How to Get Certified to Teach Parenting Classes

Parenting is one of the most important jobs in the world, yet most people don’t receive any formal training on how to be an effective parent. Parenting education can provide invaluable support and guidance to mothers, fathers, grandparents and anyone else in a caregiving role. As a parenting instructor, you have the ability to positively impact families and entire communities.

This guide will walk you through the steps to get certified as a parenting educator so you can share your knowledge and make a difference.

Determining Your Specialty

There are many types of parenting instructors, each with their own specialty and target audience. First, think about which age group you are most interested in teaching:

Infant and Toddler Specialists

Focus on child development, safety, nutrition, behavior and communicating with very young children. Help new parents adjust to parenthood.

Early Childhood Teachers

Work with preschool aged children. Discuss socialization, language skills, kindergarten readiness, and age-appropriate behaviors.

Parent Educators

Teach a wide range of general parenting topics to parents of school-aged children. Cover discipline, self-esteem, education strategies, and more.

Teen and Adolescent Guides

Help parents navigate the challenges of raising teenagers. Share insights on risky behaviors, communication strategies, boundaries and preparing for young adulthood.

Clearly defining your specialty will allow you to tailor your certification path accordingly.

Earning Your Credentials

There are several routes to gaining credentials as a parenting instructor:

Get a Teaching Certificate

Earn a certificate or diploma in early childhood education, parent education or a related field from a community college or technical school. Programs range from a few months to 2 years. Includes supervised teaching experience.

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

Get a 4-year bachelor’s degree in education, human development, family studies, social work or psychology. Take courses in curriculum design, instructional strategies and child development theories.

Complete a Master’s Program

Pursue a graduate degree such as a Master’s of Education in Parent Education. Very comprehensive 2 year program including advanced teaching methods, research skills and field work.

Acquire State Certification

Some states have a formal certification process for parenting educators, family life educators or parent coaches. Requires taking exams, supervised experience and continuing education.

Get Nationally Certified

National organizations like the National Council on Family Relations offer certification as a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). Must meet extensive education and experience requirements. Recertify every 5 years.

Seek Specialized Credentials

Supplement your credentials with specialized training on topics like newborn care, positive discipline, child nutrition, mindfulness, etc. Volunteer teaching to gain hands-on experience.

Choosing the Right Program

With many options for credentialing, it is important to pick the right program for your goals. Here are some things to consider:

  • Delivery Method – Online, in-person or hybrid format? Consider your learning style.
  • Length – Look for a timeframe that fits with your schedule. Short term certificates to 2+ year degrees available.
  • Cost – From affordable community college programs to pricey graduate degrees. Factor in financial aid availability.
  • Reputation – Select an accredited school with a long track record of quality instruction. Check ratings and reviews.
  • Curriculum – Look for a good balance of parenting theory, teaching methods, ethics and practical knowledge.
  • Hands-on Experience – Programs with observation, student teaching and field work help hone your skills.
  • Certification – Make sure the program meets requirements from credentialing bodies like the National Council on Family Relations.

Doing your homework will help you identify the ideal program for gaining the knowledge, experience and credentials needed to teach parenting effectively.

Compiling Your Portfolio

As you work towards certification, it is wise to assemble a professional portfolio showcasing your background, skills and philosophy. A portfolio is a must-have for impressing potential employers or attracting private clients. Include:

  • Resume summarizing your education, training and related experience.
  • Copies of all diplomas, certificates, licenses and credentials earned.
  • Letters of recommendation from instructors, colleagues and parents.
  • Sample curriculum, activities, handouts and other materials you have developed.
  • Your teaching philosophy and approach to parenting education.
  • Press clippings, awards, special projects or other accomplishments.
  • Personal blog or website displaying your work.
  • Video of you instructing a mock parenting class.

Portfolios provide tangible evidence of your readiness to teach and the quality of instruction you offer. Keep it updated throughout your career.

Finding Work

A certification opens doors to diverse teaching opportunities. With credentials in hand, here are some avenues to begin your parenting education career:

Preschools and Daycares

Develop and teach parenting workshops and classes at local childcare centers. Topics like potty training, preventing tantrums, separation anxiety and pickup/dropoff routines are especially helpful for preschool parents.

Private Parenting Classes

Run your own parenting classes at rented spaces like community centers, places of worship or libraries. Market to new parents, adoptees, grandparents – anyone seeking to improve their parenting abilities.

Non-Profit Organizations

Volunteer or apply to work for nonprofits focused on family support services. Many offer free or low cost parenting classes in underserved communities.

Government Programs

Cities, counties and states operate parent education programs through health departments, family resource centers, courts and correctional facilities.

Online Instruction

Expand your reach exponentially through virtual classes and pre-recorded video lessons. Share your expertise with parents across the globe.

Private Coaching

Provide personalized in-home or online parenting coaching tailored to a family’s unique needs. Especially helpful for parents of children with special needs.


Propose parenting courses or workshops at local elementary, middle and high schools. Address specific challenges at each age and grade level.

Medical Settings

Pediatric clinics may hire parenting instructors or offer your classes onsite. Help parents understand health topics or manage childhood illnesses and conditions.


Businesses are recognizing the benefits of educating their parent employees. Offer seminars on work-life balance, single parenting, and more through employee wellness programs.

Developing Curriculum

A hallmark of quality parenting instructors is the ability to develop customized curriculum that engages students and achieves learning objectives. Follow these steps to create curricula for your classes and workshops:

Assess Needs

Identify the audience you are teaching and conduct needs assessments to determine their pain points and goals. Send out surveys, facilitate focus groups, research demographics, etc. The more intel you gather, the better you can tailor material.

Define Objectives

Use needs assessment data to establish clear objectives for what parents should know or be able to implement after completing your class. Setting measurable goals is key for tracking outcomes.

Map Topics

Brainstorm specific topics that align with your learning objectives. Seek input from parents on what they most want to learn. Categorize topics into modules or weekly sessions.

Create Lesson Plans

Develop individual lesson plans for each topic that outline learning activities, discussion questions, examples and time estimates. Lessons should be interactive and learner-focused.

Include Varied Formats

Incorporate videos, role playing, individual and group activities, lectures, guest speakers and other formats to appeal to different learning styles and keep participants engaged.

Develop Materials

Compile handouts, worksheets, assessments, visual aids like slide decks, and take-home resources for parents to use beyond the class. Provide materials in multiple languages as needed.

Pilot Program

Test curriculum out with a small group to get feedback. Refine content, adjust timing, add examples etc. before full implementation. Ongoing updates keep material relevant.

When creating your own parenting course, let key educational principles guide your instructional design. With preparation and experience, you will gain confidence developing curricula that truly transforms families.

Promoting Your Services

Spread the word so parents can connect with your programs and services. Some suggestions for marketing your parenting instruction business include:

  • Website – Create an informative site explaining your background, philosophy and the types of classes offered. Make it easy to sign up online.
  • Social media – Promote your classes on Facebook, Instagram and other popular parenting forums. Share useful tips and advice related to your expertise. Respond promptly to messages and inquiries.
  • Networking – Join professional associations and local parenting support groups to connect with referral sources. Offer to do free guest workshops.
  • Advertising – Place ads in parenting magazines, community newspapers, pediatrician offices, online media and anywhere your target audience will see it.
  • Referrals – Provide a referral bonus to past students who recommend your classes to friends. Satisfied parents are powerful marketers.
  • Free previews – Offer a free intro workshop so parents can get a taste before committing to a full program.
  • Community visibility – Sponsor a family fun event or volunteer to run workshops at community centers.
  • Search optimization – Use SEO strategies and local keywords so your website and classes surface prominently in parent searches.

Persistence and creativity will help you spread awareness of how your instruction can benefit families.

Developing Your Teaching Style

Your teaching style impacts how you interact with students, manage the learning environment, present information and more. As you gain experience as a parenting instructor, determine what works best for your personality while keeping these effective approaches in mind:


Facilitate lots of discussion, group work and hands-on activities so students take an active role in the learning process. Make parents partners in education.


Offer encouragement. Be understanding when parents struggle. Provide resources for additional help. Build confident parents through a strengths-based approach.


Get to know your students and tailor teaching to their needs. Adjust pacing and content presentation styles to fit the group.


Ask lots of open-ended questions. Use role playing, simulations, and gamification to reinforce lessons. Keep parents engaged through varied teaching techniques.


Be willing to modify lesson plans based on students? comprehension. Improvise when needed while still covering key objectives.


Use everyday examples parents can relate to. Incorporate your parenting stories when relevant. Add humor and laughter when suitable.

Your teachable moments will resonate most when built upon compassion, patience and understanding for the difficult job of parenting.

Continuing Your Education

Parenting education is an evolving field. Ongoing professional development allows you to stay current on the latest parenting research and best practices. Here are some ways to continue learning:

  • Take continuing education courses – Many certification bodies require a set number of CE credits to maintain credentials. Look for inspiring seminars and workshops.
  • Attend conferences – National and regional parenting conferences feature top experts and thousands of fellow educators to network with. The National Council on Family Relations hosts the largest event.
  • Join associations – Membership provides conferences, journals, newsletters, online resources and early access to new studies.
  • Read books and journals – Check major publishers for the newest releases by thought leaders. Subscribe to publications like Parenting Education and Practice.
  • Listen to podcasts – A convenient way to get insights during commutes or workouts. Search ?parenting education? wherever you access podcasts.
  • Follow leaders – Subscribe to blogs, social media and email lists from pioneers in the field like Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr. Becky Bailey and Dr. Harvey Karp.
  • Practice mindfulness – The more present, patient and focused you are inwardly, the better instructor you?ll be.

Make continuing education a lifelong habit. Inspired instructors lead to empowered parents.

Best Practices for Instruction

Your ability to educate starts with mastering essential teaching skills. Consider these best practices for facilitating impactful parenting classes:

Connect through stories

Share relevant stories from your own parenting journey so parents relate to you as a fellow traveler. Invite parents to tell stories illustrating lesson concepts.

Promote discussion

Ask open-ended questions that get parents analyzing, evaluating and problem solving together. Guide conversations skillfully without dominating.

Be transparent

Admit when you don?t know the answer. Be candid about your own parenting mistakes and what you learned through them. Parents will respect your honesty.

Use role playing

Practice new techniques through role playing real life parenting scenarios. Observe and provide feedback as parents try out solutions.

Customize guidance

Avoid one-size-fits-all advice. Help parents adapt tools to their unique family dynamic, culture and values.

Address all learning styles

Combine teaching methods like slideshows, videos, demos, lectures, and hands-on exercises to engage visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners.

Check for understanding

Frequently assess if parents grasp key concepts. Welcome clarifying questions. Clear up confusion through additional examples.

Provide resources

Share suggested books, websites, support groups and other resources so learning continues beyond your class.

Be supportive more than directive

Guide vs dictate. Empower parents to gain confidence in their own instincts vs fostering dependency on the ?expert.?

Promote connection

End each session by having parents share one takeaway with the group. Close with a community-building exercise.

Your ability to educate and uplift parents will grow tremendously over time. Reflect on what parenting wisdom future generations may gain from you.

Overcoming Common Challenges

Even highly skilled instructors run into occasional challenges in classes. Here?s how to handle difficult scenarios that may arise:

Student conflicts

If tensions flare between parents regarding differing viewpoints, gently intervene to find common ground, emphasize respectful discussion, and redirect to course material.

Disruptive behaviors

Privately speak with disruptive parents. Express care and concern for their needs. Outline expectations or suggest they rejoin when they can fully participate.

Resistance to change

Don?t force change. Guide parents to weigh pros and cons of adjusting detrimental behaviors. Reinforce taking small steps.

Unengaged students

Praise positive participation. Check in one-on-one with disengaged parents – maybe they need accommodation or prefer to process silently.

Tough questions

Admit when you don?t know the answer vs guessing. Offer to research and follow up. Checking with other instructors can help too.

Personal attacks

Defuse tension with empathy and by getting discussion back on topic. Speak privately after class to resolve concerns and preserve dignity for all.

Technology distractions

Gently remind students to limit technology use to break times. Make classes so interactive that phones become less tempting.

Cancellations and no shows

Send friendly reminder emails. Follow up to understand barriers to participation. Offer personalized help getting reengaged.

With compassion and commitment to families, you can work through nearly any classroom challenge.


The world needs more qualified, caring parenting educators like you. I hope this guide provided a helpful overview of how to get certified and start teaching parenting classes professionally. What an incredible opportunity you have to positively influence generations to come! With your knowledge, skills and passion, you are ready to empower parents to raise healthy, thriving children. I wish you the very best in launching your parenting education career and changing lives.

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