Students can take certificate courses or earn a bachelor's degree in family and consumer science. Specializations, such as nutrition, textiles and clothing and interior design, may be offered by some schools. Online courses and programs are available.
Most schools require a high school diploma or GED for entrance into certificate and bachelor's degree programs. Because most bachelor's degree programs in family and consumer sciences are centered on a teaching career, there are many education components involved in the required courses. In addition, nearly all bachelor's degree programs in this area require a practicum or student teaching in a real-world environment.
Certificate in Family and Consumer Sciences
A certificate program in family and consumer sciences can give students a strong background in life skills, such as finance, design, and family dynamics. Some general certificate programs prepare students for further training in specialty areas, including child care, home health care and convalescent care. Other programs focus on concentrations in commercial fields like fashion merchandising.
Students enrolled in a certificate program in family and consumer sciences take a variety of courses related to family life, health, and design. Common courses include:
- Consumer economics
- Culinary skills
- Child development
- Family studies
- Interior design
Bachelor's Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences
Bachelor's degree programs in family and consumer sciences generally are designed to prepare students to teach in vocational, non-vocational, extension program, and public school settings. Curricula tend to include a broad general education component as well as specific training in family and consumer science areas and teaching techniques. Students who want to pursue teaching careers might need to complete additional training in education before obtaining a teaching license. Graduates also can work as family and consumer scientists, advising corporations and government agencies.
Courses might include:
- Human development
- Family relationships
- Food preparation
- Interior design
- Apparel design
- Personal finance
Popular Career Options
Graduates of certificate programs in family and consumer sciences frequently work in service professions. They have a high level of contact with the public and could use their skills to help others improve their own lives. Potential career fields include:
- Interior design
- Fashion merchandising
- Dietary assistance
- Consumer education
- Child care
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that career and technical education high school teachers, such as those who teach family and consumer sciences, can expect no change in employment growth between 2014 and 2024; career and technical education teachers, in general, should expect a four percent increase in employment opportunities. As of May 2015, the BLS also states that 50% of middle school vocational teachers earned between $44,710 and $68,630 per year, while half of secondary school vocational teachers earned between $45,490 and $69,620 annually (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Many schools that offer certificate programs in family and consumer sciences also offer associate's degrees. Certificate recipients can often complete additional courses in general studies areas, such as English and math, to complete an associate's degree. In some cases, coursework from a certificate or associate's degree program can be applied toward a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences.
All 50 states have licensure requirements for teachers who intend to work in the public school system, according to the BLS. As a result, most states require aspiring teachers to take teacher education courses while pursuing their bachelor's degrees. Teachers could also be required to pass a competency exam and take continuing education classes to maintain their licenses.
Graduates of bachelor's degree programs also might want to advance their careers by enrolling in a master's degree program in family and consumer sciences. Some states require teachers to earn a master's degree after they have begun their teaching career. Most master's degree programs require specialization in a field such as design, nutrition, finance, or human development, but some are comprehensive in nature.
Students interested in family and consumer sciences can pursue a certificate program to work in service professions or earn a bachelor's degree to prepare to work as licensed teachers in the field. Graduates will need to comply with their state's licensure requirements and can pursue higher education if they would like.