The following is a list of commonly asked questions for current and prospective students of Human Development and Family Science.
What can I do with this major when I graduate?
The Human Development and Family Science Program prepares students for a variety of positions: teaching in preschool classrooms; working in early intervention programs with children and families from birth through age three; employment as a case worker for human service and social service agencies; working with parents to increase parenting skills; employment as a counselor in adolescent programs; working with teen parents; and positions as a therapeutic support staff with a child who has special needs, to name a few.
I want to teach young children. Will I be able to do that with this major?
Yes, our graduates teach in a variety of childcare, early childhood programs, and Head Start programs. However, our program does not offer early childhood certification (which will soon be required for Pre-K Counts Programs). If a student completes coursework in Child Development and Family Relations, then wishes to become certified in early childhood education (in order to teach in a Pre-K Counts Program or to teach grades K-3 in a public school), she/he should pursue certification at the master's level. There are many graduate programs that offer a master's plus certification. The student needs to discuss this with her/his advisor.
I want to work with children, but I don't want to teach. What else can I do?
As mentioned above, there are many possibilities. Many of our graduates work for social service agencies and human service agencies, while others are employed in early childhood programs with intermediate units, YMCAs, and early-intervention programs.
Will I be able to work directly with children in this program?
Yes! One of the strengths of the Human Development and Family Science Program is the opportunity for direct experience with children. While studying the development of infants and toddlers, students will be working directly with this age group in our University Early Care and Education Center on campus. During the senior year, students will work as a teacher's assistant in the preschool classrooms of the University Early Care and Education Center. In addition, students will observe preschool children, using a variety of observation techniques in order to complete a case study. The HDFS Program also requires that students complete volunteer work with social service agencies, human services, and public and/or private schools interacting with elementary-aged children, parents, and senior citizens.
Are there internship opportunities in the Human Development and Family Science Program?
Yes, after students have completed 57 credits and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher, they may apply for an internship. Internships are usually completed during the summer sessions (but may be completed during Fall or Spring terms) and are taken for six to twelve credits. Students can discuss internship opportunities, requirements, and responsibilities with the internship coordinator, Dr. Fredalene B. Bowers.
I want to go to graduate school in the field of education, such as elementary guidance or school psychology. Will I be admitted into a Master of Education program without an undergraduate degree in education?
Yes, the Human Development and Family Science Program provides an excellent foundation for many graduate programs in the field of education. You will need to work closely with your advisor in order to take the courses that may be required such as additional math courses, educational psychology, etc.
Are there any student groups that I can join related to this major?
The Child and Family Studies Association (CFSA) is a very active service club for majors and other interested students. The club enables students to become involved in community service projects, fundraising for service organizations, and participate in field visits to childcare-related sites outside the local community.
Are there any certifications that I can obtain through this major?
Yes, students can complete coursework and the internship for a provisional Family Life Educator Certificate (CFLE). See your advisor regarding specific requirements.
I am interested in the field of child life specialist, but I need more information.
Several of our graduates are employed as child life specialists throughout the United States. Child life specialists are employed by children's hospitals and use play techniques to help children and families deal with hospitalization and the hospital experience. An internship, with a certified child life specialist, is required. Again, your advisor will provide direction in this area.
I am currently employed in a childcare center and need to obtain a Pennsylvania Director Core Certificate in order to advance to an administrative position. Can you help me?
Yes, our program has worked closely with the PA Keys to offer courses which can be applied to the Pennsylvania Director Core Certificate. Contact Dr. Fredalene B. Bowers for more information regarding this program.