The field of home economics, also known as family and consumer sciences, is concerned with improving and protecting the lives of individuals, families and communities. Home economists work in schools, social services agencies, crisis clinics, extension agencies and a host of other public and private organizations. As such, subject matter in the study of home economics covers a gamut of topics and issues, including: life span human development; family relationships; economics; education; food and nutrition; health; consumer advocacy; and sustainable living, to name only a few.
Bachelor's and master's degrees in home economics may be obtained via online study at many schools. In fact, some programs offer 100% online courses. Students may need to have some specialized software to access these courses, such as Blackboard. Other schools offer hybrid programs that require students to take classes on campus at least some of the time. Most programs require internships that students can usually complete near their homes.
Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics
Home economics covers an amazing array of topics and issues, including life span human development, family relationships, economics, education, food and nutrition, health, consumer advocacy and sustainable living, to name only a few. Classes are linked through an interdisciplinary perspective. In addition to online coursework, most programs require students to complete internships.
Program Information and Requirements
Home economics bachelor programs take about four years to complete. They are usually offered in hybrid format, with most courses available online and some on campus. Internships may be fulfilled through local agencies and organizations. Study is self-paced within the school's scheduled terms. Interaction with teachers and other students occurs via e-mail, live chat and sometimes phone conferences.
List of Common Courses
In addition to core home economics courses, undergraduates must fulfill general education requirements, including math, science, language arts and history.
Balancing Work with Family Life
This online course examines issues that may arise when trying to combine work and family life. Topics include child care, child development, marriage, finances, family member relationships and household responsibilities.
As humans age, their roles in family, society and culture change. These sometimes difficult changes are explored in the context of relationships, policies and services that involve the elderly.
This class teaches students about managing family or personal finances in order to meet responsibilities and achieve goals. Community financial classes and counseling resources are discussed.
Contemporary Housing Issues
Access to housing is an important national issue. Affordability, environmental considerations and public housing policies are discussed.
Master's Degree in Home Economics
Online master's degree programs are designed for working home economists who want to pursue field specialties. For example, in addition to core family and consumer science classes, students might choose to focus on nutrition or home economics education. Students should be aware that the concentration chosen may require an in-person practicum or internship.
Program Information and Requirements
Master's degree programs in home economics take 2-3 years to complete. While students work at their own learning paces, they are urged to communicate with teachers and fellow students on a regular basis. Most classes are available online, with internships and practicums available through local participating institutions.
Technical requirements match those of online bachelor's programs. Specialized distance learning software, such as Blackboard, may be used. Access to e-mail, the Internet, Adobe Reader, Real Player and Flash Player may be required to participate in classroom activities. Technical support is offered through most schools.
List of Common Courses
Stages of Learning from Birth to Eight Years
Information on how children learn through relationships with parents, teachers and family are examined; aspects of cultural diversity are also discussed. Instructional materials and resources that augment the learning environment are discussed and evaluated.
Managing Resources for Special Populations
Those living with special circumstances, such as low income, advanced age or physical disability, need to adapt and allocate resources accordingly. This class presents effective management strategies for dealing with these special circumstances.
This course offers a discussion of how education can foster culturally diverse perspectives. Students review and critique historical practices and policies that have affected various populations in the U.S.
History of Home Economics
Students review the development of the profession and how it has affected families, communities and legislation at both local and national levels. The core mission and philosophy of advocating for human well-being is emphasized.
The 'home economist' job title is not specifically listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but 'farm and home management advisors' includes the profession. In 2015, the median annual salary for farm and home management advisors was $49,190 according to the BLS (www.bls.gov). Job growth for farm and home management advisors has been predicted to rise at a rate of 11% over the 2014-2024 time period, according to the BLS.
Several home economics specialties are available at the master's level. The two previously mentioned, nutrition and home economics education, are described by the BLS. The growth rate for dietician and nutritionist jobs was predicted to be about 16% during 2014-2024, according to the BLS. Those with advanced degrees will have the best opportunities. In 2015, nutritionists and dieticians earned a median salary of $57,910, reported the BLS.
The BLS estimate for the number of postsecondary home economics teachers employed in 2015 was 3,650. Job growth for this profession was predicted to drop by 12% over the 2014-2024 decade. Median wages in 2015 were $64,950, according to the BLS.
Home economics or family and consumer sciences programs are available 100% online at the bachelor's and master's degree levels; in addition to the online coursework, internships are common in these programs. A home economics degree will provide students with practical and theoretical knowledge of relationships, nutrition, health, sustainable living and other aspects of human life.