Online Bachelor’s in Child & Adolescent Development

The developmental transformations that occur from a child's first year and beyond are complex and compelling. Between infanthood and adolescence, children grow by leaps and bounds physically, cognitively, and emotionally. The customarily awkward transition from childhood into adolescence raises innumerable physical and emotional changes and challenges that impact the child's social and educational experience.

Those who study child and adolescent development research the stages through which a child progresses into adolescence and the issues that arise, both for the child or adolescent as well as their families. Students who work toward an online child development degree can expect to gain knowledge in child and adolescent development in its broadest contexts, and acquire the skills needed to work with diverse populations in schools and other community contexts.

Why a Bachelor's Degree?

The bachelor’s in child and adolescent development may have piqued the interests of students recently graduated from online child development associate’s degrees, or after taking online child development courses. Others know they want to work with work with children and their families as infant-toddler pre-school teachers, or youth-related social services. Still others plan to advance into a graduate program in developmental psychology or related fields.

It doesn’t take a master’s or doctorate degree to be qualified to work with children or adolescents, though. Recent graduates can find entry-level work as childcare workers, youth workers and specialists. The career outlook for this field is 5%, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). As graduates gain experience they may look into occupations such as special education teaching, a career that requires a state-issued certification or license in addition to the bachelor’s degree. The median annual salary for a special education teacher was $55,980 in May 2014.

Inside a Child & Adolescent Development Bachelor's Degree Program

Like other undergraduate degrees, bachelor’s in child and adolescent development programs typically take 4 years to complete. Online programs offer several advantages for students who work part or full time, have families, or would simply like to finish the degree at their own pace. Otherwise, online and offline programs in this field do not differ greatly from one another. Accreditation and quality education are important across the board.

In many departments, core requirements vary according to students’ concentration: early childhood, school age children, youth work, or policy, to name a few. Introduction to applied child and adolescent development is a common core requirement, whereas classes like working with families of young children with disabilities, or adolescents and the media correlate to child and adolescent development specializations.

What's Next for Child & Adolescent Development Bachelor's Degree Holders?

Career options for graduates of child and adolescent development programs include, but are not limited to, day care providers, teacher’s aides, teachers in private or preschool settings, and so forth. Employment opportunities increase when graduates aim for careers like public or private elementary, junior or high school teachers, social work, and counseling. For instance, according to the BLS, 2014 median wages for pre-school teachers was $28,120 annually.

Motivated students who earn a child development degree online and wish to achieve further expertise may look into master’s and doctorate programs in child and adolescent development. Such efforts may be motivated by a desire pursue professions in child, educational, or developmental psychology. Certificates and licenses to teach may also be necessary. Check with the State Board of Education for details.