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Graduate, Certificate, & Credential Programs

Graduates of the human development program may need to obtain a credential, certification or graduate degree to pursue their career of choice. Below are some examples:

Credentials and Certifications

Teaching Credentials

Human development graduates who want to teach in elementary school can go on to earn a multiple subjects teaching credential, while those planning to teach at the middle school or high school levels typically earn a single subject credential.  It usually takes one year to earn a teaching credential, and this includes time serving as a student teacher under the guidance of a mentor teacher. SSU’s School of Education offers credential programs in Multiple Subject and Single Subject, among others. Note that each state has its own requirements for credentialing teachers, so a teaching credential earned in California is only guaranteed to qualify you to teach in California. (Note: Students interested in working in early childhood settings in the state of California must obtain a Child Development Permit from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.)

Behavior Analysis Credentials

Human development graduates who are interested in studying behavior in an applied setting may choose to obtain a credential in behavior analysis. Applied behavior analysts work with a variety of clients, including: corporations (staff performance, management and pay structure interventions), and schools & families (skill deficits (e.g., communication disorders) and problem behavior (e.g., aggression, self-injurous behavior)). The Behavior Analysis Certification Board offers multiple types of credentials, including:

  • Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) "is a paraprofessional who practices under the close, ongoing supervision of a BCBA [Board Certified Behavior Analyist], BCaBA [Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyist], or similar supervisor. The RBT is primarily responsible for the direct implementation of behavior-analytic services." Requires a high school diploma.
  • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) "is an undergraduate-level certification in behavior analysis. Professionals who are certified at the BCaBA level may not practice independently, but must be supervised by someone certified at the BCBA/BCBA-D level." Requires a bachelor's degree.

Family Life Educator Certification

Family life education focuses on healthy family functioning within a family systems perspective and provides a primarily preventive approach. Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE) work in a variety of settings and bring comprehensive family training to a myriad of employment sectors and job classifications. Often, CFLEs work in the following venues, including education (e.g., teaching, program and curriculum development), management organization and coordination, and public policy (e.g., lobbying, advocacy work). The National Council on Family Relations provides additional information on family life education and the requirements for becoming a Certified Family Life Educator

Child Life Specialist Certification

Child life specialists help infants, children and adolescents cope with staying in hospitals. They accompany children during medical procedures and help them and their families understand what is going on. When applicable they use play therapy to relieve stress and teach coping mechanisms to help children cope with illnesses and injuries. Often they are also part of the team that makes treatment plans for children. If you are interested in becoming certified as a Child Life Specialist, review the certification requirements outline by the Association of Child Life Professionals.

Master's Degrees

A BA in Human Development also prepares students to pursue a master's degree in many disciplines, including:

Early Childhood Education or Special Education

Human development majors interested in education may want to consider pursuing a Master of Arts in Education. These programs usually require two years of full-time study, and may or may not require a teaching credential. In some cases, a teaching credential may be applied in whole or in part to the master’s curriculum, reducing the time spent earning the graduate degree. SSU’s School of Education offers Master of Arts in Education with various concentrations:

Counseling and Social Work

Generally two years of full-time study including internship hours in a counseling placement under a licensed supervisor.  Note that you still need to become licensed in order to practice. In order to be admitted to a master's program in Counseling or Social Work, additional prerequisite coursework may need to be satisfied.


American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists.  In California, practicing psychologists must be licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs).  School counselors and school psychologists work in educational settings, and in California need to have obtained their Pupil Personnel Services Credential from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. SSU’s Counseling Department offers two master’s degrees in counseling:

  • M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling “prepares students for Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and eventual licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and/or as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC).”
  • M.A. in School Counseling “prepares students for the School Counseling and the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (SC/PPSC).”

Social Work

You can learn about the profession of social work from the National Association of Social Workers.  Social workers are employed in many different settings: as employees of the county, or in schools, courts, hospitals, or non-profit organizations; they may do clinical work focused on improving the mental health of individuals or groups, or they may work as program administrators or policy advocates.  

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists help injured, ill, or disabled patients develop, recover, improve, and maintain the skills needed for daily living and working through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. Occupational therapists work in hospitals, schools, skilled nursing facilities, home healthcare, and physical/occupational offices. Occupational therapists require at least a master's degree in occupational therapy, and must be licensed to practice. You can learn more about this career from the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. Speech-language pathologists work in schools and healthcare facilities. Speech-language pathologists require a master's degree and must be licensed to practice. They may receive additional certification in specialty areas of practice, including: child language and language disorders, fluency and fluency disorders, swallowing and swallowing disorders. You can learn more about this career and specialty areas of practice from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Behavior Analysis

Students with a Human Development BA are eligible to become a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), but those who wish to be independent practitioners who provide behavior analytic services (a Board Certified Behavior Analyst) must earn a masters degree in behavior analysis, psychology, or education from a qualifying institution and have sufficient supervised practical experience to take the BCBA exam. The Behavior Analysis Certification Board website provides detailed information about the graduate school and other requirements necessary for becoming a BCBA or BCBA-D:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a graduate-level certification. BCBAs "are independent practitioners who provide behavior-analytic services. In addition, BCBAs supervise the work of BCaBAs, RBts, and others who implement behavior-analytic interventions. A BCBA requires a master's degree in behavior analysis, psychology or education from a qualifying institution and sufficient supervised practical experience to take the BCBA exam.
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D) is the title for BCBAs who have earned a doctoral degree in behavior analysis.