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Child Development

Program Description

Just the Facts

Child Development. A program that focuses on the intellectual, social, emotional, and biological development of children and the planning and design of related human services. Includes instruction in parent-child relations, parenting practices, special needs of children, parental and environmental influences on child development, external support services, and related public policy issues.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Additional Information

What are the most effective ways to help a child learn? How can you boost a child's self-esteem? A degree in child studies will make you better able to answer questions like these.

A child studies program helps graduates understand children better. Students look at kids through the lenses of a number of different subjects, mainly sociology, psychology and cultural studies.

Training in this field can come under different program names, which may imply a slightly different focus. Look for programs that include the word "child" or "children," such as child life studies, family and child studies or child development.

A number of universities and colleges have bachelor's (three to four years) and graduate degree programs in child studies. Some may even have certificate or diploma programs.

Courses could include child psychology, sociology of the family, characteristics of children with special needs and family and childhood in contemporary cultures.

You may also take courses in early childhood education, research methods, social work, interviewing techniques, working with groups, health studies and ethics.

Most programs include a practicum. That's where you spend some time working with children and practicing what you've studied.

Jill Korbin is director of the childhood studies minor program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She says her program provides an opportunity for students interested in a wide array of issues concerning children.

It focuses on the life stages of infancy through adolescence. But it also includes issues of parenting, gender and the place of children in society and culture.

"Students wishing to undertake a childhood studies program could come from a variety of backgrounds," Korbin says. "If high school students have opportunities to work with young children, this would help them in their studies.

"However, this would not be necessary. Childhood studies should be appealing to all students who are interested in careers with children."

If you're interested in this field, take psychology and social studies while in high school.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
Find more information related to this field of study!

Child Development and Psychology
Get an overview of the different stages of child development

Understanding Child Development
Read the articles and blogs from a wide range of experts in this occupation


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