Online Certificate Programs in Child & Adolescent Development

As children advance from infancy into young adulthood, their needs change drastically. None of the developmental transitions flow seamlessly for children or adolescents as growth is a difficult process that involves physical transformation, identity acquisition, and socialization. Trained specialists are able to identify these developments and adjust support according to the individual. Children and adolescent development does not follow textbook convention, but is deeply impacted by family and school contexts, as well as the health and learning abilities of the individual.

Students enrolled in vocational certificate programs in child and adolescent development acquire a thorough grasp on the fundamentals of the subject. They receive instruction on how to apply the skills they have learned to become teachers and care providers for children throughout their development into young adulthood.

General Certificate

Students may be attracted to the child and adolescent development certificate for several reasons. Individuals may be looking for the basic education needed to find work as childcare providers, infant/toddler teacher, jobs that do not require an advanced degree. Still others may be interested in pursuing a career in the field, but are unsure about, or are unable to apply to an undergraduate program.

In some cases, certificate programs are offered through universities as a means to offer students opportunities to further specialize their undergraduate or graduate education. But online child development certificate programs are more common. Because of the diverse reasons for applying and types of certificate programs, admissions requirements vary.

  • Completed application
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Transcripts from previous college or trade school
  • Appointment with admissions counselor

Most certificate programs in this field require about two years to complete. Schedules for online programs are often more flexible and can be obtained as is convenient for the student. Child and adolescent development certificate tracks are often actually associate degree programs. At this level, students may be required to complete a supervised teaching practicum where they gain hands-on experience. Many certificate programs are developed to train students for state issued teacher permits in childhood development. Course work, then, differs according to the necessary skills for obtaining licensure. Online child development courses cover a wide range of topics related to the growth processes of young men and women. Curriculum requirements may include nutrition, health and safety of young children, child guidance and discipline, and developmental psychology.

What's Next for Child & Adolescent Development Certificate Holders?

Career options for certificate holders are many and employment rates are increasing. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of child care workers is forecast to grow by 5% from 2014 to 2024. Further occupations include recreation leader, infant/toddler teacher, after-school program leaders, and school-age care providers. The median wage for preschool teachers in 2014 was $28,120 per year.

In addition to the vocational child and adolescent development certificate, many states require child care workers to earn the Child Development Associate (CDA) national certification. States having differing credential requirements, so it is best to check with your state.

Beyond the certificate, the next step is typically a bachelor’s degree in childhood and adolescent development. At the undergraduate level, students may take electives that will prepare them for work in child psychology, education, school psychology, or social work. Following the bachelor’s degree, students may look into advanced degrees like the master’s and doctorate in human or child and adolescent development. In actuality, when a student has reached the doctorate level, their certificate in child and adolescent development may or may not be applicable to their course of study.