Building Motivational Interviewing Competency Certificate

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For registration assistance: 608-262-2451


MI is a well-established, evidence-based communication practice for addressing behavioral change across multiple settings and systems. This 35-hour group-paced certificate is for participants wanting to learn or relearn the knowledge and skills necessary to reach proficiency in the use of Motivational interviewing (MI).

Throughout the certificate course, you will be observing, practicing, and applying the person-centered MI skills of Engaging, Focusing, Evoking and Planning. At completion, participants will be able to demonstrate the requisite attitudes, knowledge and skills (competency) to practice MI with fidelity and begin the initial integration of MI into their routine practices.

In this group-paced online course, you will...

  • Develop your competencies in MI through 12 hours of highly interactive live online webinars (divided up into four, 3-hour sessions).
  • Participate in partner work, small and large group discussions, and instructor-guided practice.
  • Enhance your learning with 23 hours of independent self-study on the Canvas online course site.
  • Review pre-captured video lectures and workbook readings.
  • Demonstrate your skill development through written assignments and practice recorded simulated client audio samples.

Evaluation of your progress will be measured with knowledge checks, skill observation with individualized fidelity feedback and a summative competency quiz. Participants who successfully complete all course requirements will earn the noncredit "MI Competency-Based Certificate" (see Overview: Extra Information below for more detail).

This program will be a mix of live online session(s) using the Zoom platform, and self-study in the Canvas online course site. As a learner of this course, you are required to purchase a copy of Building Motivational Interviewing Skills: A Practitioner Workbook, Second Edition by David B. Rosengren (2017) by the start of the class. Many online vendors sell this required textbook. Please look for ISBN number 9781462532063. It is generally available at Guildford Press or Amazon.

Course Schedule

This course includes 26 hours of self-study starting October 1 on the Canvas online course site and ending mid-December, 2024. The 4 live sessions will occur on Tuesdays on the following days, October 8, October 22, November 11, and December 3; 11 a.m.–2 p.m.


The literature on what it takes to master the evidence-based and complex communication style of MI is robust and clear. Practitioners need knowledge and skill lessons, practice, and most importantly, feedback on how well they are translating the lessons into actual practice. This course is designed to follow the recommendations thus providing participants with the experiences necessary to acquire this valuable skill.


At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe MI purpose, benefits and limitations.
  • Identify key concepts, attitudes, processes, skills and strategies of MI.
  • Describe Engaging tasks and behaviors.
  • Identify MI-consistent attitudes for Engaging.
  • Describe Focusing tasks and apply strategies for agenda setting.
  • Recognize client change talk, sustain talk and discord.
  • Describe Evoking tasks and apply strategies to cultivate change talk and soften sustain talk.
  • Identify MI-consistent attitudes for Focusing and Evoking.
  • Recognize client signals of readiness for Planning.
  • Describe Planning tasks and apply strategies for goal setting and change planning.
  • Identify MI-consistent attitudes for Planning.
  • Design a personal MI competency-based professional development plan.


Beginner - Intermediate

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Overview: Extra Information

The 30-hour online group-paced course includes:

  • Four, 3-hour highly interactive live online webinars (12 hours total)
  • 26 hours of independent self-study on the Canvas online course site

Minimum Course Requirements:

Participants will receive 38 hours of continuing education by meeting the following requirements:

  • Fully participate in all live online webinars
  • View all online course lectures
  • Complete all assignments
  • Complete two simulated client calls
  • Complete three knowledge checks

Competency Certificate

Participants will receive the UW-Madison MI Competency-Based Certificate by meeting the following requirements:

  • Complete minimum course requirements
  • Demonstrate burgeoning (fair) or higher fidelity on the MITI (an evidence-based tool to assess MI competency) on one of two simulated client calls
  • Score at least 80% or higher on the summative knowledge check

Your registration fee includes instructor feedback on two samples of simulated client practice sessions.

Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 38
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units 3.8
American Psychological Association - Continuing Education Credit 38
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Substance Abuse Counselors - Continuing Education Credit Hours 38
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Marriage and Family Therapists - Continuing Education Credit Hours 38
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Social Workers - Continuing Education Credit Hours 38
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - Licensed Professional Counselors 38

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

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Program Questions?

Contact Ashley Kuehl at ashley.kuehl@wisc.edu or 608-265-4267

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

Continuing Studies FAQs

Meet your instructors

Laura Saunders

(MSSW, UW-Madison) is the Great Lakes Addiction, Mental Health and Prevention Technology Transfer Center state coordinator. Her position is housed at UW-Madison where she's worked since 1998. Since 2001, Laura has designed and facilitated more than 300 motivational interviewing trainings in multiple formats. Laura is an experienced coder and has provided feedback and coaching to hundreds of learners. She joined the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) in 2006 and is an active member of the Wisconsin MINT group.

Adrienne Christine Allen


(LCSW, BSW, MS, UW-Madison) has worked in healthcare settings for over 15 years, including long-term care management, health promotion and organizational development. Adrienne has returned to the UW Department of Continuing Studies to complete certificates in Motivational Interviewing, Adult Learning and Training, and the Certified Professional Coach Program. Adrienne joined the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers in 2020. In addition to training numerous healthcare professionals in Motivational Interviewing, she has also participated in peer learning implementation as well as facilitated a coding evaluation and feedback program.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, exercise, travel, music and spending time with family.