There is no doubt that today’s families are struggling. A number of contributing factors are simply making it more difficult for families to enjoy quality time together in a safe and stress-free environment.
From the ongoing sluggishness of the economy, which has caused many parents to take on a second or even a third job to support the family, to the increasing dependence on technology that can mean families live “separately but together,” the drive for family cohesiveness is strong but the tools to achieve it are often absent.
The good news is that family-life educators are working hard nationwide to keep America’s families together.
What a Family-Life Educator Is
For students who want to get more information about pursuing a masters degree in human services, one career direction this degree can take you in is to become a family-life educator. Family-life educators are needed in many sectors to perform critical roles that help families learn how to stay together and support each other. As a part of your advanced degree, you will learn these and other valuable skills to use throughout your career.
Much of your work as a family-life educator will revolve around family coaching. This may involve individual and couples counseling as well as parent-child and intergenerational family counseling.
The focus here will be to help each family member improve their communication skills and learn better skills for family communication.
Families that experience a great deal of conflict may simply lack the proper skills for resolution. Your work then will be to teach conflict-resolution skills that are age-appropriate and applicable in many situations.
Becoming Certified as a Family-Life Educator
If you have not yet chosen your degree plan yet, you want to be sure the program you choose meets all of the requirements to qualify you for becoming a certified family-life educator (CFLE) after graduation. Certification is provided through the National Family Relations Council. There are two levels of certification.
Provisional certification is for applicants who can demonstrate knowledge mastery of 10 different family-life content areas, but have not yet earned enough work hours to qualify for full certification.
Full certification is offered to those candidates who have fulfilled the required work hours for their level of education and practice area.
Where Family-Life Educators Work
As a family-life educator, you will have a wealth of career options to choose from in areas such as business, education, nonprofit, health care or even government.The following are some of the most common places where family-life educators are employed.
- Community and social services agencies
- Health care organizations and clinics
- Schools and colleges
- Businesses (including human resources and training)
- Government and public policy offices
- Faith-based organizations
- Research foundations
- Nonprofit organizations
- Publishing agencies (especially for curricula development)
Career Tracks for Family-Life Educators
There are three main career tracks you can choose to follow as a family-life educator. Each career track furthers the overall objective of providing better training and support for today’s families.
The practice track is perhaps the most “hands-on” career track because you will spend your days teaching families, educating aspiring educators and support staff, writing or editing curricula, developing new programs and researching to fuel your efforts.
If you choose the administration track, your days will be spent in leadership and/or management of other family-life educators or support staff (or both), coordinating and organizing efforts among groups, overseeing program and policy implementation and managing the behind-the-scenes of your organization’s family-life program.
The promotion career track focuses on lobbying, policy introduction or reform, building awareness (especially among high-risk populations) and advocating for change.
As a family-life educator, look forward to a lifetime of career satisfaction by working to keep America’s families strong, healthy and together.
About the Author: Cherry Lauder holds a masters in human services. She works as a family coach and educator.
Photo Credit By: d-w-s.co.uk