Online Master’s Programs In Child Development And Family Studies

Entering a master’s program for child development and family studies online can provide students flexibility, and other benefits, too.

Updated September 20, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s Programs In Child Development And Family Studies

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What You'll Learn and Career Potential

Students who pursue a master's in child development and family studies online prepare for exciting and lucrative careers as therapists, counselors, social workers, researchers, and educators. In these specialized programs, students develop the necessary skills to provide diverse, valuable services to strengthen families and support children during important years of their development.

Affordable Colleges Online provides easy access to a plethora of useful resources that benefit individuals who currently work in child development and family studies, as well as prospective students. In the guide below, we offer insight into the steps you must take to complete a master's in child development and family studies degree online. Furthermore, we consider potential ways for students to pay for their degree, common career paths for master's degree-holders, and how much students can expect to earn upon graduation.


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What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Child Development and Family Studies Program?

By earning a master's in child development and family studies online, students develop the interpersonal, organizational, problem-solving, emotional, and communication skills necessary to work with children, parents, and families. Pupils in these graduate programs can move on to careers as parent educators, child development specialists, behavior specialists, and a variety of specialized positions as educators.

Graduate programs allow degree-seekers to focus on a specialized area in their field. Upon program completion, master's degree-holders can obtain research-focused and hands-on careers, many of which center on specialized training. Alternatively, some master's learners in these programs develop advanced advising and counseling skills to work with parents and students in school settings.

Online child development and family studies students receive the same type of training and complete similar coursework as on-campus students. Whether online or in-person, master's students in this field typically complete an internship, practicum, or other hands-on experience to meet graduation requirements.

What Courses Are Offered in a Master's in Child Development and Family Studies Program?

Required and available elective courses vary between child development and family studies master's programs. All curricula, however, cover similar foundational classes for master's students in this field. In the section below, we offer five course titles and descriptions to give prospective master's students a general idea of the coursework they may encounter when pursuing this degree.

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

Learners in master's in child development and family studies online programs typically complete a traditional thesis or capstone project for graduation. Depending on the program, some schools require graduate pupils to complete a practicum or intensive internship. Alternatively, some schools require graduate learners to pass a comprehensive exam to graduate.

Child development and family studies master's programs can also prepare students to sit for the Child Life Professional Certification Examination after graduation. This is not a required exam, nor is there one particular exam that professionals must pass to work in the field.

How Much Can I Make With a Career in Child Development and Family Studies?

Master's of child development and family studies programs prepare students for a variety of careers in education, counseling, and social services. The below table provides job descriptions and median annual salaries for popular careers for degree-holders. A master's degree does not necessarily guarantee a particular salary, as compensation varies between positions.




Social and Community Service Managers

Median Salary: $65,320
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 13%

These professionals develop, coordinate, and supervise social service programs in their communities. They often work for nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, and government agencies. These managers must possess strong interpersonal and organizational skills to work with community members and oversee the administrative duties of various community projects. These professionals may also need to apply for grants and other sources of funding for social and community projects.




Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Median Salary: $47,940
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 7%

Directors in these roles typically supervise staff members, design student curricula and program plans, oversee daily school activities, and manage school or childcare center budgets. These professionals may also create school or center policies and serve as liaisons between parents and staff members. Directors need excellent communication and organizational skills.




Early Childhood Educators and Preschool Teachers

Median Salary: $29,780
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 7%

Teachers in these roles educate and care for young students in preschool or kindergarten. They work in a variety of educational settings, including public and private schools and childcare facilities. Depending on a teacher's graduate training and desired employment location, master's degree-holders may need to obtain a state-certified teaching credential.




Online Master's in Child Development and Family Studies Program Accreditation

Students interested in a master's in child development and family studies should seek out schools with regional accreditation. Many state licensing boards, including for counseling and education, require candidates to have a degree from a regionally accredited school.

Programmatic accreditation applies to particular departments or degrees in a given school. Not all programs have programmatic accreditation, and it may not be mandatory for state licensing (depending on desired career and state of residence). Programmatic accreditation in this field may come from associations such as the American Psychological Association, American Association of Family and Consumer Services, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and the National Council on Family Relations.

How to Pay for a Master's in Child Development and Family Studies Degree

Students in child development and family studies master's programs can seek funding for their education both inside and outside their department. Some colleges and universities offer internal funding opportunities or stipends. Alternatively, graduate students can secure funding for their degree from outside sources in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships.


Scholarships for Master's in Child Development and Family Studies Students
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Jeanne Gilley Graduate Scholarship

$600 Established in 1994, this scholarship assists full-time or part-time graduate students majoring in early childhood education, child development, or a related field. Competitive applicants possess a 3.5 or higher GPA.

Alice Teddlie Scholarship

$600 This graduate student scholarship benefits learners majoring in child development or early childhood education. Competitive applicants must be members of the Southern Early Childhood Association, or a similar student affiliation, and possess a 3.25 or higher GPA.

National Association of Junior Auxiliaries Scholarship

Varies Graduate-level students studying counseling, childhood development, special education, speech pathology, or related fields who work directly with children can apply for this award. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, or Tennessee.

Mister Rogers Memorial Scholarship

$5,000 Offered through the Television Academy Foundation, this award supports graduate and undergraduate students interested in child development, children's media, and related areas. Recipients typically use this award money to fund research projects focused on childhood learning or children's media.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation General Scholarship

Amount:Varies Undergraduate and graduate students may apply for this merit-based, one-year award. Applicants should be full-time learners with a history of volunteer work and civic leadership. Competitive applicants possess a 3.0 or higher GPA.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Students and professionals benefit from membership in academic and professional organizations. In many cases, these associations provide their members access to exclusive online resources, networking opportunities, and occasions to share research and publications. Members can take advantage of features such as online chat boards, mentorship programs, continuing education opportunities, and annual conferences.

Established in 1920, CWLA is a coalition of public and private agencies that serve children and vulnerable families. The organization creates programmatic standards of excellence and plays a role in shaping childcare and early education across the country. The organization offers conferences and training workshops for interested professionals who wish to improve their existing skill set to better serve children, families, and communities. This research-focused organization strives to improve early childhood education practices and policies that ultimately benefit families, children, and their communities. HighScope's website features a free membership area that includes information on the best teaching practices and activities based on research from childhood development experts. Members also receive full-text access to archived articles and issues from HighScope's Journal for Early Educators. Established in 1982, NAFCC is a national professional association that endeavors to improve early childhood learning experiences and family childcare programs. Registered members receive access to online webinars, professional development opportunities, monthly newsletters, and interactive online course materials. NBCDI is a national organization dedicated to the well-being and success of black children and their families. Members receive numerous opportunities to make a positive impact on children's lives. NBCDI provides access to professional development resources, exclusive online articles, and leadership development opportunities. SRCD is a research-focused society that works to advance developmental science and research on childhood learning processes. Members gain access to professional advancement opportunities, awards, mentorship programs, and fellowships. Additionally, the society keeps its members up-to-date in the field with a peer-reviewed academic journal, biennial meetings, and online forums.

Online Master's in Child Development and Family Studies Programs 2022

#1

Touro University Worldwide

School Information
Location Los Alamitos, California
Graduation Rate 100%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Touro University Worldwide leads in online learning. The accredited marriage and family therapy program offers a rigorous curriculum taught by experts. Prospective students can use entrance scores to bolster their application. Like on-campus students, online learners work with advisors, I professionals, and other support staff. Distance learners communicate with faculty and peers in a virtual learning environment.

Students may be able to lower the cost of tuition through loans or scholarships. In addition to this online program, Touro University Worldwide offers seven other master's degrees.

Touro University Worldwide at a Glance:

Total Number of Online Learners: 1,903

Number of Online Master’s Programs: 8

Graduate School Tuition: $9,000 in-state and out-of-state

The school has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

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#2

Abilene Christian University

School Information
Location Abilene, Texas
Admission Rate 61%
Graduation Rate 61%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A top-ranked school located in Texas, Abilene Christian University offers master's programs on its campus and online. At the private institution, learners can earn their online master of marriage and family therapy. Working professionals often maintain employment while enrolled in the flexible program.

Faculty advisors provide graduate students with professional advice and insights into the field. While pursuing the master's degree, enrollees complete a rigorous curriculum that fosters field-specific knowledge and transferable skills. In addition to covering foundational knowledge, the curriculum emphasizes career-specific analytical and leadership skills.

Online learners at the school pay affordable tuition rates, making graduate studies more accessible. Financial aid counselors help degree-seekers explore funding options. Online learners at the school can apply for institutional funding to further reduce the financial burden of earning a master's degree.

Abilene Christian University Numbers:

Online Master's Programs: 29

Total Online Programs: 19

Number of Online Students: 1,933

Graduate Tuition In-State: $22,356

Graduate Tuition Out-of-State: $22,356

Transfer Credits Counted: No

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#3

Palo Alto University

School Information
Location Palo Alto, California
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Situated in California, Palo Alto University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in virtual and in-person formats. The school delivers graduate programs for online and on-campus learners. The institution offers an online MA in counseling that is ideal for busy students interested in advancing their skills.

Rigorous coursework, faculty mentorship, and career advising help enrollees prepare for counseling careers. The online program's scheduling flexibility is ideal for learners balancing academics with personal and professional obligations. Master's degree-seekers pursuing their degree full time typically graduate in 1-2 years.

Students at the accredited institution can receive federal financial aid. According to the school, 56% of its enrollees use loans to pay for their education.

Palo Alto University at a Glance:

Total Programs: 6

Number of Online Programs: 4

Online Master's Programs: 3

Number of Online Students: 349

Religious Affiliation: Non-affiliated

Transfer Credits Permitted: No

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#4

University of West Alabama

School Information
Location Livingston, Alabama
Admission Rate 35%
Graduation Rate 35%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers can pursue the University of West Alabama's programs online or in person. The school delivers 14 master's programs online.

Degree-seekers interested in counseling can enroll in the online MS in family counseling from the institution. Learners currently employed in the field can pursue promotions or raises after earning their master's degree. Master's students can access support services such as faculty mentorship and career counseling.

Online enrollees at the school pay affordable tuition rates. Students at the accredited institution can qualify for federal grants and loans. Learners pursuing a master's degree can research additional financial aid options, including private scholarships and fellowships.

University of West Alabama at a Glance:

Average Per-Credit Fee: $410

Students Receiving Aid: 97%

Students Receiving Loans: 60%

Total Master's Programs: 15

Total Online Master's Programs: 15

Accepts Transfer Credits: No

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#5

Amridge University

School Information
Location Montgomery, Alabama
Graduation Rate 33%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Amridge University, a private institution located in Montgomery, Alabama, offers online undergraduate and graduate programs. Along with in-person programs, the school delivers online master's programs.

The online MA in marriage and family therapy is one of the best online degrees in the field. After earning the master's degree in family therapy, graduates can launch a new career in the field. Students in the school's master's programs can access faculty mentorship, career counseling, and experiential learning programs.

Online enrollees at the school pay affordable tuition rates and can apply for institutional funding to further reduce the financial burden of earning a master's degree. Students at the accredited institution can qualify for federal financial aid programs. Learners also pay for their degree through scholarships, institutional aid, and other forms of financial aid.

Amridge University at a Glance:

Students Receiving Aid: 100%

Students Receiving Loans: 70%

Total Master's Programs: 8

Total Online Master's Programs: 8

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

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