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Human Growth and Development Degree and Certificate Programs

Those interested in a career in social work, community health or public service may pursue a degree in human growth and development. A bachelor's degree is sufficient for entry-level positions and a master's degree or graduate certificate is necessary for positions as therapists or counselors.

Essential Information

Students in the field of human growth and development typically begin their studies by pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Health Education or a Bachelor of Science in Community Development. Following this, a master's degree can be attained, represented by a Master of Social Work, Master of Public Health or Master of Science in Counseling degree.

Graduate certificate programs in the field are more geared towards working professionals who are looking to enhance their knowledge and advance in their careers.


Bachelor's Degree in Human Development

Students in these programs can learn about the important factors specific to various life stages, from how infants learn to trust to how adults cope with personal integrity and despair. Programs allow students to focus on developmental periods in childhood or take a comprehensive view of aging by studying the human lifespan. These four year programs can prepare graduates for careers in health delivery, guidance, social services and education by focusing studies on subjects like anthropology, psychology and sociology. A student may encouraged to tailor the curriculum to a desired career path.

Applicants to these programs typically need to have completed high school or the equivalent. Some schools require students to have completed introductory coursework in biology, linguistics, statistics, anthropology or sociology prior to admission into the program. Courses in this field can include subjects that effect humans from the beginning to the end of their lives. Themes of study could include:

  • Adolescence
  • Family relations
  • Language development
  • Observational methods
  • Play theory

Graduate Certificate in Human Development

Certificate programs vary from post-bachelor's to post-master's certificates designed for professionals practicing in the field of human development. Specialized certificates are available for those interested in gerontology or youth development, though generalized certificate training programs are available for those interested in development over the human lifespan. Certificate programs generally take one or two semesters to complete. Applicants are required to have earned a bachelor's or a master's degree in a relevant field, depending on the certificate level being sought.


Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment as a childcare worker was anticipated to grow 5% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). These professionals earned an annual median wage of $20,320 as of May 2015.

The BLS expected an increase in employment of counselors by 19% for the 2014-2024 decade. Marriage and family therapists earned a median annual wage of $48,600, while educational guidance and vocational counselors took home $53,660 as a median annual salary in May 2015.

Continuing Education

Ph.D. programs are available for those interested in focusing their studies on human memory, brain development, family dynamics and social identity. These programs can prepare students for careers in academia, research and consultation.

Programs in human growth and development prepare students for work as counselors or therapists, be it with children, adults or couples. Degrees are offered at the bachelor's, master's level; graduate certificate programs are also available.


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