III. EXPLORING POSITIONS
Description: A parent educator helps parents obtain the education and skills needed to raise physically, psychologically, and emotionally healthy children. Parents in any socio-economic situation can often use help with parenting skills. The parent educator may be an employee of a public agency, a private organization, or a self-employed professional.
Knowledge, Skills and Dispositions: Knowledgeable of child development, parenting techniques, community resources, counseling, cultural competence, and confidentiality.
Employment Settings: Parent educators work in a variety of settings to assist parents in understanding the development of their child and approaches to behavior management, and/or serve as an advocate for the child and family in stressful or transitional situations. These settings include:
Public Schools - See SECTION II, SETTING F
Private Schools - See SECTION II, SETTING E
Child Care Programs - See SECTION II, SETTING A.B.D.
Even Start - See SECTION II, SETTING B
Head Start - See SECTION II, SETTING C
Required Qualifications: The qualifications for parent educator vary according to the sponsoring organizations or agency and purpose of programs.
Preparation:Educational requirements vary and include requiring associate's, baccalaureate or advanced degree in early childhood social work, human services with extensive experience in counseling. Typical coursework includes child development, family dynamics, and principles of counseling.
Alternate Pathways: Occasionally parents, who have benefited from parenting education themselves, become peer parent educators. This is accomplished by participating in training opportunities specifically designed for parents who are interested in working with other parents.
Job Outlook: While many families may benefit from parent education often it is only after a family has had a trauma or is in a serious situation that they turn to a parent educator. In some cases, a court may mandate or strongly suggest parent education courses. Family courts frequently request parent education courses in respect to child custody cases. The growing recognition of the benefits of parent education is likely to affect a growth in the number of positions providing this service. High quality child care programs may offer parent education for the families using their program.
Earnings: This depends on the agency for which the parent educator works. It may range from a bit above minimum wage up to $30,000 per year.
Opportunity for Advancement: There is no specific career ladder for parent educator. Some parent educators move into administrative positions.
Serving Children Directly – Classroom teacher, social worker, family worker, program administrator.
Serving Families Directly – Same as above.
Providing Information Goods and Services – Referrals, parent information, writing newsletter articles, developing and marketing services families need might be related careers.