Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher

Family and consumer sciences teachers prepare students for life as independent individuals, parents and spouses. Learn more about academic programs and job responsibilities, as well as career outlook and salary potential for this field.

Is Family and Consumer Sciences Education for Me?

Career Overview

Family and consumer sciences teachers, also called career and technical teachers or home economics teachers, provide students with skills they can use in the adult world. You may teach students how to handle relationships, finances, health and time management. You may also instruct them on cooking and sewing. Middle schools, high schools and community colleges may employ family and consumer sciences teachers. You may also teach in non-traditional classrooms, such as the Head, Heart, Hands and Health (4-H) Club, a youth program administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Employment Outlook

As of May 2012, about 614,000 people taught middle school, and over 955,000 instructors taught high school, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Employment was expected to increase by six percent for high school teachers and 12% for middle school teachers between 2012 and 2022. At the postsecondary level, there were 4,700 people who taught home economics, and the BLS projected that postsecondary teaching positions would increase by 19% between 2012 and 2022.

Salary Statistics

The BLS stated that as of May 2013, the median annual salary for high school teachers was $55,360, and middle school teachers made a median wage of $53,940. The median annual salary for postsecondary home economics teachers was $62,740 as of May 2013. Many 4-H positions are volunteer positions, but you can have the opportunity to mentor students towards a productive adult life.

How Can I Work in Family and Consumer Sciences Education?

Educational Requirements

To become a home economics teacher at a middle school or a high school, you must have at least a bachelor's degree and student teaching experience. You must then pass the licensing exam administered by your state's board of education. Bachelor's degree programs are available in family and consumer sciences, sometimes with an education option. Some family and consumer sciences programs might require you to earn a separate teaching certification.

Topics of Study

Through a bachelor's degree program in family and consumer sciences, you may take a variety of arts courses, including textiles, design and culinary arts. Other family and consumer sciences courses address math and science through studies in human development, familial relationships, cultural studies and personal finance. In your teaching courses, you can study classroom management, educational psychology, curriculum development and lesson planning. You must also complete a student teaching experience. Some family and consumer sciences schools offer specializations in areas like food and nutrition, fashion merchandising and family studies.

Graduate Program Options

You must have at least a master's degree to teach at the postsecondary level, and most 4-year colleges and universities require that you have a doctorate. Through a master's degree program, you may explore trends in family and consumer sciences, nutrition, advanced studies in finance, interior design and adult life. Research is another component of the degree program. You may conduct research in a certain area of family and consumer sciences, such as financial management, work and family, childcare or teaching.

Necessary Skills

According to the BLS, teachers should be creative, patient, knowledgeable and dependable. They must be able to gain their students' trust, inspire their confidence and encourage them to excel. You need to be able to work with students from a variety of cultural and economic backgrounds. Family and consumer sciences teachers need to have skills in a variety of areas, including culinary arts, child development and interior design.

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