University offers new certification program for guardianship

The University of Alaska Department of Human Services is excited to announce a new program that is targeted to those interested in working as guardians for adults who require support in making decisions. The Guardianship Occupational Endorsement Certificate (OEC) will be developed and offered in collaboration with the Alaska Office of Public Advocacy. The Office of Public Advocacy provides guardianship to adults throughout the state of Alaska. The Public Guardian section of OPA is charged with providing guardianship and conservatorship services to Alaskans who do not have family members or friends who are able to serve, and who do not have the financial ability to hire a private professional guardian. Alaska does not have a current training program for guardians, and does not have enough individuals to serve as private professional guardians or as public guardians. Newly hired guardians at the Office of Public Advocacy require extensive training before they are able to take on a caseload.

The new Guardianship Occupational Endorsement Certificate hopes to train individuals interested in working with elders and vulnerable adults either as private professional guardians or as public guardians with the Office of Public Advocacy. Additionally, the courses will include content relevant to those who wish to work as care managers, care coordinators, case managers and other similar positions.

The first two courses will begin in the fall semester of 2024, and the second two courses in the program will be offered in spring of 2025. The final course, offered in the summer of 2025, will include a practicum experience. We hope to continue to offer the courses on a continual basis. The courses will provide extensive content about guardianship and conservatorship, community resources, benefit programs, establishing trusts and other conservatorship accounts, ethical considerations, and more. If interested, register now at UAA. For more information, contact Amanda Biggs at

Amanda Biggs is an instructor at University of Alaska Anchorage. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work and has worked as a care coordinator, outreach specialist, education specialist and court visitor. She is a board member of Older Persons Action Group, Inc.

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