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Careers in Human Development

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in human development. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and job growth stats.

What Careers Are Available in Human Development?

An education in human development can lead you to various career fields. Sociological researchers study humans in their natural habitats, studying the various influences on their actions. If you're more interested in ancient cultures and what made them tick, expand or disappear, you could pursue a career as an anthropological researcher. It could be you'd prefer to study the mental and emotional involvement in why humans do what they do, if so, psychology could be your chosen field.

Employees in human development research environmental and biological influences on the life long development of people. The table below lists some career facts for sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists working in this field.

Sociological Researchers Anthropological Researchers Psychological Researchers
Degree Required Graduate degree Graduate degree Graduate degree
Key Responsibilities Research social behavior within specific institutions to assist with public policy making Research the relationship between human culture, evolution and behavior Research human thought, motivation and abnormal behavior
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 9% (all sociologists) 10% (all anthropologists and archeologists) 14% (all psychologists)
Median Salary (2018)*$82,050 (all sociologists) $62,410 (all anthropologists and archeologists) $79,010 (all psychologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Human Development?

Human development is a multidisciplinary field informed by natural, life and social sciences, including anthropology, cognitive studies, biology and linguistics. The purpose of this field is to explore human life and development from a variety of biological, psychological and socio-cultural perspectives. Some of the core areas of concern in human development include lifespan development, family relations and sexuality.

What Positions Are Available?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates there are human development careers available within the area of scientific research and development. You may, for example, find a position in sociological, anthropological or psychological research. Sociological researchers might examine social behavior within a specific institution to assist with public policymaking.

If you're interested in anthropological research, you would likely study the complex relationship between human culture, evolution and behavior. Psychological research usually focuses on issues that relate to human thought, motivation and abnormal behavior.

In general, it's likely that you would need an advanced degree and additional certification to work in specialized positions, such as public health, clinical social work or genetic counseling. However, a bachelor's degree in human development could qualify you for a job as a family life educator, women's advocate, case manager or youth counselor.

How Can I Get Experience?

If you're still in school or you have recently graduated, you might want to speak with someone in your department about opportunities to work on faculty-based projects. You may also be interested in public agency opportunities, such as the American Human Development Project, which offers 2-3 month research internships. If you're a self-supporting graduate student, you might want to research potential internship opportunities with the United Nations Human Development Report Office.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a master's degree you can follow many related career paths. Becoming a historian, doing research and analysis of ancient or archived material, is one path open to you. You'd study material pertaining to past events and people. Maybe you'd choose work as an economist. An economist studies a company's or country's production and distribution system. You'd look into the information relating to resources, goods and services. Another employment choice could be in school and career counseling. This work has you with young people preparing them for a post high school education or a career field that best suits a student's abilities and interests.