Family Studies Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for a family studies career. Get the facts about education requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Child & Adolescent Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Career Is Available in Family Studies?

Family study workers specialize in helping families and individuals within the family dynamic make their way through socialization within the home and the local community. These issues could include such things as health considerations and lifelong wellness problems. It could also be observing young clients in their family setting and study the relationships between family members.

The family studies career focuses on the relationships between people and their families in relation to their environment. The table below outlines the general requirements for this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's, master's, doctoral degree
Education Field of Study Diversity effects, counseling, family structure, social policies
Key Responsibilities Monitor children in different settings, observe and assist families in coping with various issues, assist relationships between adolescents and their parents
Licensure Required Licensure is required for most states.
Job Growth (2014-24) 12% for all social workers*
Median Salary (2015) $45,900 for social workers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics'

What Is Family Studies?

The field of family studies is concerned with the relationships between individuals, families and the collective socio-cultural experience. It's a multidisciplinary field that focuses on life-long development issues that pertain to all facets of health and wellness, including the efficiency of healthcare delivery systems.

Where Might I Work?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a number of government and government-sponsored programs address the needs of individual families and their communities (www.hhs.gov). You may also explore opportunities in clinical practice, academia, research-based programs or non-profit service delivery agencies.

The HHS has 11 operating divisions, eight agencies and 3 human services agencies. HHS also supports the Administration for Children and Families, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and Office for Civil Rights. The HHS also handles Medicare and Medicaid programs. You might also consider programs funded by the Recovery Act that provide community-based health and wellness support services to children and families.

Working with veterans and their families may give you the opportunity to address issues that adversely affect the family system when parents are deployed . According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, these include acting-out, fear for the absent parent's well-being and stress over financial issues (www.ptsd.va.gov). Furthermore, other issues may arise when a parent suffers from a debilitating injury, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

Will I Need a Bachelor's Degree?

Before you decide what degree to pursue, you may consider whether you're interested in a research or service-delivery career. While there may be some overlap, many degree programs distinguish between these two choices. For many professional-level positions, a bachelor's degree may not be sufficient. Master's and doctoral degrees are usually required for professional-level positions, such as counselor, social worker, researcher and professor.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the minimum degree requirement for entry-level positions in social work is a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). This level of education may prepare you for positions such as caseworker or residential counselor. Accredited social worker programs will require you to complete 400 supervised hours in the field. The BLS notes the job outlook for 2014-2024 for all social workers is 12%. The same source reports the median salary for social workers in May 2015 was $45,900.

Some undergraduate programs may focus on the effects of diversity, family structure and social policies, while others may focus on counseling and other types of service provisions. Issues related to adults and aging is another concentration you might explore. You may be required to participate in research studies, service learning and para-professional internships.

Should I Obtain an Advanced Degree?

You will most likely need a master's degree in social work to be employed in clinical settings or in social policy administration. If you're interested in teaching at the university level, the BLS indicates that you would probably need a doctoral degree.Most states require social workers to be licensed; you'll need to check with your state regarding licensure and certification.

Graduate programs usually focus on theoretical research methods and applications. You may study how children function in day care centers, how adolescents interact with their parents or how families cope with trauma, disease and domestic violence. While the specific goals of each program will vary, their general purpose is to promote the understanding of family systems with the intent to address individual, family and social needs.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's degree, a related field might include social and community service managers. These professionals will work with organizations to supervise social service centers and organize the staff and the various programs. A master's degree could help to find employment as a mental health counselor where the advanced education is used to help clients with emotional or mental disorders. They help with the development of life strategies to deal with triggers to emotional problems. A final career field is in psychology that needs a doctorate to work with people who may have behavioral problems. This could require observation, analysis and recording of the client's issues. Afterward, they will be able to discuss proper treatment with their client.

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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  • Capella University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • Maryville University

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  • Saint Leo University

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  • Penn Foster High School

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