Should I Become a Parenting Coach?
Parenting coaches, also known as parent educators, are trained to help parents understand and address common parenting issues, such as discipline and communication with teachers. Parenting coaches can also provide guidance during adoption, divorce or family trauma. Their common duties include listening to parents, asking questions and providing advice and strategies. Parent coaches may work flexible daytime and evening hours to meet the needs of parents' schedules. They typically work with clients for a period of a few months.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Fields||Education, psychology and social work are common majors|
|Licensure and Certification||Certification is available, but not required|
|Experience||1-2 years of experience working with children and families is required|
|Key Skills||Excellent communication skills, ability to manage time, interpersonal skills|
|Salary (2015)||$44,194 per year (Average annual wage)|
Sources: Parent Coaching Institute, Job Postings (August 2015), PayScale.com.
Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
Individuals interested in becoming parenting coaches should earn a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Examples of relevant majors include early childhood education, psychology, educational theory, counseling and social work. Though the curriculum will vary according to specialty, these programs last approximately four years, include general education studies and may require clinical practice.
- Participate in clinical practice or internship. Students should take advantage of any clinical experiences or fieldwork opportunities offered to gain hands-on experience under the guidance of an instructor.
- Enroll in communication classes. Prospective parenting coaches may benefit from taking communication or speech courses as this position requires the parenting coach to effectively communicate with parents.
Step 2: Complete a Parenting Coach Certificate Program
Certificate programs in parent coaching are available in conjunction with various college and university programs. Students might be able to complete some or all courses online, however, most programs involve supervised training in parent and family coaching. These programs are available to students without previous experience in the field, as well as those who are already practicing in a mental health profession, such as marriage and family therapy, psychology, school counseling or social work, and those who have experience in parent coaching but would like to further specialize. Topics covered might include counseling ethics, communication methods and work with at-risk children.
Completion of a certificate program is not required to pursue a career as a parenting coach. However, it might be an asset for those looking for work in this field. In some cases, students who complete a parent coaching program will be qualified for certification, such as the PCI Certified Parent Coach designation granted by the Parent Coaching Institute.
- Complete a practicum experience. Students seeking certification will need to gain hands-on experience by completing a practicum. It is vital that students fully participate and meet the required amount of hours.
Step 3: Gain Work Experience
Entry-level parenting coaches might work for a public agency or private organization that provides workshops for parents or training that is tailored to a specific population, such as new preschool teachers. Parenting coaches also might work with clients one-on-one, providing support in-person or over the phone. Social service agencies might provide courses for disadvantaged parents, such as those who are incarcerated. With experience, a parenting coach might start his or her own coaching business.