Child and Family Studies

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Area

Pre-School/Day Care

  • Childcare
  • Teaching
  • Parent-child education

  • Administration:
    • Curriculum development
    • Training
    • Management

Employers

  • Private, public, franchise and corporate day care centers
  • Pre-schools and Montessori programs
  • Religious organizations
  • Extended school programs

  • Recreation programs and camps
  • Health clubs
  • Family day care
  • Nanny firms
  • Independent families

  • Au pair services
  • Federal, state and local government:
    • Department of Health and Human Services
    • Head Start

Strategies

  • obtain experience working with children through volunteer, intern or part-time positions.
  • Serve as a babysitter or nanny part-time during the semester or full-time in the summers.
  • Demonstrate patience, creativity and the ability to work well with people of various backgrounds.
  • Develop strong communications skills to deal effectively with students, staff and parents.
  • Acquire appropriate certification, such as Child Development Associate (CDA) or Pre-K licensure for some pre-school settings. Certification varies by state.
  • Note that some private employers seek staff whose religious values match their organizations’ missions.

Area

Education 

  • Teaching:
    • Early childhood education
    • Early childhood special education
    • Home economics
    • Family and consumer sciences

  • Curriculum development
  • Research
  • Counseling
  • Administration
  • Parent-child education
  • Grant writing

  • Higher education administration:
    • Admissions, financial aid. advising, development, alumni affairs, international education and study abroad, student affairs (e.g., residence life, student activities, orientation, leadership, Greek life, multicultural affairs, recreational sports)

Employers

  • Public and private schools (K-12)
  • Public pre-school programs (Head Start)
  • Private pre-school programs

  • Camps
  • Adult education programs

  • Extension offices
  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

  • Acquire appropriate certification for public school (and some private school) teaching positions, which varies by state.
  • Develop excellent interpersonal, public speaking and writing skills.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.
  • Gain experience working with a target age group through mentoring, tutoring or volunteering with a school-based organization.
  • Serve as a peer mentor, resident assistant or student advisor to cultivate leadership and communication skills.
  • Join student chapters of national teaching organizations.
  • Obtain graduate degree for counseling, student affairs and administrative positions.
  • A master’s degree may be sufficient for teaching at community or two-year institutions.
  • Pursue a Ph.D. for college and university teaching and research opportunities.

Area

Social Services 

  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Advocacy
  • Program development

  • Community education
  • Volunteer coordination
  • Administration
  • Research

  • Evaluation
  • Fundraising
  • Public relations
  • Grant writing

Employers

  • Community centers
  • Youth services agencies/programs
  • Family services agencies/programs (financial, family planning, health and wellness, marriage, vocational, food/housing assistance, military family support)
  • Senior citizens programs
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living facilities

  • Rehabilitation organizations
  • Group homes
  • Half-way houses
  • Shelters and emergency housing
  • Mediation centers
  • Consulting firms
  • Consumer protection agencies
  • Adoption agencies

  • Federal, state and local government:
    • Department of Health and Human Services:
      • Administration on Aging
      • Administration for Children and Families
      • Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
      • Health Resources & Services Administration
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Justice:
      • Probation and parole offices
      • Correctional facilities

Strategies

  • Exhibit a desire to help others, along with communication and organizational skills.
  • Seek experience as a volunteer, intern or paid employee with social service or non-profit organizations.
  • Become familiar with government and community resources available for those in need.
  • Develop a wide range of skills such as presenting, grant writing and fundraising, as professionals in nonprofit organizations may fill multiple roles in their positions.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people from varying socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in social work, sociology or psychology.
  • Pursue additional coursework to specialize in an area or with a certain population such as addiction, gerontology, child welfare, etc.
  • Demonstrate the ability to make sound decisions and solve problems.
  • Develop solid technology skills as many positions utilize relevant software or systems.
  • Consider earning Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential through the National Council on Family Relations.
  • Become familiar with government hiring procedures.
  • Obtain a master’s degree and appropriate licensure in mental health counseling, social work or rehabilitation counseling to provide therapy.
  • Earn a graduate degree for greater access to administrative positions.

Area

Advocacy 

  • Domestic and international advocacy
  • Humanitarian services (e.g. human rights, family planning, world health, disaster relief)
  • Development:
    • Economic
    • Community
    • Housing

  • Policy development
  • Program administration
  • Fundraising/Development
  • Volunteer coordination
  • Grant writing

Employers

  • Community action agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Private voluntary organizations
  • Faith based organizations (FBO’s) and churches
  • International aid and relief organizations
  • NGO’s (Non-governmental organizations):
    • Action Aid, Oxfam, International Red Cross

  • Federal government agencies
    • International focus:
      • Peace Corps
      • USAID
      • Foreign Service (State Department)
    • Community assistance focus:
      • Housing and Urban Development
      • Department of Health and Human Services
  • State and local government agencies

Strategies

  • Demonstrate strong desire to help others.
  • Volunteer at social service agencies to gain experience and demonstrate interest.
  • Participate in campus “alternative break” trips or church-led mission trips to gain experience assisting groups in need.
  • Pursue leadership roles in campus and community advocacy organizations, and learn how to motivate individuals and groups.
  • Develop excellent research, writing, communication and organizational skills; fundraising experience may be helpful for some positions.
  • Complete an internship with a government organization in area of interest.
  • Research federal, state and local job application procedures.

Area

Healthcare 

  • Hospital based family support/Child life services (e.g., provide emotional support, educate children and families, identify resources, coordinate events)

  • Health, nutrition, safety education

  • Advocacy

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Specialized camps/schools
  • Hospice programs
  • Funeral homes
  • Social service organizations
  • Public health programs

  • Federal, state and local government:
    • Department of Health and Human Services:
      • Administration on Aging
      • Administration for Children and Families
      • Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
      • Health Resources & Services Administration

Strategies

  • Volunteer in a healthcare setting such as a hospital or specialized children’s camp.
  • Develop a high comfort level working in clinical environments with children and families under stress.
  • Acquire strong communication skills, and plan to work on interdisciplinary teams of doctors, nurses, counselors, etc. who provide care to children.
  • Obtain Child Life Specialist certification through the Child Life Council, and be willing to relocate for greater access to positions in children’s hospitals.
  • Prepare to work nights, weekends and holidays in some healthcare settings.
  • Earn a master’s degree in social work, counseling, nutrition, public health or related area for increased opportunities.

Area

Business 

  • Market research
  • Product testing
  • Product development

  • Administration
  • Management

  • Sales
  • Customer service

Employers

  • Manufacturing companies of children’s clothes, toys, furniture and food
  • Consumer protection agencies
  • Department and retail stores

  • Child-centered recreational businesses, e.g. gyms, bounce houses, dance studios
  • Camps

  • Social service organizations with business components, e.g. tax assistance, financial planning

Strategies

  • Demonstrate initiative, attention to detail, organization and problem-solving skills.
  • Learn to communicate effectively with a wide-range of people. Consider taking interpersonal communication and public speaking classes.
  • Earn a business minor or supplement program with courses such as accounting, management, finance, etc. to increase understanding of business theory.
  • Obtain sales/retail experience with companies catering to children’s needs.
  • Join business or retail student organizations and secure leadership positions.

Area

Communications 

  • Research
  • Curriculum/Resource development

  • Journalism
  • Writing

  • Editing
  • Public relations

Employers

  • Organizations geared toward children and families:
    • Book publishers
    • Radio and TV stations
    • Newspapers
    • Magazines
    • Internet sites

  • Organizations continued:
    • Social service organizations
    • Manufacturers
    • Consumer protection agencies
    • Professional associations

Strategies

  • Develop excellent grammar and writing skills.
  • Learn to think critically and research effectively.
  • Take elective courses in the communications field such as journalism, broadcasting, public relations and advertising, or earn a minor in one area of interest.
  • Obtain experience with a college newspaper, yearbook, alumni publication or with local radio or television stations.
  • Compile a portfolio of writing samples, ad campaigns and other relevant work, especially those that have been published.
  • Develop desktop publishing, webpage design and other computer skills. Online communication is increasing, while print is declining.
  • Pursue an active role, preferably leadership, in journalism organizations.
  • Prepare to work in deadline-oriented environments and to withstand criticism.

General Information

  • A Bachelor’s degree is sufficient for entry-level positions.
  • Advanced degrees are essential for clinical and therapeutic counseling positions.
  • The Child and Family Studies major serves as preparation for students pursuing advanced training in other areas such as healthcare, i.e. pediatric nursing, family medicine; law, i.e. family law, elder law, child advocacy; and ministry, i.e. youth ministry, pastoral counseling. Research admissions requirements and take pre-requisite courses for programs of interest.
  • A Master’s degree or Ph.D. is often needed for administrative and supervisory positions.
  • A Ph.D. is required for most college teaching and advanced research positions.
  • Additional or specialized training qualifies one for higher paying opportunities and positions of greater responsibility.
  • Obtain part-time, summer, internship or volunteer experience in child care, schools, hospitals, camps, or overseas programs or in advocacy or service-oriented programs addressing alcoholism, drug abuse, family violence, aging, poverty, disabilities, etc.
  • Get involved in student organizations and seek leadership positions on campus.
  • Research certification options for specialized areas including Child Life Specialist or Family Life Educator.
  • Obtain certification in CPR, safety and first aid for infants, children and adults. Some positions will require this.
  • Research certification options with the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.