Degree programs in family resource management, or family and consumer sciences train students in areas that support families and communities. Common degrees in this field include Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences, Graduate Certificate in Family Life Education, and Master of Family Resource Management. Program fields include human services, human development, family sciences, social work, family counselling, public health, and more.
Admission into 4-year bachelor's programs requires a high school diploma, while graduate certificates and master's degree programs require a bachelor's degree. It takes 1-2 semesters of full-time study for a graduate certificate and 2 years for a master's degree.
Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences
Some family and consumer sciences programs allow students to take up a concentration in family resources, while others simply offer coursework in the field. These programs train students in community resource management by offering courses in human development, consumer economics and family relations. Students learn to gauge family and individual well-being according to their financial, psychological, biological, cultural and social health.
Students study different family functions and management of family resources through courses in:
- Interpersonal relationships
- Financial management
- Adolescent development
Graduate Certificate in Family Life Education
Students in the graduate certificate program gain understanding on how societies see individuals fitting into the larger picture as they age. Students are taught how to use resources to meet goals, plan for future needs and prepare for changing social dynamics. These programs put focus on the importance of family relationships developing within the community so needed resources can be allocated as necessary.
Studying the following topics helps prepare graduates for the field:
- Human sexuality
- Family communication
- Families and society
- Public policies
Master's Degrees Covering Family Resource Management
Concentrations and courses in family resource management can be found in family studies and consumer sciences programs. These programs prepare graduates for various careers in related fields. Some programs focus on how individuals and families interact with the marketplace as consumers, while others concentrate on family life education, family relations or youth development. Programs include coursework in consumption patterns, community resources, family theories, and economic changes as individuals age. In consumer-focused programs, graduate students investigate new technologies, such as digital customer loyalty cards. Other programs cover research methods and ethical issues in family resource management.
Class topics can also include:
- Family finance
- Consumer behavior
- Human development
- Global marketplace issues
- Family interaction
Popular Career Options
Because training in this field covers so many areas, graduates are able to apply their academic background in the social sciences to a large variety of careers. Examples of jobs that graduates trained in parenting, human development and family economics might be qualified to hold include:
- Financial consultant
- Family advocate
- Parent educator
- Nutrition educator
- Textbook writer
Given the wide spectrum of training available, graduates are prepared for many different types of jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job projections for 2014-2024, preschool teachers were expected to see a 7% employment jump (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that these professionals earned a median annual income of $28,570 as of May 2015. The BLS also showed an anticipated 12% rise in employment opportunities for child, family, and school social workers from 2014-2024. These social workers earned an annual median wage of $42,350 as of May 2015. Market research analysts, according to 2014-2024 BLS predictions, could expect to see a 19% increase in jobs available to them. The May 2015 BLS salary reports showed that market research analysts took home a median annual wage of $62,150.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) administrates the Certified Family Life Educator credentialing program (www.ncfr.org). Recent graduates of programs approved by the NCFR do not need to take an examination to demonstrate competency. Other applicants must take a 150-question examination and submit an official transcript.
Those interested in obtaining full, non-provisional certification must also demonstrate professional work experience in the field and submit an employer assessment of their skills. Once provisionally certified and educators earn sufficient work experience, they are able to upgrade their certification to full status; provisional membership is only available for up to five years.
Certification maintenance requires the completion of 100 hours of continuing education credits every five years, in addition to paying an annual fee. Conference attendance, original work experience and workshops all count towards continuing education hours.
Ph.D. programs are available in both consumer sciences and family studies, for those interested in research-based careers or careers in academia. These programs require completion of 75-85 credit hours for students entering with a master's degree.
Certificates and degree programs in family resource management educate students in human development, consumer economics, and the relationship between family and community wellness. Graduates often enter careers that include social work, teaching, or market research.