Child Advocacy Degree Programs
Bachelor's degree programs specifically in the emerging field of child advocacy can be found at several reputable colleges. Though the coursework and requirements for each institution may vary, prospective students can expect classes from multiple disciplines, such as those in law, social work, and psychology. Detailed information, including course facts, program requirements, and possible career options will be discussed below.
Admission Requirements for Child Advocacy Degree Programs
Gaining admission to a child advocacy program involves completing an application and sending the appropriate high school transcripts. In some cases, an extra-curricular resume, letters of recommendation and an admissions essay may also be required. Submission of standardized test scores may be optional.
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Child Advocacy Program Coursework
Child advocacy programs oftentimes contain unique coursework opportunities; however, there are many classes that are core to most programs. In addition to courses in research skills, students can expect their studies to include offerings in child advocacy, multiculturalism, child development, and law.
Introduction to Child Advocacy
Students will be introduced to the field of child advocacy in this course. They will learn what child advocacy means in an ethical, legal, and professional sense through studying the history and evolution of child advocacy, along with the current best practices. Students will also study the strategies used by local governments and how their court systems address the issues in their specific regions.
Physiological Understanding of Children
In this course, students will learn about the different biological issues of children. They will learn about the normal stages of development of an adolescent, both mentally and physically. There will be a focus on how a child can deviate from these normal stages - developing behavioral issues, for example - and the best practices to use from a child advocate standpoint.
Culture is important to understand regarding child-rearing, and this course will expose students to different forms of culture. In this class, students will develop a crucial understanding that child advocates need to help them navigate the different societies they will encounter as they learn about bias, what is acceptable, and what is universally considered child maltreatment.
Child Advocacy and the Law
In this course, students will examine how children fare within the justice system including, but not limited to, domestic violence, delinquency, and substance abuse. They will consider how child custody laws differ from state to state. Students will learn the best legal practices to effectively aid children in different parts of the country and perhaps the world.
Research Related to Child Advocacy
Students will be introduced to research methods and learn how to appropriately interpret data and statistics. They should then be able to apply this empirical data effectively for child advocacy purposes.
How to Choose a Degree in Child Advocacy
There are some key factors to consider when deciding which child advocacy program to attend. For some, a handy online program may be the best route, especially if time is not a readily available resource. For others, a hands-on experience that focuses on real-life applicability through a practicum may be best. One may also look for a school that allows you to work with children from diverse backgrounds, because knowing how to handle a variety of cultural differences can enhance your job prospects once you graduate. If you are interested in pursuing a graduate program upon completion of the bachelor's degree, you may want to focus on schools with that offering.
Career Options with a Child Advocacy Degree
Typical graduates of a child advocacy degree go forward to become social workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career field for social workers is expected to grow 15% by 2026. Also, it was reported that the median annual salary for social workers was $46,890 in 2016. Other occupations that child advocacy program graduates may consider are below.