Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Teacher Certification

Certification is verification of a teacher’s competence whereas the designation of Trained MSC teacher simply recognizes that a person has completed the requisite training activities. This level of training and verification is highly recommended for those who continue to teach the program, and offers a number of opportunities and advantages as well. The designation of Certification indicates that the individual has been individually mentored by an expert MSC teacher, has received specialized advanced training in teaching the program, has taught a significant number of MSC courses and had his or her teaching reviewed by an expert MSC teacher for competence.

Advantages of becoming a Certified MSC Teacher include:

  • You may represent yourself publicly, including in the directory of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (CMSC) website, as a Certified Teacher who has received the approval and support of CMSC and the UC San Diego Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute.
  • You will be approved to offer MSC in the intensive format and be a teacher of CMSC’s Live Online MSC program.
  • You will have the support of CMSC to adapt MSC for special populations (subject to review and approval by CMSC)

Furthermore, all CMSC Teacher Trainers, Mentors and Teacher Training Consultants are required to be Certified as well. Thus, those who hope to potentially serve in those roles must obtain certification in order to be considered for these positions.

Starting the Process

The certification process involves finding a mentor and then actively participating in a series of at least fourteen 1-hour mentoring sessions with them whilst teaching two or more consecutive (not concurrent) full 8-week MSC programs with at least eight enrolled participants. (Additional sessions may be required, at the mentor’s discretion, to assure a high standard of teaching competence.) Review mentor details on our MSC Mentorship page for more information.
In order to begin the Mentorship process, the individual must be a trained MSC teacher, have already taught at least three 8-week MSC programs, and have video footage of either session 4 or 5 of a recent MSC program for the Collaborative Assessment.

The next steps in the process are:

  • Contact a mentor, organize the Collaborative Assessment, which consists of at least three sessions:
    • orientation session with mentor
    • mentor reviews video on their own
    • mentor and mentee create a mentorship plan
  • At this point a decision is made regarding the applicant’s readiness for certification and the formal mentorship plan (for the balance of the mentorship process) is finalized and agreed upon by the mentor and mentee
  • Register with University of California San Diego Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (UCSD-MBPTI) and pay the $340 fee.


 If you enrolled in the institute before August 1, 2021 and would like to apply for the Teacher Certification status, please re-enroll (sign up) by following the link above and email mindfulness@health.ucsd.edu. Thank you.

Mentorship Requirements for Certification: Applicants for Certification in the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute (MBTI) must have successfully completed a formal mentorship plan co-created with their mentor. The minimum duration of a mentorship plan is fourteen individual mentorship sessions, which includes at least three sessions for the Collaborative Assessment process, and at least eleven sessions over the course of teaching at least two courses (the two courses must be consecutive and not concurrent). Please note: the plan may include more sessions at the discretion of the mentor.

Collaborative Assessment (CA): The purpose of the CA is to establish a foundation for a mentorship plan based upon three sources of input:

  1. The mentee’s teaching needs first and foremost;
  2. Objective data about the mentee’s teaching to date;
  3. And the expert assessment of the mentor.

The specific data used for any particular CA should include a full session video recording of the mentee teaching session 4 or 5 of a recent MSC 8-week course. Further data that may be used to formulate the Mentorship Plan (at the discretion of the mentor) could include anonymous course evaluations from previous participants in the mentee’s courses or a self-assessment using the MSC version of the MBI-TAC.

  • The CA is considered three mentorship sessions because, in addition to the two face-to-face meetings, there is another session for the mentor to review the video footage individually.
  • The standard fee for the CA is $465 (3 sessions at $155 per session) but mentors may choose to slide this fee to meet the needs of mentees who have special financial circumstances.
  • The first session of the Collaborative Assessment will be dedicated to the mentor and mentee getting to know each other, the mentee sharing some of his or her goals or concerns for mentorship and the mentor will share his or her philosophy and approach to mentorship, along with a discussion of the assessment process.
  • After the first session, the mentor will take the time to review the recording and formulate a draft Mentorship Plan to be reviewed with the mentee at the second face-to-face CA session. The Mentorship Plan might include specific learning objectives as well as general areas of focus or attention as defined by both the mentor and mentee, and will also include the recommended number of subsequent mentorship sessions that the mentor feels is appropriate.
  • In the final CA session, the mentor will present the Mentorship Plan and the mentor and mentee will discuss it. The details of the final agreed-upon plan will be incorporated into a formal Mentor/Mentee agreement, payment to the mentor will be agreed upon, and the details (and signed form) will be forwarded to the MBPTI.

Mentorship Fees

While your financial arrangement is between you and your mentor, we have asked the UCSD-approved mentors to agree to a standard hourly rate of $155 for US-based mentees and that the mentee pay for the full set of fourteen sessions up front, unless other arrangements need to be made. We understand that people have varying financial circumstances and live in varying world economies and may need some consideration for these circumstances. If the fee is a financial hardship, then you are encouraged to discuss this with potential mentors and see if you can mutually agree upon a fee that is acceptable to both parties. Keep in mind that these are highly experienced and very busy teachers and trainers, and their time is valuable and these rates are fairly consistent with others in our field.

Session Recordings Required for Mentorship

Mentees are expected to record all MSC sessions during the mentorship process. Mentorship sessions will specifically include recording of at least the following:

  • Video recordings of you teaching two 20-minute segments of inquiry, one from MSC sessions 1-4 and the second video from sessions 4-8.
  • Video recording of you teaching one exercise from MSC (with inquiry).
  • Video recording of you teaching a 20-minute sitting meditation practice.
  • Video recording of you teaching a 15-minute didactic portion of the MSC program.
  • Four audio recordings of guided meditations (in CD or mp3 format). These are recordings that you create for your participants to listen to at home.

Finalizing Your Certification

Upon completing these requirements, please submit a formal letter of application for Teacher Certification to the UCSD MBPTI Teacher Qualification and Certification Committee (mindfulness@health.ucsd.edu). Your mentor will also submit a letter of recommendation at this time. Your letter must include documentation of the following:

  • The date you received your Trained Teacher Certificate in MSC.
  • Location and number of participants in all MSC courses taught and copies of all course evaluations from the most recent course
  • In addition please submit a character reference from a colleague in your field, meditation teacher, etc. who is familiar with your work. Please also document your personal mindfulness meditation practice, self-compassion and/or loving-kindness meditation practice, and attendance at silent teacher-led retreats, naming the teacher(s) and location.
  • An application review fee of $500 will be charged for the Certification review process.

The mentor will also forward a letter of recommendation to the committee, noting the key elements of the mentorship, the mentor’s assessment of the mentees ability/competence as a teacher, and (if necessary) the mentor’s recommendation regarding Certification.

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 modules for Teacher Certification status and you will be issued with a MSC Teaching Certificate. If any remediation is recommended prior to Certification, then there will be an additional $150 re-review fee once the remediation has been completed.

If a mentee wishes to appeal a mentor’s decision, an ad hoc review committee of two MSC mentors who have not mentored the applicant will make the final determination.

Estimated Fees

Estimated Fees for MSC Teacher Certification

MBPTI Initial Enrollment Fee $200
Mentorship Administration Fee $140
14 sessions of Individual Mentorship (more may be recommended by mentor) $2170
Teacher Certification Review Fee $500
Total Estimated Cost $3010

Note: A service charge will be added to all payment transactions.

If you enrolled in the institute before August 1, 2021 and would like to apply for the Teacher Certification status, please re-enroll (sign up) by following the link below and email mindfulness@health.ucsd.edu. Thank you.