Child and Family Development Major

Program highlights
Multiple program formats
Regional locations
Extensive career opportunities

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Program description

The child and family development major is focused on preparing individuals to work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children and their families in a variety of settings. This program meets state of Michigan requirements for child care center directors. It does not provide Michigan Teacher Certification. Recent graduates hold positions with Great Start (non-teaching), Migrant Head Start, and YWCA; in child development centers, youth programs, alternative education settings, hospitals, and faith-based organizations; as early childhood educators, and parent educators.  Students interested in becoming a Child Life Specialist need to meet the educational and additional requirements set by the Association of Child Life Professionals and need to meet with an advisor to ensure they have the necessary coursework, child life practicum and child life internship. Students are also encouraged to join the Child Life Student Organization.

This is not a teachable major. Information for students seeking a teaching certification as an Early Childhood Specialist with a ZS endorsement should see the B.S. Elementary Education (Early Childhood) program page.

Learning Pathways

There are three ways to complete classes in this major:

  1. Face-to-face
    You may attend all classes at the main campus.
  2. Online
    You may complete all classes online.
  3. Hybrid
    You may complete classes through a mix of online and on-campus methods.

prospective students

Prospective students are invited to contact the CEHD Advising Office. To connect with an advisor, you may book your appointment online or call our office at (269) 387-3474.


View information on career opportunities in family science, provided by the National Council on Family Relations. Our recent graduates have found work in positions as:

  • Activities Directors—Nursing Home
  • Child Life Specialists
  • Extension Children, Youth and Family Agents
  • Family Educators
  • Family Service Field Associates
  • Family Specialists, Even Start
  • Home Visitors, Head Start and Early On Programs
  • Juvenile Court Workers
  • Parent Involvement Specialists
  • Scout/Youth Organization Executives


This program has been approved by the National Council on Family Relations and graduates may choose to become Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE). This certification enhances employment opportunities and verifies professional credibility for educators who work with families.


For class listings, program guides and other resources, visit the advising page for the child and family development major.


Internship/field experience

The Professional Experience Program allows students to extend their academic work with on-the-job training in child care, human service and nonprofit organizations. The program is supervised by WMU faculty in cooperation with management personnel in the field. Students independently locate sites that fit with their long-term career goals.

Accelerated Graduate Degree Program (AGDP)

Qualifying students can accumulate up to 12 credit hours toward the Master of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences while enrolled as undergraduates in the Family Studies major, the Child and Family Development major, or the Youth and Community Development major. View AGDP admission criteria for more information.