Career Information for a Degree in Human Development or Family Studies

Sep 26, 2019

Degree programs in human development or family studies typically cover human and family dynamics. Find out about the requirements for these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for graduates.

Social workers, school and career counselors, public relations specialists and probation officers can all prepare for their career with a degree in human development or family studies. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for social workers and public relations specialists; school and career counselors need a master's degree in their field.

Essential Information

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.

Career Social Worker School and Career Counselor Public Relations Specialist
Required Education Bachelor's degree; master's degree for clinical social workers Master's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 11% 8% 6%
Median Salary (2018)* $49,470 $56,310 $60,000

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

After receiving a degree, students have several choices when it comes to selecting a career path. Individuals favoring a profession centered around interpersonal communication and cultivating personal relationships can opt to become social workers or school and career counselors, since these jobs require workers to develop a connection with their patients. Another such option is probation officer, which necessitates communication with both law enforcement officials and criminal offenders. Meanwhile, individuals who prefer corporate strategies and relationships can seek employment as public relations specialists. These professionals protect companies and attempt to present a favorable image to the general public.

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.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment for social workers was expected to increase 11% from 2018-2028 ( In May 2018, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for child and family social workers was $46,270, while healthcare social workers earned $56,200. Social workers in the area of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health earned a median of $44,630 per year.

School and Career Counselors

School and career 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 school counselors, which may include earning a graduate degree and/or teacher certification.

The BLS stated that overall employment for school and career counselors was expected to increase 8% from 2018-2028. The BLS stated in May 2018 that the annual median salary for a school and career counselor was $56,310.

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.

According to the BLS, employment for PR specialists was expected to grow by 6% from 2018-2028. The BLS indicated in May 2018 that the median annual salary for PR specialists was $60,000.

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.

The BLS stated that employment for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists was anticipated to increase 3% from 2018-2028. The BLS reported in May 2018 that the median annual salary for a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist was $53,020.

Social workers help individuals with issues such as disabilities, addictions, or illness; school and career counselors work with students to help them plan their course of studies to prepare for their intended career. Public relations specialists work to develop and maintain a favorable public view of their clients, while probation officers work with criminals released from jail. All of these professions can expect job growth from 2018 to 2028, with social workers and school and career counselors expecting the highest rates of growth of these professions during this time period.

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