Both two-year associate and four-year bachelor's degrees in family and consumer education, also called home economics, include general education courses as well as basic home economics instruction in areas such as household finance, early childhood development, and nutrition. Bachelor's programs that include student-teaching experiences can lead to teacher certification at the elementary, middle school, or high school levels. On an individual level, the skills gained from education in this discipline can greatly enhance a student's financial well-being and personal relationships. Prerequisites for both associate and bachelor's degrees in family and consumer education include a high school diploma or GED.
Associate Degree in Home Economics
A number of community colleges offer associate degree programs in family and consumer education, a field related to home economics. Students in these programs learn to manage household personal finances, relate to family members, and plan meals. Programs offer electives in family health, weight control, and early childhood development. While graduates can apply the skills they learn in these programs to their own lives, many continue their educations and earn teaching certifications.
The coursework in family and consumer education associate degree programs emphasizes practical skills in personal budgeting, childrearing, and interpersonal communications. Many programs also teach the methods that secondary school educators use to instruct others on these concepts. Some possible classes are:
- Food management
- Family finances
- Making clothing
- Maintaining family relationships
- Education theories
Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics
Bachelor's degree programs in home economics prepare students to educate others in matters related to personal finances, resource management, and interpersonal communications. Graduates are prepared for careers as educators, teaching home economic concepts to high school students. Some programs require candidates to complete student teaching assignments before graduation. Applicants to home economics bachelor's degree programs should have strong math skills and need to have some experience with macroeconomics and microeconomics.
Home economics bachelor's degree programs teach students how to manage, analyze, and teach the fundamentals of household resource management. Students also learn about textiles, nutrition and management concepts. Typical coursework includes:
- Consumer textiles
- Life management
- Consumer contentiousness
- Parental education
Popular Career Options
People who earn associate degrees in family and consumer education often continue to earn bachelor's degrees and teaching certifications. Graduates may complete continuing education requirements and pursue careers such as:
- Elementary school teacher
- Secondary school teacher
- Preschool teacher
People who earn bachelor's degrees in home economics often become educators. Those who don't become educators have the skills necessary for entry-level careers in finance, design, or nutrition. Available career options include the following:
- High school teacher
- Personal finance consultant
- Interior designer
Continuing Education Information
Since many associate degree programs in family and consumer education provide the groundwork for careers as teachers, graduates often continue their educations to meet state teaching standards. Most states require teachers to hold at least bachelor's degrees. Additionally, teachers need to pass state certification exams for the grade level and subject they would like to teach.
Some bachelor's degree programs include coursework leading to state teaching certification; alternative teaching certification programs are available for home economics graduates who did not receive certification as part of their undergraduate programs. A limited number of master's degree programs in home economics are available, some of which allow students to specialize in areas like nutrition or textiles.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in the field of high school education are expected to grow by 6% in the years between 2014 and 2024. The median annual salary in the industry was $57,200 in 2015.
Associate and bachelor's degrees in family and consumer education, also known as home economics, include instruction in nutrition, family and personal finance, and early childhood development. Graduated often have careers in elementary and secondary education, financial consulting and interior design.