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Family Studies Major Requirements and Career Information

Both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree programs are available in the field of family studies and human development, which focuses on human development throughout the lifespan in the context of families and other communities.

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Essential Information

Graduates of family studies bachelor's degree programs are prepared to make a difference in the community by helping married couples through relationship issues, helping parents raise healthy and productive children, and providing social services for senior citizens. Most degrees require internships, and many incorporate research projects as well.


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  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Child Care Management
  • Child Care Services
  • Child Development
  • Community Organization and Advocacy
  • Family and Community Services
  • Family Systems
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Social Work
  • Youth Services

Bachelor's Degree in Family Studies

Students planning a family studies major must first be accepted into a college or university offering the program, which requires proof of graduation from high school or GED completion. Once admitted, students may need to complete core courses in English, history, and science before declaring a major in family studies. Some states require a criminal background check before allowing students to work directly with children and families.

Coursework for a family studies major includes basic social science classes, as well as courses specific to working with families. Courses covered in most programs include:

  • Psychology and sociology
  • Human, adult, adolescent, and child development
  • Marriage and family relationships
  • Family counseling
  • Parenting
  • Statistics

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Family studies-related employment can be divided into careers in marriage and family therapy and careers in social work and counseling serving children, families, and schools. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) projects a 15% growth in job opportunities in marriage and family therapy between 2014 and 2024. Job expansion for social workers in child, family, and school specialties is projected at 6% during the same timeframe. Median earnings in these fields were $23.37 an hour for marriage and family therapists and $20.36 per hour for child, family, and school social workers, as reported by the BLS in May 2015.

Popular Career Options

Careers serving older people and helping people with addictions are expected to have some of the fastest job growth. A bachelor's degree in family studies can lead to jobs in nursing homes or hospitals, government agencies, personnel offices, or non-profit human service agencies. Possible jobs include:

  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Case manager
  • Parent educator
  • Nursing home activities director
  • Preschool teacher
  • Supervisor of a shelter for the homeless

Continuing Education Information

Receiving a bachelor's degree in family studies opens the way for students to move on to a master's degree program and even a doctoral program. The master's degree allows student to become a full-fledged counselor or social worker, as well as opening more leadership and management job opportunities.

Family studies and human development bachelor's degrees open up doors to a wide variety of helping professions, including counselor and social work case manager. These programs can also lead to master's and eventually doctoral degree programs.

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