Youth development specialist

University of Missouri-Columbia
Graduate certificate
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Graduate certificate

An online graduate certificate in youth development specialist from the University of Missouri (Mizzou) can help you more effectively work with youth in any variety of settings. This certificate can be a great complement to those in other educational or human services professions (e.g., K–12 teachers, social workers, nurses, etc.) who want to specialize their work with youth populations. Students can enroll in this certificate as a stand-alone program or current Mizzou graduate students can add it to their existing program of study. If you want to enhance your credentials, obtain continuing education credits or boost your qualifications for a career as a youth professional, this may be the certificate for you.

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Quick facts

Official name

Graduate certificate in youth development specialist


University of Missouri-Columbia

Program type

Graduate certificate

Academic home

College of Education & Human Development | Department of Human Development and Family Science

Delivery mode

100% online


Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours


Estimated cost


*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

Children riding a bus.

Career prospects

This degree may help you qualify for positions in

  • 4-H
  • Local and national afterschool programs (e.g., Boys and Girls Clubs)
  • Foster care programs and transition services
  • Juvenile justice programs
  • Faith-based youth groups
  • Non-profit organizations

This program is also a good fit for professionals working or earning a graduate degree in K–12 education, nursing, social work, counseling, criminal justice and more who are seeking advanced training or complementary specialization.

Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
Employment growth
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
Median salary

Program structure

Delivery of this program is 100 percent online: no campus visits are required.

Courses are semester-based and offered by multiple universities taking part in the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance. Depending on which university is teaching your course that semester, your courses may have different start and finish dates.

Students typically take one or classes each semester and finish in one year.

Course work includes

  • Developmental needs and milestones of youth
  • Community youth development settings and programs
  • Understanding youth-family contexts and how to engage families in youth programs
  • The importance of youth-adult relationships and fostering youth voice
  • Policies that influence youth development and opportunities


100% online

Calendar system


Typical program length

1 year

Typical course load

1 or 2 classes each semester


The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Great Plains IDEA

Great Plains IDEA is a consortium of 19 universities offering fully online graduate programs and courses in agriculture disciplines. Students apply to and are admitted by one university, enroll in all of their courses through that university and graduate from that university. However, the online courses are taught by faculty in the discipline from several universities.

Learn more about Great Plains IDEA.


Faculty spotlight

Melissa Herzog, PhD

Melissa Herzog is the academic advisor for all students admitted to the University of Missouri's youth development graduate program. Dr. Herzog teaches the foundations of positive youth development and adolescents and their families courses. As an academic advisor, she has an open-door policy to support individual program planning and mentors all master's student capstone projects in the program. She is currently co-principal investigator of a federally-funded, statewide relationship education program for single adults across Missouri where she oversees evaluation and quality improvement. She has previously worked on social competence intervention development, teacher training and program evaluation for middle school youth on the autism spectrum.

For questions about the youth development graduate program and how it fits your personal and professional goals, reach out to Dr. Melissa Herzog.

Melissa Herzog, PhD
Associate Teaching Professor, Youth Development Program Academic Advisor, Department of Human Development and Family Science

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Human Development and Family Science