic level of training and proficiency sufficient to be able to offer Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to the general public. Achieving Teacher Qualification status is needed in order to move on to applying for Teacher Certification.

Requirements for MBCT Teacher Qualification are the following:

  • Completion of a 5-day MBCT professional training retreat. (This retreat has certain prerequisites that are required for admission. Please refer to Participant Guidelines on MBCT training program page.) Alternatively, a “mentored pathway” equivalent with a minimum duration of 12 months will be considered (e.g., attending three eight week MBCT courses — the first as a participant, the second as trainee, the third as co-teacher — as well as attending workshops on theoretical and practical aspects of teaching the core practices and curriculum). Those who choose the “mentored pathway” must also satisfy the pre-requisites for the 5-day retreat.
  • Formal application to enroll in the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (MBPTI) as a “Teacher in Training” accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $100 plus a Mentorship Administration Fee of $200 ($10 per session for the required 20 sessions of individual mentorship required for Qualification). Upon acceptance of your application in the MBPTI, you will receive a Provisional Certificate of Qualification that will be replaced by a full certificate of Qualification upon completion of the following three requirements and approval of your application for qualification as described below.
  • Completion of the online MBCT program for professionals offered through www.MindfulNoggin.com or being a participant/observer in an 8-week MBCT group.
  • Teach at least two 8-week MBCT groups.
  • Completion of at least 20 hours of mentorship with an MBPTI-approved MBCT Mentor during your teaching of two 8-week MBCT courses. Review MBPTI-approved mentors, relevant policies and procedures on our MBCT Mentorship page, including the policies for mentees who are co-teaching their first programs.
  • Recommendation: attendance at silent teacher-led meditation retreats.

Mentorship will include the following:

  • At least 16 weekly meetings (in person or via phone or the web), including one session before each 8-week MBCT program commences and one upon its conclusion, plus four other sessions for mentor review of recordings or other purposes.
  • Review of audio and/or audio/visual recordings of you guiding mindfulness meditation practices (body scan, sitting practice, 3-minute breathing space, walking meditation), mindful yoga, teaching a didactic portion of the MBCT program, and leading inquiry.
  • Submission of your teaching materials to the Mentor which will include all participant handouts and feedback evaluations

Upon completing these requirements, please submit a formal letter of application for MBCT Teacher Qualification to the UCSD Teacher Qualification and Certification Committee. Your letter must include documentation of all of the above requirements, plus the mentor’s name and dates of mentorship, location and number of participants in the MBCT course(s) taught. Please also document your personal mindfulness meditation practice, mindful movement practice, and attendance at silent teacher-led retreats, denoting teacher names and location.  Please request your Mentor send a letter of recommendation supporting your application and readiness to teach directly to the Committee. Please include an application fee of $750 plus an additional $120 Mentorship Administration Fee if you intend to pursue Certification through the Institute ($10 per session for the 12 sessions of mentorship required for Certification).

Your request will be reviewed by the Committee and upon approval, you will be issued with a certificate confirming you have satisfied all the necessary modules for full Teacher Qualification status. If the committee determines that you do not meet criteria for Teacher Qualification, you will be provided with feedback and a proposed remediation plan. Resubmission for consideration after satisfying the requirements can be made for an additional resubmission fee of $150.

What You Can Say When You Have Achieved Qualified Status: Upon receipt of your formal Teacher Qualification Certificate, you may market and represent yourself as a “Qualified Teacher of MBCT” as defined by the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute and you should clearly indicate that you are a trainee in the UCSD MBPTI (if you are pursuing Certification).

Beginning the Process

We recommend that you begin the enrollment process by registering online in the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (MBPTI) to pursue Qualification and Certification. Enrollment includes a non-refundable application fee of $100, plus a $200 Mentorship Administration Fee ($10 per session for the 20 initial individual mentorship sessions). You should then choose a mentor. Visit the mentorship page and review the biographies of the UCSD-approved mentors. Once you have reached out to one and settled on working together, you will complete and sign a written agreement with the mentor that establishes the details of your work together, and then you can proceed.

Register In The Institute

Phase 2: Teacher Certification


Obtaining MBCT Teacher Qualification is a prerequisite to formal certification status. Certification is a process of ensuring that an MBCT teacher has achieved a level of teaching that clearly demonstrates competency and best practice skills.

Requirements for MBCT Teacher Certification are the following:

  • Will have been granted Teacher Qualification.
  • Will have taught a minimum of three MBCT 8-week courses beyond the two required for Teacher Qualification status.
  • Completion of the Advanced MBCT Teacher Training Intensive
  • At least 10 hours of mentorship (beyond that required for Teacher Qualification) with an MBPTI-approved MBCT Mentor.
  • An established mindfulness meditation practice (daily formal sitting practice, informal practice).
  • A mindful movement practice (yoga, t’ai chi, qigong).
  • Attendance at annual silent teacher-led meditation retreats

Mentorship will include the following:

  • Ten weekly meetings (in person or via phone or the web), including one session before the 8-week MBCT program commences and one upon its conclusion, plus two other sessions for review of recordings or other purposes.
    • Video recordings of you teaching a full session of the MBCT program (usually Session 4 or 5).
    • Video recording of you teaching a 40-minute sitting meditation practice and a mindful yoga practice.
    • Video recording of you teaching a didactic portion of the MBCT program (e.g. Session 6: Thoughts Are Not Facts).

Upon completing these requirements, please submit a formal letter of application for Teacher Certification to the UCSD Teacher Qualification and Certification Committee. Your letter must include documentation of all of the above requirements, plus the mentor’s name and dates of mentorship, location and number of participants in the MBCT course(s) taught. You should also include your participant handouts. In addition please submit letters of recommendation from two professionals in your field and two letters of recommendation from participants in a recent MBCT class. Please also document your personal mindfulness meditation practice and attendance at silent teacher-led retreats, naming the teacher(s) and location. Please include an application fee for $1000.

Your request will be reviewed by the Committee and upon approval, you will be issued with a letter confirming you have satisfied all the necessary requirements for MBCT Teacher Certification status and will be issued with a Teaching Certificate. You can then be listed in the directory of “certified” MBCT teachers on the UCSD website.

What You Can Say When You Have Achieved Certified Status: Upon receipt of your formal Teacher Certification, you may market and represent yourself as a “Certified Teacher of MBCT” as defined by the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute.

Post-Certification Recommendations

  • Ongoing adherence to the framework for ethical conduct as outlined within your profession.
  • Continued yearly attendance at residential teacher-led mindfulness meditation retreats.
  • Engagement in an on-going peer consultation process with an experienced mindfulness-based teacher(s) or teacher(s) which includes:
  • Receiving periodic feedback on teaching from an experienced mindfulness-based teacher through video recordings, supervisor sitting in on MBCT sessions, or co-facilitating and building in feedback sessions.
  • Ongoing peer consultation with mindfulness-based colleagues, built and maintained as a means to share experiences and learn collaboratively.
  • Engagement in further training to develop skills and understanding in delivering mindfulness-based approaches, including keeping up to date with the current evidence base for mindfulness-based approaches.

Estimated Fees for MBCT Teacher Certification

MBCT 5-Day Foundational Teacher Training Registration: $1125
MBPTI Application Fee: $100
Mentorship Administration Fee for Qualification: $200
20 sessions of Individual Mentorship for Qualification: $3100
Teacher Qualification Review Fee: $750
Mentorship Administration Fee for Certification: $100
10 sessions of Individual Mentorship for Certification: $1550
Advanced Teacher Training Intensive Registration: $1175
Teacher Certification Review Fee: $1000

TOTAL ESTIMATED COST: $9410

For further information, contact us at mindfulness@ucsd.edu