Tell Us Where You Work: Identifying Family Science and CFLE Employers

Dawn Cassidy, M.Ed., CFLE, Director of Family Life Education
/ NCFR Report, Spring 2021

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In previous columns I have discussed challenges to increase awareness and value of the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential and the discipline of Family Science. These challenges include a lack of academic identity and a diversity of employment settings and practitioner roles, which makes it difficult to target marketing efforts. In this column I address current efforts to advance the discipline and a request for CFLEs and NCFR members to assist in the task of identifying specific employment settings and job titles.

Lack of academic identity—NCFR’s Advancing Family Science initiative is focused directly on strengthening the identity and visibility of the Family Science discipline. This effort includes publicizing what Family Science is and why it is important. A discussion at NCFR’s annual member meeting and a member town hall event held in December were both successful in providing member insight and energy to this effort. Ongoing information and activity are highlighted on the About Family Science webpage, at ncfr.org/about/what-family-science.

Identification of specific employers and job titles—To increase the awareness and value of the CFLE credential, NCFR needs to reach out to current and potential Family Life Educator employers. As mentioned, the diversity of employment settings and practitioner roles makes this challenging, but we have identified several strategies for addressing this issue, some of which require NCFR member and CFLE participation.

To effectively market the CFLE credential to employers, we need to better understand the practice of Family Life Education and the settings in which that work takes place. We know from the NCFR 2014 Job Analysis report (conducted as part of the update of the CFLE Exam) that a slight majority (54%) of respondents (CFLEs and practicing Family Life Educators) work in nonprofit settings, with 32% working in government and 14% in for-profit organizations. And we know that the focus of the organization for nearly 66% of respondents is education, with 15% focused on intervention, 9% on prevention, and the remaining 10% indicating other. When asked to identify their primary focus of practice, respondents identified over 41 different areas, including adoption and foster care, domestic abuse and violence prevention, marriage and relationship education, hospice care, parenting education, military family support, and program evaluation. The job analysis results are helpful in providing an overview of the practice of Family Life Education, but they do not inform us about the specific agencies and organizations where CFLEs work or provide details as to exactly what work they do and which job titles they hold.

NCFR has access to specific employment settings and job titles by virtue of the CFLE application process, but it is not comprehensive. Applicants pursuing full certification status and provisional CFLEs seeking to upgrade to full status provide information on their specific employer and job title. We can access this data for those who have provided this information through the online application or upgrade process, but this was first implemented only in 2018, so represents a small percentage of all current CFLEs. We do have data from CFLEs who provided this information prior to the online process, but it currently exists on paper and is not accessible online.

Additionally, we have data on current and potential internship and practicum settings provided by schools pursuing both first-time approval and renewal as CFLE-approved programs. These data provide excellent insight into the types of settings and roles that Family Science students are experiencing in their internship and practicum experiences and into the likely settings for their future employment. Although data we do have provide an excellent foundation for marketing efforts, having more data would increase the likelihood of success in expanding awareness of Family Science and of the CFLE credential.

And that is where you come in. As an NCFR member and/or CFLE, you can help NCFR collect information on specific organizations and agencies that employ Family Life Education professionals. We will be reaching out to ask you to share information about your own job title and employer and/or the organizations and agencies in your community that would benefit from the services of a Family Life Education professional. This information may be collected through a survey and/or a request to update your NCFR profile. Increasing the breadth and depth of employment information collected for CFLEs and members will enable NCFR to better understand the employment landscape. We know employers value employees who have Family Science training and/or hold the CFLE credential (see the fall 2019 Directions column). We want to inform more employers about the role Family Science and the CFLE credential can play in reaching the mission and goals of their organization. By assisting NCFR in the identification of specific employers, you will help expand the outreach of our marketing efforts and contribute to our goal of increasing awareness and value of Family Science and the CFLE credential.