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Careers in Human Development and Family Studies


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Graduates of human development and family studies programs are well positioned to pursue numerous career paths. The specialized knowledge gained during study prepares graduates to work in community-based social service agencies, early childhood education centers and programs, hospitals and hospice organizations, governmental and policy positions, and research, writing, and media development. Human development and family studies professionals may choose to work in preschool settings, and may find that their academic preparation provides them an opportunity to serve in a supervisory role. Their special knowledge of the early phases of the lifecycle may enable them to work as early intervention professionals, helping to spot and treat children’s development delays.

Many human development and family studies professionals focus on work with children, but as the population ages, more people will be needed to assist the growing senior population as well. If you love people and care about the quality of their lives, a career as a child and family development specialist may be a good fit for you. The education you receive with us will help you make your dreams of helping others a reality.

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Useful Skills within the Human Development and Family Studies Field

Decision Making - Weighing out the options in a situation or a problem and logically choosing the best course of action.

Listening - Paying attention to what other people are saying and taking time to understand the points being made.

Managing Time - Allocating and budgeting your time for different tasks so that things get done when needed.

Reading Comprehension - Ability to understand complex, written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.

Reasoning - Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

Speaking - Talking, giving speeches, or speaking in a group to convey information, explain ideas, or give instructions.

Writing and Authoring - Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.

Helping - Actively looking for ways to help people.

Teaching - Teaching others how to do something.

Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of the reactions of others and understanding why they react the way they do.

Problem Solving - Ability to identify a problem, review related information, develop and evaluate options, and implement a solution.

Managing People - Assigning duties to others, motivating them, and evaluating their performance.


Career Options

To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the human development and family studies field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.” In addition, seek out the advice of fellow students and alumni working in the industry in our mentoring program on The Quad (for current students and alumni only), or speak with a career coach.

As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience. The human development and family studies program is designed to help prepare candidates for the below positions:

Childcare Workers
Education Administrators Preschool, and Childcare Center/Program

Preschool Teachers
Social and Human Services Assistants

Other sample job titles:

Children's Advocate Coordinator
Family Day-Care Provider

Family Resource Coordinator
Hospital Child- and Family-Life Specialist

Positions that require additional education, certificates, or credentials are listed below. Many states have their own credentialing requirements and your degree may or may not meet their requirements. Please visit your state’s credentialing website for additional information on whether your chosen path requires specific credentials.

Child, Family, and School Social Workers
Education, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
Marriage and Family Therapists

Special Education Teacher, Preschool
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School
Teacher Assistant

Getting Started: Internships

Gaining real life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The following is a sample list of organizations that offer internships for undergraduate human development and family studies students:

Great Wall China Adoption Austin Internship
Haven Hospice Internship
National Council for Adoption Internship

Seasons Hospice Foundation Internship
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital Child Life Internship

Getting Hired: Government Agencies and Organizations

There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in human development and family studies. The list below provides a few examples of federal agencies and organizations where degree holders might find employment.

Child and Family Agency
Child and Family Services
Children Now
U.S. Department of Defense

Office of Head Start
U.S.Department of the Army
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of State


Keeping Current: Professional Organizations and Associations

Involvement in professional organizations is a great way to stay up-to-date on new technology, tools, and best practices in your field. Professional organizations are also a great networking opportunity. Below are a few professional organizations you may be interested in.

American School Health Association
Association for Early Learning Leaders
Child Life Council
Council for Professional Recognition
Division for Early Childhood
National Association for the Education of Young Children
National Association for Family Child Care
National Child Care Association
The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)
National Head Start Association
Society for Research in Child Development

Conferences and Expositions

Parent & Family Engagement Conference
Sept. 25-29, 2016
Washington, D.C.

American School Health Association
Oct. 6-8, 2016
Baltimore, Md.

Association for Early Learning Leaders Annual National Conference
April 27-29, 2017
Orlando, Fla.

Child Life Council’s Annual Conference
May 25-28, 2017
Las Vegas, Nev.

NAEYC Annual Conference & Expo
Nov. 2-5, 2016
Los Angeles, Calif.

NCFR Annual Conference
Nov. 2-5, 2016
Minneapolis, Minn.

Get Connected: Social Media

A login may be required for access to social media.

The National Association for Child Development (NACD) - Facebook
The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) - Facebook
School of Education - Facebook, LinkedIn

Quick Links

The National Center for Alternative Certification (This is for students that may lack the education courses needed for certification but who want to teach. Check your individual states requirements to ensure the certification is accepted in the state you intend to teach.)
U.S. Department of Education


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