Family Studies and Human Development

Find out how a degree in family studies and human development can prepare you for a career in childcare or social work. Get job growth, salary and licensing information for childcare providers and social workers here.

Are Family Studies and Human Development for Me?

Career Overview

If you want training in family studies and human development, it could lead you to a number of careers in social work and childcare. Child and family social workers help families with social and psychological issues, assist neglected children and help foster healthy development in children. Social workers can be found in many different settings, including schools, government agencies and private family service businesses.

Duties and Responsibilities

Child care workers provide basic care needs, education, socialization and supervision for both preschool and school-age children. They may also teach self-care skills, such as brushing teeth, through play and learning activities. Childcare may be based at the child's or childcare worker's home or at a daycare center. Both social work and childcare are challenging professions, calling for patience, stamina and maturity, in addition to your formal education and training.

Employment and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that childcare and social workers would see favorable job opportunities from 2012-2022, with job growth rates of 14% and 19%, respectively. Rural areas may offer especially good opportunities for social workers. The BLS stated that in May 2012, childcare workers earned a median annual wage of $19,600, while child and family social workers received $42,120 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Family Studies and Human Development?

Education

The amount of education you'd require depends on your career goals. Private childcare providers may not need postsecondary education. Publicly funded programs, however, generally have higher education requirements.

Associate Degree Programs

An associate's degree in human services is a good path into social work, preparing you for many entry-level positions in family services. Training topics usually include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), child development, human behavior and nutrition. You may also learn how to manage a classroom, study children's literature or become familiar with social issues and welfare. If you don't want to enroll in a two-year degree program, a certificate in early childhood education would prepare you for jobs in daycare or home settings.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Most entry-level social work positions require an undergraduate degree, such as a bachelor's degree in social work. Many of these programs include internships for practical experience.

Master's Degree Programs

A graduate degree is needed to work in most school and clinical social work settings, and a master's degree in social services with a concentration in children and families could be a good option. You'd learn about family needs and challenges, as well as the resources with which to respond, including counseling, community programs and political action.

Licensing and Certification

It's a good idea to explore licensing requirements in your state. Private childcare workers who only look after a few children usually do not need to be licensed; however, childcare certifications, such as the Child Development Associate credential, may give you an edge over others with similar experience and education. Though specific rules vary, social workers in all states must be licensed. Supervised practical experience is usually required in addition to an academic degree.

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