Family Studies Certification Programs with Course Overviews

In family studies programs, students learn how to administer therapeutic care and guidance to children and families in crisis through traditional coursework and research projects. Those interested in a formal family studies education can pursue a certificate or degree in the area.

Essential Information

Programs focus on human and child development, marriage and parenting, family communications and interventional methods. There are 3 basic professional certifications: the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) by the National Council on Family Relations, the Child Life Certification (CLC) from the Child Life Council and child protection designations. The CFLE is provisional until a graduate has had two years of working experience. CLC holders are trained to aid children and families who have or are experiencing difficult or traumatic events. Child protection credentials are only offered by some states. Certification applicants must have a bachelor's; child protection admission requirements vary by state. Colleges and vocational schools also have certificate programs that are 2 units to 6 or more courses long and cover mentor training, family therapy, life management and supervision techniques. Entry qualifiers differ by institution; some mandate a bachelor's degree, while others only have a minimum age limit. Bachelor's-level degrees are either conferred as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Family Studies. Lecture topics include counseling approaches, interventions and strategies, family life-span and environmental frameworks. Applicants must have a high school diploma and appropriate standardized test scores. Master's students learn about services development and implementation and gain research skills through completing a thesis project. Enrollment necessitates a bachelor's degree.

  • Program Levels: Certification, bachelor's and master's
  • Prerequisites: A bachelor's for a Certified Family Life Educator or Child Life Certification designation, a high school diploma and acceptable standardized exam scores for a bachelor's, and a bachelor's for a master's. Stipulations for a child protection certification or credentials from a vocational institution or college vary.
  • Program Length: 2 units to 6 or more courses for a college/vocational school certification
  • Other Requirements: 2 years of working experience for a Certified Family Life Educator designation, completion of a thesis for a master's

Certificates in Family Studies

Certification coursework is specific to the level and concentration focus of the designation. Some programs have more classes on the professional aspect of serving families; others are central on psychological needs and counseling approaches. Commonalties across the board are:

  • Child development
  • Cultural diversity
  • Communication skills
  • Family systems
  • Family communications

Bachelor's in Family Studies

Many bachelor's programs have curricula approved by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). Specialized subjects include:

  • Parent-child relationships
  • Child and adult development
  • Aging
  • Human sexuality
  • Social science research

Master's in Family Studies

Master's-level coursework contents depend on the goals of the program. Typical topics discussed are:

  • Human development
  • Family systems
  • Social services and policy
  • Community development and education
  • Research seminar

Popular Career Options

Graduates are eligible for a multitude of positions in various settings. Some individuals work as vocational counselors, case managers, recreation directors and community educators. Master's degree holders can seek employment as assistant professors, licensed therapists, and research associates. Doctoral graduates have access to full professorships and research leadership positions. Popular entry-level career roles include

  • Advocate
  • Community organizer
  • Family support worker
  • Parent mentor

Continuing Education Information

Individuals can continue their education in advanced degree programs for administration, counseling, case management, research or grant writing.

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