There are two separate levels of training.
The first is the Level 1-2 training. This standalone class teaches you all of the foundational EFT techniques, and also gives you time in class to practice. It introduces you to the complete practice of EFT, gives you some hands-on practice, and equips you with an in-depth manual that you can refer back to.
After a Level 1-2 training, you can use tapping on yourself, and with friends or family. (I advise caution on using it for deep work with friends and family as this will profoundly change your relationship to those people and is often not appropriate for ethical reasons.)
If you are a licensed mental health provider , a certified coach, or other wellness professional, you can begin incorporating it into your practice as a sub-modality. Think of it as a way to move emotions, gain clarity, and get past sticky points in session.
Most people find Level 1-2 EFT to be an intensive course and don't feel they gain full mastery in the more advanced/nuanced skills after the training. This is normal - it takes many, many practice sessions to really get a handle on using EFT with others.
For this reason, it's generally advised against using your Level 1-2 skills for trauma resolution, beyond working on yourself, (and definitely the case if you're not trained to work with trauma). Working with trauma requires mastery and nuance in your EFT skillset that only comes with supervision, practice and additional trauma training which is provided during certification.
EFT Practitioner Certification is a separate level of training that follows Level 1-2. It is an optional course. Level 1-2 is a pre-requisite for anyone who wants to move onto certification. If you plan to use EFT as your main modality, or want to be able to call yourself an EFT Practitioner, then you should get certified for your safety and that of your clients.
During Certification, you'll complete 50 practice sessions, 4 case studies, receive ongoing personalized mentoring, and be able to attend further training in an online group class. All of these elements will support you to work the kinks out of your EFT practice, learn how to handle challenging cases, respond appropriately to clients with trauma, and be able to deliver the right techniques at the right time during your sessions.
Like riding a bike, this is not something you can learn by watching or reading about - it takes practice, including falling off the bike!
Following successful completion of the Certification Program, you'll be eligible for accreditation by EFT International, and be able to list yourself on their directory as a Certified EFT Practitioner. You'll be able to safely use EFT with your clients and groups of people on a nearly endless variety of issues (within your scope of practice).
Please note that some trainers, myself included, prefer to only accept students into their certification program who have taken a Level 1-2 training with them. In other words, having the same trainer for both Level 1-2 and certification. This is due to the variety of styles in EFT delivery, that some trainers choose to emphasize or omit certain concepts depending on their approach. Because my certification program is a group program, it would not be possible to move at a collective pace with students coming from external Level 1-2 trainings.