What's the Average Salary of a Parent Educator?

Explore the career requirements for a parent educator. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Adult Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Parent Educator?

A parent educator is a social worker, family therapist or mental health counselor who offers parents advice on positive parenting strategies. They listen to the challenges that the parent is facing, and they offer advice on how to foster a more positive home environment. For instance, they may suggest new ways to respond to tantrums and bad behavior. They may also direct parents toward community resources, like food assistance, medical care or tutoring, depending on the family's situation and the child's needs.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Mental health counseling; human social behavior; marriage and family counseling
Licensure Requirements vary by state and by agency
Key Responsibilities Plan instructional events; conduct home visits; advise parents on effective parenting techniques
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (for child, family and school social workers)
Median Salary (2017)** $32,459 (for family service workers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Will My Job Duties Be?

As a parent educator, your objective will be to help parents create a nurturing home environment for children by reducing the level of abuse and self-destructive behavior in families. You'll plan instructional events, conduct home visits, host discussion groups and advise parents on effective parenting techniques. You'll teach parents methods used for stress management, reciprocal communication and alternatives to spanking, as well as address topics for child health and development, proper nutrition and effective budgeting.

What Degree Programs Are Relevant to the Profession?

Earning a master's degree in marriage and family counseling, mental health counseling or social work provides you with the necessary education to become a parent educator. Many schools offer these programs, and you can usually complete them within 2-3 years.

Social work programs teach you to understand individual, family and community needs in the context of social welfare and justice, engaging in the process of bringing about social change to meet those needs. In standard classroom sessions, you'll learn social policy history, human social behavior and child welfare. Through simulations, team projects and fieldwork, you'll learn how to apply social counseling and teaching methods.

Programs in marriage and family counseling offer a conceptual framework to understand families as whole entities and as systems of interacting relationships. Courses and practicums teach you methods of engaging with family members individually and in groups to help them improve communication and adopt healthy behaviors. Program content examines theories of personality, multiculturalism, human sexuality, the human life cycle and family life transitions.

Mental health counseling programs consider different theoretical models of mental illness and modes of treatment. Some reference several approaches, but emphasize one, such as cognitive-behavioral or psychodynamic methods; and others incorporate a Christian or spiritual perspective. Course topics might include assessment and analysis, psychopathology, psychopharmacology and disorders of children, adolescents and adults.

Do I Need to Be Licensed?

Your employer determines whether you'll need to obtain state licensure. If you offer services through a government agency, you might need to register or receive a state-issued license or certification in social work. Alternately, if the state or organization you work for considers your parenting education services as counseling or teaching, you could be required to test for a teacher's certification or a state-mandated counseling license. Requirements vary by state, but most states that regulate the profession require you to have a master's degree and relevant experience prior to licensure.

What Could I Earn As a Parent Educator?

Definitive salary statistics aren't readily available for parent educators, and figures could vary depending on whether you work for a public or a private company or offer your services through your own business. The website PayScale.com listed a median salary of $32,459 for family service workers in January 2017 (www.payscale.com). If you provide part-time services, you might qualify for subsidized income through some state-sponsored organizations, such as the Right Start Project in Colorado.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in counseling, you could also consider getting a job as a school counselor. In this job, you would work directly with students to help them deal with mental health issues, behavioral problems, social anxiety and other challenges. You might also work in coordination with parents, teachers and school administrators to help the student get on the path for success. To be a school counselor, you need to have a master's degree and a license. Another option is a job as a health educator at a public health department or nonprofit organization, where you would organize and implement programs to provide the public with information about health and access to the medical resources they need. The minimum educational requirement for this job is a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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