Program Summary

Credits Required


Tuition per Credit


Build a Rewarding Career with an Online Certificate in Children, Youth, and Family Services

This certificate program is designed to prepare you for a variety of roles in child and youth service settings and family health and welfare agencies. If you want to begin a career in human services, this online certificate can give you the opportunity to learn about psychosocial and family development at all stages of the life cycle — and you won’t have to set foot on campus.

Why an Online Certificate in Children, Youth, and Family Services

Diversify your résumé — This program is designed as a flexible, convenient opportunity for self-enhancement or as an introduction to higher education. If you aspire to enter the human service field but don’t know where to begin, or if you already have a degree and need professional development, the online Undergraduate Certificate in Children, Youth, and Family Services could be the program for you.

Immediate results — Through the certificate course work, you can build a solid knowledge base in human and family development and a cache of professional skills, such as learning to communicate more effectively, that you can apply immediately in your job.

Comprehensive course work — The course work will explore the social, behavioral, and biological aspects of infant, child, and adolescent development and review historical and current perspectives and intervention approaches. The program was designed and is coordinated by the Penn State Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Development at University Park.

As a student in the program, you will have the opportunity to take courses in psychology, sociology, biology, nutrition, and communication. You can apply the 30 credits you earn in the certificate program toward Penn State's Associate in Science in Human Development and Family Services (Children, Youth, and Family Services option). The credits may also be applied toward the Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies. This "step-up" approach to learning can help you reach your ultimate academic goal by achieving important milestones, if you choose, along the way.

Who Should Apply?

If you plan to begin a career in a human services-related profession, Penn State's online certificate in children, youth, and family services can be an excellent first step. This program is designed for those who want to work with various age groups in centers, institutions, and agencies.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

This program is designed to prepare students for service roles in:

  • preschools or day care centers
  • social work
  • home care settings
  • hospitals
  • programs for emotionally disturbed, abused, or neglected children and adolescents