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Career Information for a Degree in Human Development or Family Studies

Human development or family studies programs teach students about human and family dynamics. Degrees in these areas can prepare students for a variety of career fields where the work focuses on helping people to get through a crisis, assist with decision-making or influencing public opinion. Career options can span from education to criminal justice.

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Career Information for Human Development and Family Studies Degrees

Human development and family studies programs have similar requirements. Both programs may have prerequisites in sociology, psychology or statistics and include field experience as the capstone requirement for graduation. The core curricula for human development programs include lifespan development and biological processes as topics. Family studies programs require coursework in family development, relationships and community service.

Social Workers

Social workers assist people with a wide range of issues including illness, poverty, substance abuse and disability. Many work with children in schools or elderly citizens living in healthcare facilities. Besides working with individuals, social workers may conduct research, petition government agencies or assist lawmakers with policies and legislation. Social workers typically need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field, such as psychology. In addition to a bachelor's degree, many states require social workers to have supervised experience or a graduate degree in order to gain licensure.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment for social workers was expected to increase 25% from 2010-2020 ( In May 2012, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for child and family social workers was $41,530 while healthcare social workers earned $49,830, and social workers working in the area of substance abuse and mental health earned a median of $39,980 per year.

School Guidance Counselors

Guidance counselors help students and school personnel develop plans of action to address problems. At the elementary school level, they may also help teachers design curricula. High school guidance counselors may assist students with academics and career pursuits. Most states have some form of licensing standards for guidance counselors, which may include earning a graduate degree and/or teacher certification.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS stated that overall employment for school and career counselors was expected to increase 19% from 2010-2020. The BLS stated in May 2012 that the annual median salary for an education or guidance counselor was $53,610.

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations (PR) specialists ensure that a company has a favorable public image. Much of their work is done through coordinating events and news releases with the community, media and local governments. PR specialists have good people skills and are comfortable giving interviews, answering questions, writing press releases and multi-tasking. While there are large PR firms, many companies have their own PR departments.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, employment for PR specialists was expected to grow by 21% from 2010-2020. The BLS indicated in May 2012 that the median annual salary for PR specialists was $54,170.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Probation officers work with individuals who have been placed on probation by the courts. Correctional treatment specialists provide counseling services and design programs to help offenders make lifestyle changes once they reenter society. In both careers, individuals may work with juvenile or adult offenders, and they interact with other criminal justice professionals, such as police officers and judges.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS stated that employment for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was anticipated to increase 18% from 2010-2020. The BLS reported in May 2012 that the median annual salary for a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist was $48,190.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics