Graduate Certificate in Family and Parenting Services

Wheelock College and Boston University have reached an agreement to merge as of June 1, 2018 and we are no longer accepting new applications. As a prospective applicant to Wheelock College, we hope you will be interested in applying to Boston University.

If you're a current or aspiring professional working with parents and families, Wheelock College's innovative Graduate Certificate in Family and Parenting Services can supplement your experience, develop your skills and knowledge, and help you advance to leadership roles.

This 12-credit certificate program is designed for professionals who work in a variety of settings, including in schools, at home, and in the community.

Parenting professionals fill roles that are supportive, educational, and therapeutic. For example, you may consult with parents, facilitate school conferences, make home visits, lead parent groups, or foster parent-to-parent support and advocacy within the community. At Wheelock, students are challenged to question their own assumptions, investigate the varied aspects of parenting education and family support, and prepare to work with diverse families.

This program is suited for both experienced and entry-level professionals. If you already work in educational, health care, counseling, or human services sites (among others), Wheelock's certificate will help you to gain greater competence, comfort, and effectiveness when partnering with families. This program will complement your professional experience while providing you with specific knowledge and skills.

Career Opportunities

Credits earned in this program may be applied to several master's degree programs at Wheelock. Alumni of this program have taken leadership positions such as:

  • Director of a Planned Parenthood Family Life Education Project
  • Director of a Family Outreach Program at the YWCA
  • Coordinator, Haitian Family Support Services
  • Case Manager, Big Sister Association Branch Office

If you are beginning your career, you will gain hands-on experience and build a solid foundation based on best practices, research, and development theory. You will expand your readiness to work with children and families and have greater ease connecting with parents. Some students use this program as a compass to determine the direction of their graduate studies. Examples of direct-service positions you may pursue include:

  • Teen parenting workshop leader
  • Homeless families case manager
  • Childcare information and referral specialist
  • Afterschool outreach worker
  • Head Start trainer
  • Sepcial needs family advocate

Required Courses

The courses that constitute the 12-credit certificate are:

HDP 515: Adult Development
Study of the theories, research, and programs related to adult development and learning has immediate applicability to preparing to work more effectively with parents or other family members, such as grandparents.

CFS 614: Perspectives on Parenting
The diversity of family structures, values, child-rearing beliefs, practices and expectations require parenting educators to have a broad perspective. Developing listening and communication skills, tailored to the circumstances in which you partner with parents, is central. Developing a critical understanding of the parenting "advice" literature and workshop curricula increases one's toolkit as a consultant.

CFS 737: Working With Parents
Examines principles for organizing individual and group parenting education that builds on parental knowledge and responds to parental needs. Examines supportive, therapeutic, and educational models, materials, and resources. Develops communication skills and leadership capacities to work with parents in school, health care, family support and home settings. 

CFP 603: Practicum and Seminar
Exclusively designed for students completing this certificate. Upon completion of at least two of the four courses, students work with the program coordinator and Field Experience Office to plan for a 150-hour, supervised practicum in either the Fall or Spring semester. Practica require 12-15 hours/week of responsibilities mapped out in a learning contract. Occasionally, an on-the- job practicum can be arranged if the role of site supervisor can be appropriately designated. 

Real-world Experience

Practica sites located in the Greater Boston area and throughout New England include schools, social service and public health centers, family service networks, faith-based organizations, and advocacy programs.

Sample practicum sites include:

  • Cambridge LGBT Resource Center
  • Center for Families
  • Discovery Children's Museum
  • Families First
  • Family Home Childcare Network
  • Family Nurturing Center/Dorchester Cares
  • Federation for Children with Special Needs
  • Medford Family Network
  • Somerville Family Network

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