What Is Family Studies?

Do you want to help the families in your community? Do you enjoy studying psychology and sociology? Are you interested in family dynamics and development? If so, you might consider entering the family studies field. Family studies involves examining the changes individuals undergo in life and understanding how these fit into complex family dynamics. Schools offering Child & Adolescent Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Overview

Individuals and families interact with each other and grow or change with time. If you choose the family studies field, you'll likely learn to support healthy interactions within families, as well as between families and outside institutions. You might concentrate on how individuals change, from birth to death, and how this growth affects family relationships. A common goal of this field is to create family environments where all members can thrive.

Important Facts about Family Services Occupations

Social Service Assistants Elementary Teachers
Median Salary (2014) $29,790 $54,120
Entry-level Education High school diploma or equivalent Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 22% 12%
Similar Occupations Health Educators, Social Workers Preschool Teachers, Childcare Workers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Benefits to the Community

As a professional in the family studies field, you would work toward building and maintaining healthy families, whether you were performing counseling or research. You also could become a teacher who is sensitive to the needs of children who have behavioral problems. The benefits family studies professionals provide extend beyond individual families. By keeping families functioning at their healthiest, you would be contributing to the health of larger communities.


Family studies programs can be found at all academic levels, from associate to doctoral degree programs. Some of these programs, especially at the bachelor's degree level, are called human development or family sciences. Classes you'll take in a family studies program might include parenting, family resource management, aging issues and the family, adolescent development, human sexuality, and psychology.

Potential Careers

You'll have career options in a variety of fields if you choose to earn a degree in family studies. If you're interested in education, a family studies program can teach you skills that are helpful in being a teacher, although you might have to pursue licensure separately. You'll also likely have skills that could be applied to counseling services, youth program administration, hospice programs, and family outreach positions. Family studies students can even work in politics; for example, you could become a lobbyist or advocate for family rights.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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