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
May 2, 2023
June 27, 2023
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
Brandy Chalmers, Bachelor of Science in Child & Family Services
Brandy Chalmers is an assistant professor and the program director for the online Bachelor of Science in Child & Family Services at ACU. Brandy received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Hardin-Simmons University. She additionally has a master’s degree in Human Services from Liberty University. Brandy is currently a student at Liberty University in their doctoral program in Counseling & Community Care.
Brandy is an independently Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist and maintains a part-time private practice where she works with individuals, couples, and families through their mental wellness journey. Brandy loves the accessibility that teaching online provides students and she is continually looking to improve the experience for the online student.
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: Brandy Chalmers
Sometimes the biggest messes can be transformed into the most powerful messages. This was true for ACU assistant professor and program director of Child and Family Services, Brandy Chalmers. Check out our spotlight to learn how Brandy took her childhood experiences and is using them to profoundly impact her students and clients alike.
Defining Meaningful Work: What Does it Mean and How is it Valuable?
Do you want to come home from work each day feeling fulfilled? Meaningful careers may be what you seek. Learn more here.
4 Benefits of Becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist
As a marriage and family therapist or counselor, you can make a positive difference while also earning a comfortable income and enjoying flexible hours.
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.
Begin a career encouraging supportive relationships and shepherding a child’s development through specific life events. Government organizations, hospitals, community agencies and nonprofits seek out professionals with this knowledge base, and opportunities are growing. Based on figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marriage and family therapists will see 16% more positions between 2020 and 2030, while health education specialists and community health workers and social and human service assistants are predicted to see 17% more positions.
ACU’s online Bachelor of Science in Child Life and Family Services further sets you up to enter a graduate program centered around therapy, counseling, education or social work. Possible pathways include master’s programs in child life, child and adolescent development or marriage and family therapy.
To be considered for admission, students must:
- Submit official high school and/or college transcripts.
- Complete the online program application accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee.
Students are not required to submit ACT or SAT test scores.
Graduation Requirements: Students must earn a 2.5 GPA or higher for all courses taken at ACU and at least a “C” in each major course.
Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACU.
Abilene Christian University enjoys a strong national reputation as one of the leading private Christian universities in the west and southwest, indicated by various ratings (such as U.S. News and World Report and other reports).