Certified Family Life Education

Students will learn how to use a strengths-based, preventative, and educational approach to address individual and family needs.

According to the National Council on Family Relations, “Family Life Education is the professional 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.” 


Through a specific set of courses, you will gain knowledge and skills in ten content areas specified by NCFR as critical to a family life perspective. This includes knowledge on:

  • How families work
  • The inter-relationship of the family and society
  • Human growth and development throughout the lifespan
  • Both the physiological and psychological aspects of human sexuality
  • The impact of money and time management on daily life
  • The importance and value of education for parenting
  • The effects of policy and legislation on families
  • Ethical considerations in professional conduct
  • How to teach and/or develop curriculum for what are often sensitive and personal issues

Required Coursework

Students who complete the following courses as part of the Human Development and Family Science major may apply to NCFR for CFLE certification following graduation:

Required Major Courses

  • HDFS 2100 or 2100E- Dating, Mating, Communicating: Relationships and Families (Formerly) Introduction to the Family
  • HDFS 2200 or 2200E or 2200H - Introduction to Lifespan Development
  • HDFS 3110 Professional Development and Community Activities
  • HDFS 3920 Issues in Family Systems
  • HDFS 4330 Diversity in Human Development
  • HDFS 4860 Parent Education and Child Guidance
  • Applied Internship
    • HDFS 5910 Applied Community Internship in Human Development and Family Science, OR
    • HDFS 5950 Applied Research Internship (this does require HDFS 5110 Research Methods)

HDFS Group A Electives

Area VI


Certified family life educators work in a variety areas such as:

  • Parenting education
  • Marriage enrichment
  • Adoption
  • Youth development
  • Sexuality education
  • Divorce mediation
  • Prevention programs
  • Senior centers
  • Care facilities
  • Immigration and migrant services
  • Youth and/or family ministry
  • Family financial counseling
  • Public policy

According to NCFR, here are just some of the settings in which family life education takes place:

Business, Consumer & Family Resources Services: Employee Assistance programs, Corporate Daycares, Consumer Protection Agencies, Family Financial Counseling & Planning Agencies, Food Assistance Programs, Research positions.

Community-Based Social Services: Youth Development Programs, Adoption Agencies, Foster Care Programs, Teen Pregnancy Services, Welfare Assistance, Vocational Rehabilitation & Job Training, Adult Day Care, Gerontology and Long-Term Care Programs.

Early Childhood Education: Day Care Centers, Head Start Programs, Montessori Schools, Child Development Organizations.

Education: Public School Teaching in Family & Consumer Sciences with state licensure, University Teaching, Family Science Research, Family Life Education, Sexuality Education, Parenting Education, Marriage & Family Enrichment Programs, Curriculum Development.

Faith-Based Organizations: Ministry, Family Life Education, Parenting Education, Youth Programs.

Family Intervention: Individual & Family Therapy Support Services, Crisis & Hotline Services, Divorce Mediation, Abuse Protection Services, Drug & Alcohol Prevention Programs, Residential Treatment Programs.

Government & Public Policy: Family Policy Analysis, Child Welfare Advocacy, Cooperative Extension Specialist, Military Family Support Services, Departments of Child & Family Services.

Health Care & Family Wellness: Public Health Programs & Services, Hospital Based Family Support, Nutrition Education, Prenatal and Maternity Services, Holistic Health Centers, Long-Term Care Settings, Hospice Programs.

International Education & Development: International Family Policy, Peace Corps and NGO Leadership, Global Family Planning Programs, International Human Rights Advocacy, Immigration & Migrant Families Services.

Research: Grant Proposal Writing, Academic and Government Research in Family Science, Population Studies & Demographic Research, Community-Based Research for Non-Profit Family Agencies, Program Evaluation & Assessment.

Writing & Communication: Curriculum & Resource Development in Family Life Education, Media and Technology Settings, Newspaper & Magazine Writing.

How to Apply

Following graduation, submit to NCFR an application form, along with an official transcript and an application fee, in order to obtain Provisional CFLE status. After two years of community-based experience as a CFLE, you may apply for Full CFLE status. Once achieving Provisional Status, you will be linked through email, listservs, and professional development experiences to an international group of family educators who are committed to enhancing the wellbeing of individuals and families across the lifespan. Some CFLE professionals continue with graduate education to further enhance their knowledge and skills and/or to obtain specialized training in clinical areas, such as marriage and family therapy.

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