Child and Family Development, M.A.

Master of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences: Child and Family Development

About the Degree

The focus of the master's degree in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences is on the individual, the family, and the relationship between families and the changing social, economic, and physical environments. This graduate program is based on scholarship, integrity, and the betterment of the human condition.

This program helps students learn through basic and applied research and hands-on creative activity. We teach students to use theories of child and family to understand real-world child development and family dynamics. Graduates are also able to apply multidisciplinary, empirical research to practice with children and families. Students develop a Masters project or a thesis that prepares them for a career in the community or a doctorate degree program.

Certificates within our School allow students to tailor their degree to specific career options:

  • Case Management with Child and Families
  • Home Based Intervention (the Affordable Care Act has made this career in high demand)
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Parent Education

Salary and Career Outlook

The career outlook is quite positive. Unlike some degrees that prepare student for one specific career, our degree prepares students for a wide range of careers. These careers are trending between 10 and 31% in job growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website

A master’s degree in Child & Family Development is either required or preferred for the following positions:

  • Instructors at the college-level
  • Extension Specialist/Educator
  • Family Life Educator
  • Program Evaluation Specialist
  • Childcare management position
  • Social Service management positions

In addition many of our students seek our Master’s degree to advance in their current careers in the field. This is particularly true for careers in:

  • Family and Consumer Science Teachers in Middle and High Schools
  • Social Services- management positions
  • Child Care- directors

Because there is a large range of careers possible for our students, the salaries also vary. Here are a few examples:

  • Social and Community Service Managers- $59, 970
  • Childcare center directors/owners- $43,950
  • OSU Extension Specialist- $46,462

Why Akron?

Our program is more child-focused than other human development programs. We also offer more certificates that allow student to tailor their degree to specific careers in the field. Our faculty members are deeply rooted in the community. We serve on community boards and in leadership roles in professional associations. This provides service learning experiences as well as thesis or project opportunities, mentors, and job opportunities after graduation. Finally, if we develop a completely online master’s option, we believe it would be the only fully online Child & Family Master’s program in Ohio.

Of the 40 graduate alumni we surveyed 100% were placed in careers in which this degree was “required or helpful.” We also plan to put more of our graduate coursework online to make it accessible to students currently working in the field. We are working to develop a fully online option for those students in the field seeking to advance their careers or those who would like to start working after graduation but would like to continue to seek their masters. Based on feedback from current students, recent graduates, and those working in the community, there is a high demand for this option.

Our graduated students are now working jobs such as:

  • Lake County Board of Development Disabilities–Program Manager
  • Here For You Child Development Centers–CEO
  • Recovery Resources–Prevention Specialist
  • Summit County Juvenile Court–Volunteer Coordinator
  • Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board—Referral and Support Specialist
  • KinderCare Education—Center Director
  • The Center for Balanced Living—Psychologist
  • SunnyDay Family Services, Ltd.—CEO
  • The Ohio State University –Director, Campus Child Care Centers
  • The University of Akron—Professor of Practice
  • The University of Akron—Associate Professor
  • Butler County Community College—Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University—Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Contact Information:

Shannon R. Zentall, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Program Director