University students grasp human behavior within the context of a family

College of Education offers nationally recognized Certified Family Life Educator credential to undergraduate students making them more marketable job candidates

Angela McEvers, certified family life educator and certified child life specialist at Renown Children’s Hospital, teaches Family Life Education as part of the certified family life education course at the University of Nevada, Reno.

4/9/2014 | By: Nicole Shearer  |

Families are the foundation of society. A profound theory, one in which the University of Nevada, Reno's Human Development and Family Studies program is focused around. Offered through the College of Education, this program is providing students with the opportunity to dive into this concept even more through a Certified Family Life Educator credential.

Recognized by the National Council on Family Relations, the premier professional association for multidisciplinary understanding of families, the credential provides students with demonstrated skills to do educational work, preventive work and work collaborating with community organizations all relative to family life. According to NCFR, families protect, connect and educate other family members. There may be no arena of life in which education may be as valuable as in family life.

Due to this intense belief in family influence, a cornerstone to receiving the CFLE credential is the Family Life Education course at the University taught by CFLE and Certified Child Life Specialist Angela McEvers. In the course, students apply theories they have learned as an HDFS student to a topic he/she is passionate about.

"Our society needs people who have a background in family life education and who really understand how families work," McEvers said. "Whether you're going to be shaping policies that will impact families or you're going to be educating families in challenging circumstances, this added credential takes what students learn in theory and requires them to apply it to an area they truly care about."

In the Family Life Education course, students are taught how to develop and present workshops and proposals, a key area of importance for those working in the human services sector. The class then evaluates each workshop and offers feedback students can then build upon.

"This project pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to facilitate a workshop, which is something I never would have sought out to learn on my own," University senior HDFS student, Shannon Kozel, said.

"My CFLE credential is so important," McEvers, who works as a child life specialist at Renown Children's Hospital, said. "The developmental background and the family dynamics that I learned and continually do help the family as a whole cope during stressful medical times. Family-centered care is my mission and I enjoy sharing it with students."

The CFLE credential has been offered since 2003 at the University and continues to build momentum.

"This credential has gained significant recognition in many parts of the country," Bridget Walsh, assistant professor and CLFE in the HDFS program, said. "Members of our community also see the benefit to this additional training and community partners are starting to look for this credential in applicant's resumes. It is an added benefit for students to graduate with their CFLE in addition to their bachelor's degree."

Students interested in the additional CFLE credential should speak with their faculty advisor or learn more on the HDFS website.

"Most of the core coursework in HDFS overlaps with the classes needed to gain the CFLE," Kozel said. "So basically, if you're a HDFS major and are not planning on becoming a CFLE, you're missing out on a great opportunity. Having that little extra 'umph' on your resume when you're out interviewing for jobs may be the thing that sells a potential employer. Being a CFLE (to me at least) basically tells a potential employer that you have a well-rounded knowledge about families and individuals, you want to work with families in a therapeutic manner, and want to help them by sharing that knowledge." 


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