Youth Development Specialist – Graduate Certificate

Youth Development Specialist

The Youth Development Specialist Graduate Certificate provides flexibility so you can build a certificate program to benefit your career goals with maximum impact.


Helping youth navigate childhood and transition to adulthood is challenging and rewarding. Our online youth development specialist graduate certificate can help you enhance your work with youth in a variety of settings. This certificate helps any educators, service providers or practitioners of youth better support them emotionally, socially, and cognitively as they make the jump into adulthood. If you want to enhance your credentials or boost your qualifications for a career as a youth professional, this may be the certificate for you.

This youth development program uses a strengths-based curriculum to provide you with research and professional skills that support youth to make them socially, emotionally, and cognitively competent adults.

There is an increasing demand for employees of youth-serving organizations to obtain graduate degrees, certificates, and/or licensure. The Youth Development program offered as part of the Great Plains IDEA is a recognized leader in professional development and advanced degrees in youth development. 

The graduate certificate in youth development will benefit:

  • Elementary, middle, and high school educators
  • Extension educators
  • Military youth specialists
  • Any service providers or practitioners working directly with youth

Diverse career opportunities

Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Faith-based groups
Community recreation
Juvenile justice facilities
Extension services
Military youth programs
Middle and high school programs
This youth development program prepares you for a career in helping today’s youth transition into adulthood. It uses a strengths-based curriculum to provide human and family service workers with research and professional skills that support youth to make them socially, emotionally, and cognitively competent adults.

University partnerships

Iowa State University is a member of Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GP-IDEA), a consortium of universities that have come together to offer fully online degree programs. This collaboration provides Iowa State University students the opportunity to take courses taught by Youth Development faculty and professionals across institutions.

Admission Requirements

Graduate College Requirements:

  • 4 year Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)
    Academic Records/Transcripts
    Minimum 3.0 GPA (Program may alter requirement.)
    Proof of English Proficiency

For specific program requirements and application process, visit the Graduate College program webpage.


Total: 12

The Course Planner provides a list of courses and shows when they are traditionally offered.

Non-degree credits
You may take up to nine graduate credit hours as a non-degree-seeking student before being formally admitted to the program. If you are interested in taking courses as a non-degree student, please start by applying as a non-degree student through the Admissions Office (link to non-degree application) and contact to schedule your courses once your application has been approved.


As a member of GP IDEA, all students pay universal tuition. For more information, visit the GP IDEA website.