LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Students in Penn State Fayette’s Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) program have an opportunity to obtain a new certification that could give them a competitive edge in the job market.
Penn State Fayette, along with four other Penn State campuses, has received approval from the National Council on Family Relations to offer the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) program.
According to the website, Family Life Education is the practice of “equipping and empowering family members to develop knowledge and skills that enhance well-being and strengthen interpersonal relationships through an educational, preventive, and strengths-based approach.”
Professionals certified in Family Life Education may work in a variety of roles and settings, where they work to address problems like substance abuse, domestic violence, unemployment, debt, and child abuse from a perspective that considers individual and families as part of larger systems.
“This national certification will demonstrate to employers a level of expertise and knowledge that goes beyond a social science degree."
— Maureen Ittig, assistant teaching professor of human development and family studies
Human development and family studies, offered as a two-year associate degree and a four-year bachelor’s degree at Fayette, is an interdisciplinary program that includes the study of psychology, biology, sociology, medicine, anthropology, history, social work and philosophy.
Coursework includes the study of human development from conception to death; theories and research on development, ethics and social policy; family development and relationships; social problems and issues; and physical and mental health. Students benefit from hands-on experiences through internships, fieldwork, classwork and volunteering.
“This national certification will demonstrate to employers a level of expertise and knowledge that goes beyond a social science degree,” said Maureen Ittig, assistant teaching professor of human development and family studies. “It indicates that you’ve reached a level of competency in working with both families and communities. You can apply a family life perspective to a wide range of organizations and settings.”
Completion of the CFLE program is only available to those in the bachelor’s program. Ittig encourages all HDFS students to consider the certification, in part because it allows them access to unique coursework. Pursuing the new certification will not prolong students’ completion of bachelor’s degree requirements as long as they schedule courses that lead to the credential.
According to the National Council on Family Relations, the CFLE credential is recognized in the U.S. and Canada for family life education professions. It encourages applications from professionals who have preparation and experience in teaching; research/scholarship; community education; public information and education; curriculum and resource development; health care; military family support; and ministry.
For more information about the Certified Family Life Educator program, go to www.ncfr.org/cfle-certification.