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Those who have family life educator degrees have a wide range of career options. They can teach and do research or they can work in public policy jobs, trying to raise awareness. Family life educators can operate in the classroom, but they are just as likely to be conducting workshops in community and health care settings.
What is a Family Life Educator?
The goal of family life education is to create healthy lifestyles through prevention and intervention. The skills needed for healthy family life include strong communication, good decision-making and positive self-esteem. Family life educators weave these skills into dealing with common issues in society, such as economics, education, parenting and sexuality within a family structure. Family life educators contend that many of society's problems, such as substance abuse, domestic violence and child abuse can be addressed through better education.
Family life education is offered in middle and high schools throughout the United States. The courses, known as teen living or family life and consumer sciences, teach secondary students about nutrition, parenting, sexuality and money management. Teachers also can provide family enrichment programs and community workshops. In addition to secondary education, some family life educators are needed in early childhood education, such as day care and Head Start.
Family life educators also can find careers working in business settings, rather than the classroom. For instance, they can participate in employee assistance programs. Other public policy settings include consumer agencies and family counseling. Some community-based social services use family life educators as well, especially in youth development and teen pregnancy programs, foster and adult day care, vocational rehabilitation and job training. Family life educators can find careers in family intervention, therapy and public health programs.
Career opportunities also exist for family life educators in the research field. For instance, family life educators can find placement in international education and development. Organizations such as the Peace Corps and nongovernmental organizations need workers to not only educate their clients, but to find ways to serve them better. Family life educators also can work on human rights, aid with migrant family services, write grant proposals, research family science, look at demographics and help nonprofits with their research, as well. Family life educators drawn to research can develop new educational curriculums or become journalists.
A bachelor's degree is required to be become a Certified Family Life Educator. Many certified family life educators have advanced degrees. In addition, demonstrated knowledge is required in 10 family life areas: families and individuals in society contexts; internal dynamics of families; human growth and development across the lifespan; human sexuality; interpersonal relationships; family resource management; parent education and guidance; family law and public policy; professional ethics and practice; and family life education methodology.
The income of family life educators varies depending on which career track they take, such as teacher or social worker. According to the SimplyHired website, the average family life educator made $47,000 in 2014. However, the job website Indeed pegged the average salary at $63,000.
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Annette Jones has been a journalist for 30 years, both in radio news and in print. She has worked in Boston and Washington, D.C., and has a bachelor's degree in journalism and society from the University of Mary Washington.