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How to Become a Certified Child Abuse Prevention Trainer

Learn how to become a certified child abuse prevention trainer. Research the education requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career in child abuse prevention training.

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Do I Want to Be a Certified Child Abuse Prevention Trainer?

Certified child abuse prevention trainers actively work to end the mistreatment and abuse of children by educating and training professionals such as teachers, daycare workers, doctors, social workers, nurses, counselors, therapists, mental health professionals, child care workers, police officers, and school officials. They teach others to recognize the signs of abuse, counsel abuse victims, implement prevention strategies, and report abuse to the proper authorities.

Certified child abuse prevention trainers work for various types of employers, including government agencies, colleges, charitable organizations, school districts, community centers and child abuse prevention organizations. They usually work full-time and concentrate most of their hours during normal business hours, although community events, special training sessions, or preparation for seminars may take place in the evenings or on the weekends. Those that work for non-profit organizations may not receive high salaries. This career can be very emotionally stressful, but highly rewarding, as well.

Job Requirements

There is no single path to becoming a certified child abuse prevention trainer, and people can take on the role while employed in various jobs. The main requirement is having received some sort of training from an agency or organization, of which there are many. Other than that, employers sometimes prefer those with undergraduate degrees in areas like psychology and social work and relevant experience working with child abuse issues, such as in a social work position; others prefer candidates with some kind of training experience. The following table lists the main requirements for certified child abuse prevention trainers:

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree preferred***
Degree Field Sociology,* social work, criminal justice, psychology***
Experience 3-5 years in human services or training***
Certification Voluntary certification is available**
Key Skills Organizational, time management, people and problem-solving skills*
Technical Skills Knowledge of training techniques, ability to prepare presentations***

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Cornell University's Therapeutic Crisis Intervention System, ***Online job postings (December 2012)

Step 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree

A bachelor's degree in criminal justice, education or psychology with a focus on child and family advocacy can prepare individuals for graduate degrees in related areas or for entering the work force. Students in these programs are often given the opportunity to study in the field in a work practice sequence of the major in which they observe and assist certified professionals. They may also be able to take courses in competency-based skills, such as forensic interviewing. Courses in education, such as instructional methods, educational psychology and student teaching are also helpful.

Success Tip:

  • Volunteer or intern at a child protection center. Internships and volunteer experiences can provide an opportunity to learn more about child abuse prevention programs and the complex nature of issues regarding child abuse and family violence.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Employers often prefer to hire certified child abuse prevention trainers with at least some work experience. An entry-level position in social work, child welfare or training can provide familiarity with the trends, practices and policies pertinent to child welfare programs.

Step 3: Get Training and Certification

A wide variety of agencies and organizations, ranging from universities to non-profit and state-run children's advocacy organizations, offer training for child abuse prevention trainers. Some of these organizations offer their own certification at various levels. Certification, which is required by some employers, often demonstrates that the trainer has the knowledge and expertise needed to train other professionals.

Success Tip:

  • Research certification renewal requirements. Some certifications must be renewed periodically through completion of continuing education courses.

Step 4: Consider Pursuing an Advanced Degree

While not a strict requirement, some employers prefer candidates with master's degrees. Most master's degree programs take 2-3 years to complete. Some Master of Social Work (MSW) programs only take 1 year for students who already possess a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). To work as a faculty member of a college or university, a minimum of a master's degree is necessary, and 4-year universities usually require a Ph.D.

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