Explaining CFLE to Employers

This is a collection of resources and tips for how Certified Family Life Educators (CFLEs) can promote the field of family life education (FLE), and explain to employers the value and relevance of the CFLE credential.

Selected Resources

Tips from CFLEs

The following tips were posted by Certified Family Life Educators in a discussion on the CFLE email listserv in September 2013:

How is my CFLE certification valuable in the job market if employers don't know what a CFLE is?

I look for keywords. And when I respond, I use the language of "The importance of the CFLE Credential" from the NCFR website (the brochure). It both explains what the credential is and what my skill set encompasses. ... Now, I don't mind so much when people say, "I have never heard of that!" because I consider it my responsibility to educate them. - Mara J. Briere, MA, CFLE

So many grants and other employers ask for social workers because that has been what other places do, but they may not understand why. Look at job descriptions and find the words that sound like family life education. Then go to the employer with the 10 content areas and/or the Domains of Family Practice model in hand to describe how a CFLE is more likely to be able to complete the FLE-related tasks than social workers, therapists, or nurses. Let me or my co-authors know if you have questions or concerns about using DFP. We hope it will become a tool that will help you educate others about your profession, help clarify job descriptions, and, ultimately, help you get the right jobs and help you do them better! - Judith A. Myers-Walls, Ph.D., CFLE

I've found that I have the opportunity to explain my degree in my cover letter & because I'm confident in my degree, I am able to provide the reasons why the degree links to the job. ... So I'd suggest that you come up with your personal two line explanation of how a CFLE can fit into a role that we were forgotten to be included in. - Sara Brooks, MA, CFLE

I have been certified as CFLE since 1989 and it has always been one of my most prized certifications. It has been a nice complement to my licenses in MFT and Addiction. ... To those of you struggling to find work in our area, be creative and assertive. Create your own 'white paper' describing all of the areas a CFLE is competent in and how we can market ourselves with facts. The CFLE credential is in need of mass promotion and we CFLEs can be the best advocates! - Wendy H. Davenson, LMFT, LADC, CFLE

How can I help educate employers as to the value of CFLE certification?

Upon getting hired, my school did not know much about my HDFS degree or my FLE certification. I took it upon myself to truly explain what my schooling was, and how I could apply family life education. ... They recently hired a new school counselor that has the same BA as myself. ... Now my school has two of us! It is our responsibility as CFLE's to get the news out of how valuable we are and how much we have to offer! - Sheena A. Wedge, CFLE

I was hired by a private foster care agency in the Philadelphia area in 2004. After working two years in the field I transitioned to doing resource family profiles with a title of Family Development Specialist. A professor invited me back to talk to HDFS students and encouraged me to get the CFLE. ... I took my new certification to the HR department and was awarded a substantial base pay raise (as it required ongoing training). We may need to find positions that currently exist in the community and work from the inside out proving the credential so new generations of CFLE's can build from a solid foundation we left behind. - Jason Lehman, MA, CFLE, NCC

I recently was tasked with writing my job description ... and I took the opportunity to add Family Studies and the CFLE in the appropriate requirements preferred/accepted/required places. ... It's a small thing that means a lot to me and, as an accepted professional organization, this change will be seen by funders, on grant applications, in job ads, etc. - Lisa T Osborne, MS, CFLE

I had the opportunity to design and start a new program in the agency I work and I called that program Family Life Education. ... Other staff members at the agency sometimes refer to this new program as Family Literacy or Family Education Classes but I always clarify that the name is Family Life Education program. The agency did not know much about NCFR or CFLE but now they know. - Miguel Brambila, MS, CFLE-Provisional

How can I help raise the visibility of CFLE certification to the general public?

My perspective on this right now is that getting and maintaining my CFLE (and the other credentials I have) isn't about getting a job or keeping a job or making more money at this point in our field's journey. It is about raising the awareness of and professionalism of the field. ... This isn't going to happen by itself, though. We all have a responsibility to raise awareness, promote and educate employers, students, legislators, other human service professionals, etc. about our field. I have a whole box of CFLE brochures in my office and I use them with everyone I can think of to explain this field! It has been a great tool! - Jennifer Best, MS Ed., CFLE, CFCS-HDFS

In this day of social media and ease of interacting with media at the local and national levels, I would suggest we use these mediums to our advantage. Who has ever written a comment on the Facebook page of a news outlet? Or sent a message to a local or national talk show? We have to let these outlets know about CFLEs, FLE, and the value of each. - Janis Henderson, M.S., CFLE

In one very small but simple step, let me encourage those of us who have the certification to change our email signatures and in our correspondence to not only put the letters after our names, but also spell out the entire title. Don't make people have to ask what those letters mean, just in case they don't. - John Conger, Ph.D., CFLE

Our group is urging all CFLEs to use that title on their income tax return their job...just another way to increase the knowledge that we are out there. - Jean Foster Paulsel, Ph.D., CFLE

How can I help promote family life education through public policy?

In Texas many of our graduates get jobs through Child Protective Services or other government/nonprofits. We also had legislation recognizing CFLE's as qualified for managing parenting plans for divorced/divorcing parents. Some students work in Head Start, manage after-school programs, or serve as family engagement coordinators for school districts. Some of our success in Texas could be because of the impact of Texas Council on Family Relations and our advocacy work - Angela Nievar, Ph.D., CFLE

I ran for a judicial office against the mayor pro-tem of our city. Please understand my constituency is not small - about 125,000. I was 59 years of age when I began my campaign and I took office when I was 60. I am a Justice of the Peace in Texas. ... I was surprised how willing people were to volunteer to help. Anyone can run for office and be elected if they are willing to work very, very hard and commit to what they feel is an honest way to win. I truly believe if you want change you need to get involved where you can have a voice and the "ear" of those who design policy. Spend some time working on a campaign and get to know the person who will be making the laws or the rules in your area. Once you establish yourself as rational and intelligent, with credible ideas you will be taken seriously. In most counties there are citizen boards for MHMR, Health, Child Protective Service, Social Service, etc. and all states have many citizen boards. The name may not be the same but there are positions available. Elected officials at ALL levels are looking for reasonable people to appoint to boards and committees. - Judge Patty Larson, CFLE