you will first select a career, period of development, a developmental theory, and specific topic from the textbook. The specific topic must be clearly relevant to both the career and developmental period you selected 

Careers in Lifespan Development Essay Assignment

Essential Elements

To prepare for this assignment, you will first select a career, period of development, a

developmental theory, and specific topic from the textbook. The specific topic must be clearly

relevant to both the career and developmental period you selected.

1. In your textbook, see Chapter 1 Appendix, Careers in Lifespan Development (p. 43). From the list of careers, identify one career of interest to you. You may ask the instructor

for permission to select a career not on the list if it requires knowledge of lifespan

development. Unless you receive permission for a different career, you must select one

from the list in the textbook.

2. Select one period of developmental (p.14) that would be encountered by a professional in the career you selected. Some careers (i.e. geriatric physician, neonatal nurse, preschool

teacher) might be limited to one developmental period. Other careers may potentially

work with individuals across several periods of development and you will need to choose

one. Either way, you will select one of the following: infancy, early childhood,

middle/late childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, late adulthood.

3. From the textbook, select a topic of interest. It should be an issue that will likely be addressed by a person in the career you selected. A list of potential topics is provided

below but you are not limited to those listed. This list should give you a good idea of the

kinds of topics that are acceptable. If you are unsure about a different topic, just ask.

4. Select at least one major theory of development. You will explain how the theory might be used to help guide you in your work with an individual in the period of development

you chose. These may include Piaget, Erickson, or Bronfenbrenner. If your chosen period

of development is late adulthood, you might consider activity theory, socioemotional

selectivity theory, or selective optimization with compensation theory (pp. 587-588).

Potential Topics This is not an exhaustive list. There are other topics in the textbook. If you are uncertain, ask the instructor.

• Prenatal care

• Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

• Preschool/ early childhood education

• Autism

• Child Maltreatment

• Childhood Obesity

• Special Education

• Learning Disabilities


• Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (identify one specific disorder)

• Intellectual Disabilities

• Giftedness

• Childhood stress and trauma

• Peer status

• Bullying

• Baumrind’s Parenting Styles

• Gender issues

• Adolescent sexual behavior

• Teen pregnancy

• Sex education

• Substance abuse

• Juvenile delinquency

• Adolescent substance abuse

• Adolescent depression

• Sexual harassment

• Sexual assault

• Topics related to health in early adulthood

• Topics related to sexuality in adulthood


• Topic related to marriage and successful relationships

• Topics related to health in middle adulthood

• Retirement

• Alzheimer’s disease

• Depression and suicide in late adulthood

• Topics related to health in late adulthood

• Death and dying issues (hospice, palliative care, euthanasia)

************************Essay Instructions*************************

After selecting the four elements described above, write an essay describing how knowledge of

lifespan development will inform your work as a professional in the chosen career. Explain how

you would apply your knowledge of human development to meet the needs of an individual in

one specific period of development. The needs of the individual will be determined not only by

the period of development but also by the topic/issue you selected. Include the application of at

least one major theory of development in working with the individual. Explain how you will use

theory to guide your work with the person in the specific period of development. Do not assume

the reader has prior knowledge about the career, theory or topic.

• The first paragraph should briefly introduce the essay and end with a thesis statement. See the thesis statements handout for more information.

• After the introductory paragraph, the first main section of the essay should describe the career and include why a knowledge of human development is necessary for the

profession. The section should begin with a heading that identifies the career. The

education/training requirements for the career should also be described. The professional

association applicable to the chosen career must be used as a main source of information

in this section. You should find the required information on the website of the relevant

professional association. See the handout on professional associations for examples. In

addition, you must include information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

( for information about the career. Both of these

sources must be cited using APA format.

• In the second section, describe one period of development (e.g., infancy, early childhood, middle/late childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, or late

adulthood). The section should begin with a heading that identifies the developmental

period. Explain why knowledge of that specific developmental period is important for

one to be effective in the career/profession. Include examples of how such knowledge

would be applied to an individual in that period of development. This may include

knowledge of cognitive, socioemotional, or biological development. At least one of the

three developmental processes must be addressed, more than one if possible, based on the

knowledge required for the profession. Your textbook should be the main source for this

information. Any additional sources must be “scholarly”, as defined later in this

document under Additional Sources.

• In the third section, describe a topic or issue that would likely present itself during the developmental period described. The section should begin with a heading that identifies

the topic. You will explain how your knowledge about the issue might affect the way you

provide service to the individual as a professional in the career. Based upon information


learned about the topic and the period of development, describe at least one thing you

will do to be most effective in working with the individual (client/patient, student, etc.)

because of information learned in this course. Your understanding of the topic and related

research on the topic should be clearly demonstrated. Your textbook should be the main

source for this information. Any additional sources must be “scholarly”, as defined later

in this document under Additional Sources.

• In the fourth section, apply one of the major theories of development (Piaget, Erickson, Bronfenbrenner). For late adulthood, you may instead choose to use Activity Theory,

Socioemotional Selectivity Theory, or Selective Optimization with Compensation

Theory. For early adulthood, you may choose to extend Piaget’s theory to include

postformal thought. Again, your textbook should be the main source for this information.

The section should begin with a heading that identifies the theory. Explain how

knowledge of the theory would be applied by the professional in their work with an

individual (patient, client, student, etc.) who is in the same period of development and

who is experiencing the issue/topic previously described. If you applied one of these

theories in the second section (period of development), you will apply a different theory

in this section.


A student might select occupational therapist as a career and early childhood as the

developmental period. She might select autism as a specific topic. She could explain how

Bronfenbrenner’s social-ecological theory might be applied to address a child’s needs in multiple

settings using this theory. Another student might select child welfare worker as a career and child

maltreatment as a topic. He would select any one of the developmental periods in which child

maltreatment could be experienced. If Erickson’s theory were selected as the theory and applied

to the child in middle/late childhood, the student would explain how his knowledge about the

Industry vs. Inferiority stage could help to inform how he works with the child, the factors he

might pay attention to, or ways he might choose to intervene to help the child be most successful.

Organization, Structure and Mechanics:

You must generate a clear, specific, and arguable thesis or main idea. Include evidence and

examples to support the topic idea. Construct a logical pattern of paragraph development.

Demonstrate consistent use of correct and appropriate spelling, grammar, and usage. The essay

should be minimum of 1,000 words. The minimum word count applies only to the main body of

the essay. The required title page and reference page do not count toward the minimum.

Pay attention to paragraph development. Students often make the mistake of constructing each of

the four main sections as four very long paragraphs. Each section should be broken up into

multiple paragraphs. Consider logical points for beginning new paragraphs, such as subtopics

within a broader topic or when you begin a new idea or point. See the following resource for

more guidance on paragraph development:



APA Format

The essay must be typed, double spaced, with one-inch margins, using Times New Roman 12

font. References must be cited using APA format. An APA Guide is included in Moodle. APA

format is not the same as MLA format. If you are accustomed to using MLA or another format,

you will need to pay attention to the differences. Follow examples in the APA Guide for the title

page, headings, and reference list. You will not need tables, figures, or an abstract for this

assignment. You must also use APA format for citations within the body of the essay, in addition

to the reference list at the end . There should be one or more reference citations in each

paragraph of the essay.

The following webpage is a resource for citing and referencing various kinds of sources in APA


This is another excellent resource on APA Style:

There are several useful instructional handouts available on the OCCC Writing Center website:

Instructional Handouts

You can seek online writing tutoring here:

or visit the Writing Center on campus.


Main Source

Your main source for this assignment will be your textbook and you are required to use at least

two additional sources (professional association website and Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Information about other acceptable sources is described below. First, it will be explained how

you will communicate the information you obtain from sources.

When stating information from the textbook or other sources, you will always include a

parenthetical citation to identify the source of that information. When paraphrasing (restating in

your own words) from the textbook, you will include the following at the end of the sentence:

(Santrock, 2021). When quoting (copying word for word), a page number is added (i.e. Santrock,

2021, p. 25) and the quoted material must be in “quotation marks.” Again, quoting should be

used minimally. Most citations should follow paraphrased content.


Quote: “The field of life-span development offers an amazing breadth of careers that can

provide extremely satisfying work . . . By working in the field of life-span development,

you can help people to improve their lives, understand yourself and others better,

possibly advance the state of knowledge in the field, and have an enjoyable time while

you are doing these things” (Santrock, 2021, p. 43)


Following is information paraphrased in two different ways, based on the same content that is

quoted above. These are preferred instead of the quote.

Paraphrase 1: The study of life-span development is important for a wide range of

careers and they are especially rewarding careers that make a difference in people’s lives

(Santrock, 2021).

Paraphrase 2: Many careers require knowledge of life-span development and they can

be very fulfilling because of opportunities to make people’s lives better (Santrock, 2021).

IMPORTANT: Most of your essay should consist of paraphrased information, NOT

quoted/copied word-for-word from the source. Quotes may be used sparingly but should be no

more than 10% of content in the essay and no more than 10% of content within any of the main

sections. If quotes are used, they must be brief. Lengthy block quotes should not be necessary for

this assignment. College-level writing requires more than the ability to construct a series of

quotes. It requires you to think about what you’ve read and be able to express it intelligently in a

way that captures the essential meaning or main idea, using different words. These are the skills

of paraphrasing and summarizing. Like any skill, it improves and gets easier with practice. There

are subtle differences between paraphrasing and summarizing. Both are acceptable for the essay.

For more information, see the separate handout in Moodle, How to Paraphrase & Summarize.

Second Required Source

In addition to your textbook, you will use at least two additional sources. The second source

must be a publication from the professional association of the career you selected (or the

website of that organization). Most professions have a professional association. Professional

associations help to maintain oversight and quality practice of the occupation. Most of these

organizations also produce publications about research and best practices related to the work of

the profession. For psychologists, it is the American Psychological Association. Physicians have

the American Medical Association. Some may be members of more than one association. For

example, a pediatrician would be a member of the American Medical Association and the

American Academy of Pediatrics. A psychiatrist would be a member of the American Medical

Association and the American Psychiatric Association. A nurse might be a member of the

American Nurses Association and the Society of Pediatric Nurses. Many occupations will have

both a main professional organization and specialty organizations. A separate handout lists many

professional associations relevant to the various careers listed in your textbook as well as some

additional careers often selected by students for this assignment. See that handout to help

identify the best organizations to research for your own essay. If you do not see an association

listed for your career, an internet search naming the career and “professional organization” or

“professional association” should help you identify it. If you have difficulty, contact the

instructor for assistance.

The website of the professional association will usually provide some additional description of

the career and often includes the educational requirements. For example, if you select

psychologist as the career, the American Psychological Association (APA) is the professional

organization. On the APA website ( you will see Education & Career

across the top and select it. Scroll down to select Psychology subfields. Select a subfield and


then scroll down to select “Find out what it takes to become a ______ psychologist.” This will

provide you with considerable information about various subfields of psychology and the

necessary educational preparation.

Similar to the APA site, the website of the American Occupational Therapy Association

( includes a section on Careers. Likewise, the American Physical Therapy

Association website ( includes a similar section describing the duties and

educational requirements for a career in physical therapy. You must find the appropriate

association that applies to the career you select for this assignment. You may find many other

websites with information about the career but a general informational website (unaffiliated with

the professional association) is not an acceptable substitute. Make sure it is the official website

for the professional association.

Most professional associations also publish articles on various issues relevant to the practice of

the career. For an example, see the handout titled AOTA Mobility. This is a publication from the

American Occupational Therapy Association. It was located by searching the organization’s

website on the topic of mobility. If a student chose occupational therapy as a career and mobility

as a topic, this would be an appropriate source and might be used for a number of different

developmental periods since it separately addresses mobility issues for infants and children,

adolescents/young adults, and older adults. By exploring the website of applicable professional

associations, you may find useful information like this one related to your own topic.

Note: I chose the topic of mobility for this example because it is not a prominent topic in our

textbook, except for late adulthood. Since I have used it as an example, the AOTA mobility

document may not be used as a source if you choose occupational therapy. But the AOTA

website has information on many other topics. The same process would apply, regardless of your

chosen career interest. Some professional associations will have more information than others.

Third Required Source

In the first main section (after the introductory paragraph), you will describe the career. In

addition to the textbook and professional association, you must reference the Bureau of Labor

Statistics ( Enter the career in the “Search Handbook” box.

After you enter the career in the search box, you should locate a summary article on the career.

Look at the tabs at the top of the summary page. These include “What They Do,” “Work

Environment,” and “How To Become One.” You will need to explore each of these tabs.

Some of the information may overlap with information in the textbook or professional

association website. You will not repeat the information you have already identified from

another source. Instead, use the site to identify additional information that was not

included elsewhere, or perhaps is explained in more detail. Limit to two or three areas that can be

summarized briefly to explain what the professional does, where they might work, and the

educational requirements.

Additional Sources (optional) Any additional sources must be scholarly sources. General informational websites are not

acceptable. Wikipedia and similar sites are not acceptable. The best scholarly sources, in addition


to those published by the relevant professional association, are articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Each of the careers listed have a number of scientific journals associated with the profession.

You can search for peer-reviewed journal articles related to your topic and career through the

OCCC library website, using the EBSCO Host database.

You can find a video tutorial here:

If the career is in psychology, you will find a video tutorial for searching PsycArticles:

You can find additional information about finding articles here:

Here is a video tutorial for finding information on evidence-based practices in nursing

and allied health professions:

You can always seek assistance from a librarian, including live chat through the library website.

Grading Form

Your essay will be graded using the following guide, based on the assignment instructions.

Career (0 to 7 points) A relevant career is adequately described. It is explained why a knowledge of lifespan development is necessary for the profession. Information is clearly derived from the required sources (Bureau of Labor Statistics and the professional association applicable to the career).

Period of development (0 to 7 points) Demonstrates understanding of a specific period of development. Accurately explains why knowledge of the developmental period is necessary for the profession, with examples of how such knowledge would be applied to an individual. The student demonstrates sufficient knowledge of the most important cognitive and/or socioemotional and/or biological developmental issues of the period. The textbook (Santrock, 2021) should be the main source for this information.

Theory (0 to 6 points) Demonstrates how a specific theory of development will inform one’s work with an individual. Understands how a theory would be used in real-life application. Student demonstrates sufficient understanding of the theory, stage (if applicable), and accurately applies the theory to a real-life situation. The textbook (Santrock, 2021) should be the main source for this information.

Topic (0 to 6 points) Identifies and describes a specific developmental topic that is clearly relevant to the career and the chosen age/developmental period. The student demonstrates sufficient understanding of the


topic and related research. It is accurately demonstrated how knowledge of the topic would be used in real-life application by the professional.

Sources (0 to 6 points) Appropriate scholarly sources are used, as required by assignment instructions. At least 90% of content from sources is paraphrased or summarized in student’s own words. No more than 10% of content is directly quoted and no content is copied, quoted, or paraphrased without proper citation of the source.

Org/Structure/Mechanics (0 to 6 points) Generates a clear, specific, and arguable thesis or main idea. Includes evidence and examples to support the topic idea. Constructs a logical pattern of paragraph development. Demonstrates consistent use of correct and appropriate spelling, grammar, and usage.

References (0 to 6 points) Correctly uses APA format for parenthetical citation of references throughout the essay and the final reference list.

Length/Format (0 to 6 points) Minimum of 1,000 words, double spaced, one-inch margins, and otherwise adheres to APA format.

  • Careers in Lifespan Development Essay Assignment
    • Essential Elements
    • ************************Essay Instructions*************************
    • Sources
      • Main Source
      • Second Required Source
      • Third Required Source
      • Additional Sources (optional)


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