Child, Youth, and Family Studies Program

Career/Program Overview

RCTC’s Child, Youth, and Family Studies major prepares students for meaningful and rewarding careers working with children birth through eight.  Early childhood educators promote children’s healthy development through positive respectful relationships that involve a high level of communication and interpersonal interaction. Young children are competent, curious, and powerful learners. This makes the practice of teaching young children very complex. Early childhood educators observe, listen, communicate, reflect, analyze, make decisions, and plan as they promote children’s learning through a play-based curriculum.


RCTC’s Child, Youth, and Family Studies provides specialized education focusing on the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needs to effectively promote a young child’s physical, intellectual, language, emotional, and social development. Course topics include Child, Development, Health and Safety, Positive Guidance, Intentional Teaching, Observing and Assessing, Human Diversity, Family Relations, and Special Needs. Students develop their skills through hands-on learning and clinical experiences at Head Start.

Program/Degree Options

RCTC’s Child, Youth, and Family Studies programs offers a 25 credit certificate in Child Development and a 60 credit AS degree in Child Youth and Family Studies.  The Child Development certificate is embedded in the AS degree.  The 25 credit certificate in Child Development meets the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) educational requirement for assistant teachers and teachers in child care centers.  DHS Rule 3 requires additional work experience to be hired as an assistant teacher or teacher. Students are encouraged to seek employment as a program assistant or child care assistant in a licensed early childhood program upon entrance to RCTC.

Program Start Date(s)

Child, Youth, and Family Studies offers face-to-face, daytime and evening, hybrid, and online courses year round. Full-time students complete the diploma in as little as one year and the AAS degree within two years.

Career Opportunities/Information

Child, Youth, and Family Studies graduates seek employment providing direct services to young children and families. Employment opportunities include Head Start teacher, nursery school teacher, child care worker, family child care provider, paraprofessional, early childhood mental health worker, home visitor, family service worker, child advocate, PCA, or child care resource and referral specialist.

The AS degree offers graduates the ability to seek further education to earn a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, early childhood special education, child development and family studies, psychology, social work or human services.


Rochester Community and Technical College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

For additional information on the most current list of RCTC program articulations see us at

Additional Information

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Gainful Employment Programs

The U.S. Department of Education’s (USDE) gainful employment regulations require disclosure of certain program information for programs that lead to certificates or diplomas and are financial aid eligible.  The most current RCTC gainful employment information can be found at: