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ASU offers new Family Life Educator credential

Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics joins more than 130 schools to offer nationally recognized Certificate in Family Life Education


A family sitting together smiling.

Photo courtesy Adobe Stock

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August 23, 2023

This fall, the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics is joining over 130 schools in offering a nationally recognized Certificate in Family Life Education (CFLE).

The National Council on Family Relations, the organization that grants the certification, approved the course pathway this summer — just in time for the start of August classes. 

Students who pursue this credential will learn about the science of healthy family functioning, which can complement careers like social work, teaching, research, nonprofit management and public policy. They will also become equipped to teach families, which are foundational to society, how to effectively communicate and strengthen relationships at all life stages. 

Those seeking to become certified Family Life Educators must demonstrate mastery of 10 family life content areas.

While most applicants typically do this by taking an exam, students at ASU are now approved to forgo this requirement by instead completing courses in content areas such as parent education, interpersonal relationships, communication, ethics and law, human development, and societal contexts. After completing the courses, students can apply for the certificate online within two years of graduation, as long as all required coursework has been completed within the past seven years.

A valuable opportunity for students in family science

Being designated as a CFLE-Approved program by the National Council on Family Relations represents a milestone in advancing Arizona State University’s family and human development programs. It also reflects the university’s charter of assuming fundamental responsibility for the health of the communities it serves, as students will be qualified to help families create stronger relationships.

“If you want to go out and help people and do meaningful things with the community, the Family Life Educator certification will set you apart,” says Assistant Teaching Professor Dan Erickson, who co-developed the program pathway with Clinical Associate Professor Stacie Foster, and has earned the certification himself. 

“It’s something nationally and internationally recognizable that you can lean on to show you’ve mastered these concepts and are prepared for a career in family life," Erickson said.

After completing the required coursework, ASU students become eligible for provisional certification, meaning that they are designated as a certified Family Life Educator, but still need to complete the required professional work hours for full certification. The National Council on Family Relations allows five years to complete these hours, so students will have time to earn the work experience for the full certification after graduating. 

“This is a really great opportunity for students who are already likely taking these courses for their family and human development degree,” Foster says. “If you’re interested in working with families and children in any way, this is a valuable certification to earn.” 

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