Uncover Your Vocation
Acquire the tools to help families endure the storm of daily life, empower each other, and support their children’s development. Deepen your conviction in your faith and serving others through ACU’s online Bachelor’s in Child and Family Services with the guidance of our vibrant, virtual, Christ-centered community.
Our Locked-In Tuition program guarantees you’ll pay the same price for your entire undergraduate degree.
About the Program
ACU’s online Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services focuses on learning about optimal human development and relationships from infancy through adulthood, with the purpose of addressing the evolving definition of family. Through this degree, you will train to strengthen the lives of children, adults and families by promoting emotional well-being and formulate, evaluate and implement life education plans based on research and theory.
All the Details on Your Degree
A Christian perspective shapes a degree program designed to help you pursue a career assisting families and children in multiple contexts — from healthcare to therapeutic and social services fields. Glean insights from current research and theory to reinforce bonds within the family unit to not only help all individuals overcome obstacles but to have them go forth and benefit their communities. Along with fully online coursework, you’ll complete a required number of practicum hours and can specialize your degree with a choice of concentrations.
Total: 120 hours
University Requirements: 56 hours
Major: 64 hours (up to 19 hours in electives)
Family Theories: An Introduction
Parenting and Family Skills
Family Crises and Resiliency
Upcoming Start Dates
June 28, 2022
August 23, 2022
Common Job Titles
Youth Services Coordinator
Group Home Worker
Family Resource Coordinator
Marriage and Family Therapist (Master’s degree required)
All students enrolled in the online Bachelor’s in Child Life and Family Services program progress through a 45 credit-hour core. You’ll then customize your degree with a choice of electives or concentrate your studies toward a career as a child life specialist.
Core courses refine what you know about family dynamics. You’ll expand your mindset about adolescent attitudes and dynamics, family communication and interpersonal relationships. Beyond these big-picture concepts, coursework delves into the role finances play in relation to time and resources, how relationships are formed, developmentally appropriate care from infancy through the teen years and tools for building resiliency. In the process, you’ll start to think about intimacy and human sexuality, marital relationships, societal trends in family relationships and know how to conduct and analyze human development and family studies research.
Along with a required number of hours interacting with infant, child and adolescent populations, a supervised experience consisting of 120 clock hours places you in a community-based family life education or service program to help you practice what you’ve absorbed thus far.
You’ll then select one of the following concentrations:
Start your journey toward certification as a child life specialist. Discover strategies for helping children and families overcome challenging and traumatic events, and learn to conduct evidence-based, psychologically appropriate interventions. To serve children from infancy through adolescence, coursework offers insight into therapeutic play tactics for coping with stressful situations, managing pain, and overcoming fear and anxiety.
Get broad, multifaceted exposure to the discipline of child and family services, and prepare to pursue a variety of careers serving children and families, including in social services and nonprofits. You will be exposed to current research and theory about families and become well-versed in developmental theory about individuals and the family unit across the lifespan. Consider where you see yourself long term: this concentration equips you with the knowledge to enter a graduate program in professional healthcare, counseling or higher education.
Meet the Program Director
Dr. Sara Blakeslee Salkil, Certificate in Medical Family Therapy
Dr. Sara Blakeslee Salkil is the program director of the online Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services, online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, and the Certificate in Medical Family Therapy programs. She is independently licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Ohio and Texas and is an AAMFT-Approved Supervisor. Sara grew up in Oklahoma and earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Oklahoma State University. She received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from ACU and her doctorate in MFT from Texas Tech University. In addition to her academic and clinical work, she is a member of the Counselor, Social Worker & Marriage and Family Therapist licensing board in Ohio and a member of the Governance Leadership Identification Task Force with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She also practices part-time.
Child and Family Services: Bachelor’s Degree vs. Master’s Degree
From government-run agencies to non-profit organizations, there has been an increase in demand for skilled child and family service professionals. But what does it take educationally to serve these communities? We’ve broken down the differences between earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in our latest blog.
Marriage and Family Therapists versus Psychologists: What is the difference?
Interested in a career where you work directly with people who benefit from your guidance? A Marriage and Family Therapist or Psychologist may be the right fit. Read on to discover the key differences between the two so you can choose the one that best suits your interests.
Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Sara Salkil
“I wanted to give back to a program that gave me so much,” said Dr. Sara Salkil, program director for ACU Online’s COAMFTE-accredited Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services and Certificate in Medical Family Therapy programs. Check out how she’s done just that and more in our faculty spotlight.
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4 Benefits of Becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist
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Vocational Formation at ACU: Finding Your Purpose and Passion
Vocational formation is all about finding your life’s calling, learning how God is shaping you into the person you were born to be. You likely have a career goal or the spark of an idea of what you’d like to do professionally. ACU’s unique approach to vocational formation takes this a step further by helping you understand your deeper desire to serve others, no matter what the job title or duties entail.