How to Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Studies Online
Students who earn a degree in human development and family studies learn how individuals grow and develop over a lifetime. They also explore ways that people relate to their own families and form relationships between families. Graduates work in many fields that provide human-related services, including education, social work, public health, and criminal justice. Many career paths in this field offer faster-than-average projected job growth and the opportunity to help people improve their lives.
This page explains the job outlook and salary potential for professionals who hold an accredited online bachelor's degree in human development and family studies. The page also explains curriculum and concentration options, financial aid and scholarships available, and the importance of attending an accredited program.
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How Much Can You Make in a Human Development and Family Studies Career?
Students who graduate from the best online human development and family studies schools can find many potential careers. Graduates in this field typically pursue occupations in human and social services. This includes career paths such as social worker, social and community service manager, health educator, and probation officer.
Accredited human development and family studies degrees prepare students for these careers by helping them understand how people develop, grow, and form relationships over time. Human development and family studies professionals use this insight to help people make healthier choices about their relationships and other life decisions. No degree can guarantee a career or salary; however, the list below describes some possible human development and family studies careers.
Social workers help individuals find practical solutions to problems in their daily lives. Clinical social workers also diagnose and treat people with emotional, mental, and behavioral issues. They work in schools, human service agencies, mental health clinics, and private practices. Some social workers specialize in an area such as schools, healthcare, children and family, or substance abuse. Social worker typically must have a master's degree, but some states allow individuals with a bachelor's to obtain entry-level or support roles.
Social and Community Service Managers
Social and community service managers supervise and coordinate community groups and social service agencies. They often work for nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and private social service groups. When they work for large organizations, these professionals often have specialized focus areas; in small organizations, they take on many different tasks. They identify useful programs with community stakeholders, analyze data, and evaluate program effectiveness.
Health Educators and Community Health Workers
Health educators and community health workers promote health and wellness by educating individuals and communities about health-related best practices. They also collect health data, create and implement health promotion plans, and discuss health concerns with communities. They work in many settings, including colleges, healthcare facilities, nonprofits, private business, and public health departments.
Social and Human Service Assistants
Social and human service assistants support families and offer client services in many fields, including social work, psychology, and rehabilitation. They assist social workers and other professionals and help people access needed community services or benefits. They typically work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit social service agencies. They often work with specific populations, such as children, veterans, the elderly, and immigrants.
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists provide services to parolees and probationers. They help rehabilitate offenders and connect them with social services. They assess progress, determine rehabilitation plans, offer substance abuse counseling and drug tests, and write reports on offenders. Their work can often prove stressful and sometimes dangerous.
Salaries and projected job growth for human development and family studies professionals vary based on many factors. Wages vary based on factors such as type of industry or employer, employee credentials, employee experience and skill, and job tasks.
Geographic location can also majorly impact potential salary and job growth. Urban areas and expensive states tend to pay workers more to compensate for the cost of living. States with high concentrations of human development and family studies jobs include California, New York, and Pennsylvania. The list below shows the salary and job growth data for human development and family studies professionals for all states.
What Courses Can Be Taken for an Online HDFS Degree?
Bachelor's in human development and family studies programs typically require coursework in areas such as child, adolescent, and adult development; research methods; and professional skills development. Consult the table below for a sampling of coursework from an online human development and family studies program.
This is just an example of the types of courses these programs may require. Student should contact prospective programs directly to learn about specific courses, core requirements, electives, and degree requirements.
Infant and Child DevelopmentStudents learn about human development from conception to adolescence. The course explores physical, social, and cognitive development, as well as how children form relationships.
Family and Parenthood Across the Life CycleThis class looks at parenthood and family dynamics across the life cycle. Students explore diverse family situations, and the course prepares graduates to work with families and parents in many settings.
Couple and Family StudiesLearners explore couple and family dynamics in various social contexts. They learn about the theories and research on families and couples, including multiple views on how families and couples change over time.
Professional Skills DevelopmentStudents learn to integrate their human development and family studies background in professional settings. Topics include professional presence, skills, and development.
Applied Research MethodsThis class teaches students to interpret, apply, and research human development findings. Learners discuss scientific approaches to solving human development and family studies problems.
How to Choose the Best Online Human Development and Family Studies Program
Students need to consider many factors when they choose an online human development and family studies school. Considerations include program reputation, classes and minors offered, accreditation status, program requirements, cost of tuition, time commitment, and faculty. Program choice is usually a very personal decision. For example, students concerned with finding an affordable program should prioritize cost and program length.
Q. How should I choose my human development and family studies courses?
Human development and family studies bachelor's degree online programs typically post requirements and course descriptions online. You can consult a school's course list to locate the human development and family studies courses most relevant to your interests. Look to see what each school offers for electives and how these can support a human development and family studies major.
Q. What should I pay attention to when looking at faculty of human development and family studies bachelor's programs?
Look for programs with experienced faculty members who hold doctoral degrees. If you hope to specialize in an area of human development and family studies, find out if any faculty members conduct research in your area of interest. Some programs offer formal and informal faculty mentorship programs for students.
Q. Are there differences between earning an on-campus or online bachelor's degree in human development and family studies?
Earning a human development and family studies bachelor's degree online offers greater flexibility and convenience for working students and those with other personal commitments. Curriculum and program requirements for online and in-person programs closely resemble each other. You can contact programs directly to learn about substantive differences between earning a degree on campus or online.
Q. How will earning a human development and family studies bachelor's degree help me reach my goals?
Earning a bachelor's in human development and family studies can help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to qualify for many positions in this field. Employers frequently require or prefer applicants to hold at least a bachelor's degree. Enrolling in a human development program also offers networking and mentorship opportunities, along with support from your school's career center.
Q. Do bachelor's in human development and family studies online programs require internships?
Most online human development and family studies bachelor's programs do not require internships. In many cases, students can optionally enroll in an internship. Programs that do require an internship typically let students complete in-person professional experiences in their local communities.
Q. Is it important to earn my human development and family studies bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school?
Yes. Attending a regionally accredited college offers many benefits. Accredited colleges provide reassurance that you will receive a high-quality education. Attending a regionally accredited college also increases your chances of qualifying for federal financial aid and your ability to transfer credits to another program. If you decide to earn a graduate degree later, most programs include an accredited bachelor's degree as an eligibility requirement.
Q. How long do most human development and family studies bachelor's programs take to complete?
Most full-time human development and family studies bachelor's programs take four years to complete. Some online programs offer an accelerated option that lets students graduate more quickly by taking more credits each term and attending classes year-round. Program completion time for part-time learners varies depending on how many credits they take each term.
Scholarships and Financial Aid for HDFS Programs
Students who earn their bachelor's degree in human development and family studies online can choose from many ways to pay for their education. Sources of financial aid often include student loans, grants, and scholarships. Grants and scholarships are the best method because they do not require repayment. The following section includes a sampling of a few of the scholarships available to human development and family studies students.
Scholarships and Financial Aid for HDFS Programs
||Who Can Apply
American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Undergraduate Scholarship
||AAFCS coordinates several scholarships for undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor's degree in human development, family studies, consumer sciences, or a related field. Check the AAFCS website for information about award amounts and eligibility criteria for each particular scholarship.
Ann-Marie Ogletree Child Development Scholarship
||The Cleveland Foundation awards this $1,200 scholarship to students pursuing a degree in child development, counseling, or a related field. Applicants must be from the greater Cleveland area, hold a minimum 2.75 GPA, demonstrate financial need, and enroll or plan to enroll in an accredited college. Recipients must maintain full-time enrollment and a minimum 2.0 GPA each term.
Bethesda Lutheran Communities Scholarships
||Bethesda Lutheran Communities awards five $3,000 scholarships annually to undergraduate students pursuing a degree related to serving people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Applicants must be an active member of a Lutheran congregation and a junior or senior at an accredited college. Candidates should hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.
||Bethesda Lutheran Communities awards five scholarships annually to undergraduate students pursuing a degree related to serving people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Applicants must be an active member of a Lutheran congregation and a junior or senior at an accredited college. Candidates should hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Bright Futures Scholarship
||The Bright Futures Scholarship Program offers scholarships to future teachers and childcare providers studying early childhood education or a related field focused on serving children six and under. Applicants must demonstrate academic strength and submit letters of recommendation and essay questions. Recipients receive funding that they can use on books, fees, laptops, and other educational expenses.
Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship
|Up to $30,000
||This competitive scholarship program is awarded to junior and senior undergraduates who commit to working as a "change agent" in a government agency, education, or nonprofit organization after graduation. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and want to earn a master's degree in the future. Students should participate in extracurricular activities, demonstrate leadership potential, and possess a strong academic record.
Online Human Development and Family Studies Schools
New Mexico State University-Main Campus
NMSU offers an online bachelor's in family and consumer sciences (FCS) with an emphasis in family and child science. Enrollees train for careers in social services and related fields. They may also use the degree to pursue the certified family life educator credential. The program explores family relationships across the lifespan. Learners study the socioeconomic factors that impact the family unit.
The 120-credit curriculum requires general education coursework such as math, English, and science. The major explores family dynamics and family resource management. Students learn how to apply research methods in FCS. Recommended electives include coursework on trauma prevention and trauma interventions. Learners gain experience during supervised work at community agencies.
NMSU offers a generous credit transfer policy. Admission to one of the nation's best online human development and family studies schools requires SAT or ACT scores.
The University of Alabama
UA is the state's oldest public college. Students can enroll in an online bachelor's in human development and family studies. The 120-credit program prepares students to help children and families thrive. Enrollees can customize the degree with one of several concentrations. Options include child life or family life education and advocacy.
The major requires a core of courses that all students complete. Learners study the various stages of childhood, from infancy to adolescence. Students also examine parent and family development. Each concentration requires 27-43 credits of specialized coursework. Students pursuing the child life concentration learn medical terminology and program evaluation.
Enrollees complete laboratory and practicum experiences. They also gain experience with an internship. Participants complete most courses online. All Bama By Distance students pay the same tuition.
Eastern Kentucky University
EKU offers a fully online bachelor's in child and family studies. The degree incorporates the latest research and best practices in child development. Students receive training for employment in educational and human services settings.
The program requires 120-125 credits. Enrollees study topics such as family involvement with young children and family stress and resilience. A 36- to 39-credit child development concentration explores subjects such as early childhood literacy and program planning for infants and toddlers. Learners gain hands-on experience during two practicums.
The degree's credits count toward the child development associate credential. Enrollees receive free online tutoring. Degree-seekers can transfer up to 90 credits. Students pay flat tuition regardless of residency. Active-duty military personnel receive a tuition discount. Freshmen submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students submit college transcripts.
Students at Oregon State can enroll in an online bachelor's in human development and family sciences. The program trains students how to help individuals, families, and communities thrive.
The 180-credit degree requires general education coursework that students may transfer. The major explores issues such as public health and family studies. All students must complete a course in technical writing. Learners can add a minor such as global health or ethnic studies. Students may choose a course that teaches them how to apply biostatistics and probability to the health sciences.
All students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Freshmen submit a high school or GED diploma. Transfer students need a minimum cumulative 2.25 GPA.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
NSU's BS in child and family studies prepares enrollees for the helping professions. Students learn how to help improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. They work in fields such as education and family intervention. Learners choose from a concentration in consumer services or child development and family relations.
The degree requires general education coursework such as math, English, and science. The major explores topics such as parenting, child development, and family development. Students must also choose an approved minor. Most choose the social science minor to accelerate degree completion. Each concentration requires 24 credits. All degree-seekers complete an internship at an agency, school, or organization focused on children and families.
Online enrollees pay a flat tuition rate regardless of residency. Admission to the human development and family studies program requires SAT or ACT scores.
Washington State University
WSU's fully online BA in human development teaches students how to promote individual and family development. Degree-seekers complete 120 semester credits. These credits include the university's common requirements. The major's introductory courses explore issues such as family interactions and human development across the lifespan.
Enrollees study the various aspects of human and family development. Advanced coursework examines work and family, families in poverty, and gerontology. Learners can pursue a certificate in gerontology or early childhood education. Students choose one of two culminating experiences. Students apply their knowledge in a practicum in an early childhood setting. Alternatively, learners may complete an internship at a relevant agency.
Graduates leave the program prepared to work in various human services and educational settings.
Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Fort Collins, CO
CSU offers a 120-credit bachelor's in human development and family studies. Students complete a core of courses and one of five concentrations. Specialization options include early childhood professions and pre-health professions.
The core requires courses such as individual and family development. Each concentration requires 15 credits. Students can complete up to two concentrations. Learners may choose a gerontology minor. All enrollees complete intensive work experiences.
CSU, one of the top online human development and family studies schools, offers a generous transfer policy. Students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Distance learners enjoy comprehensive support that includes tutoring and access to mental health services. Admission requires a high school or GED diploma. Transfer students need a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.
K-State offers a fully online bachelor's in human development and family science. Enrollees can use electives to customize the 120-credit degree. The curriculum requires general education coursework in various disciplines.
The major explores topics such as helping relationships and family and consumer economics. Learners study human sexuality and gender roles. Participants can work with advisors to choose a concentration, minor, or certificate. Alternatively, students can complete an internship.
Graduates may pursue the provisional certified family life education designation. All online students pay the same tuition. Transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
USU offers an online bachelor's in human development and family studies. Students learn how to address challenges facing families and children. Enrollees complete the university's general education requirements. They may satisfy these credits with transfer credits or an associate degree.
The major explores core topics such as human sexuality and parenting. Enrollees can choose an emphasis in human development lifespan or family and community services. Learners can also choose a minor from outside the department. An optional gerontology certificate prepares students to work with this growing population.
Learners complete a practicum to gain experience. Participants may work with an agency, engage in community teaching, or complete a research project. Transfer students need a minimum 3.0 GPA.
North Dakota State University-Main Campus
NDSU offers an online bachelor's in human development and family science (HDFS) online. The 120-credit degree offers several majors, including family science and adult development and aging. Enrollees complete a common core of courses. Topics cover children, families, and public policy.
Each major requires specialized studies. For instance, the family science option explores topics such as sexuality and personal and family finance. All students gain hands-on training through field experiences.
Students can pursue an accelerated bachelor's and master's in HDFS. Enrollees can earn both degrees in five years. Admission to one of the nation's best online human development and family studies schools requires no SAT or ACT scores.
University of Wisconsin-Stout
UW-Stout offers a 120-credit bachelor's in human development and family studies. The curriculum requires general education coursework in the arts and humanities. The major explores topics such as healthy couple relationships and family resource management.
Enrollees study key issues such as family policy and abuse and the family. Participants engage in observation/participation, practicum, and field experiences. Students in the human development and family studies program enjoy professional networking opportunities.
About 30% of UW-Stout's enrollees classify as transfer students. Learners must only complete 32 credits of this bachelor's at UW-Stout. All students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Tuition includes the textbook rental fee. Admission requires a high school or GED diploma. Transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
California State University-East Bay
Cal State East Bay offers a customizable BA in human development online. This degree-completion option only provides upper-division coursework. The upper-division core explores topics such as theories and human development and adult development and aging.
Enrollees take a course covering careers for human development majors. Students can complete one of three 10- to 12-unit concentrations online. These concentrations include women's development and early childhood development. Hybrid learners can complete the child or adolescent development concentration on campus. All students culminate the degree by designing an independent research project on a human development topic.
Admission to one of the nation's top online human development and family studies schools requires at least 60 transferable units with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
University Park, PA
Penn State World Campus offers more than 150 programs. Learners can enroll in an online bachelor's in human development and family studies. The program trains students to help improve lives across the lifespan.
Enrollees complete core courses in areas such as family relationships and how to resolve family problems. Students may choose an option in lifespan human services. Learners complete field experiences, including an internship. They must also complete a culminating project or scholarly paper. Graduates know how to design, implement, and evaluate interventions for various populations.
Students can begin the program immediately. They may also begin incrementally with stackable certificates that apply to the bachelor's. Students can transfer credits, including an associate degree. All enrollees pay the same tuition. Admission requires a high school or GED diploma. Transfer students must provide college transcripts.
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
CU Denver offers the country's first bilingual human development and family relations (HDFR) program. Students in the online BS in HDFR can complete coursework entirely in English. Learners can also take some courses in a Spanish/English bilingual format. Students can enroll full time or part time in the 120-credit program.
Faculty devote about 90 credits to the major. An introductory course explores family and community services. Other coursework covers topics such as family and human development and Black and Latino children in families and schools. Students can transfer up to 90 credits. All learners receive personal mentorship from at least one faculty member.
Out-of-state students pay slightly higher tuition. Admission to one of the nation's best online human development and family studies schools requires a minimum 2.0 GPA on transfer credits.
Brigham Young University-Idaho
BYU-Idaho's online bachelor's in marriage and family studies prepares human service professionals to help children and families. Enrollees must complete three certificates. Topics cover marriage, family, and human relations.
Learners study child development and family theories and dynamics. Participants also complete a research methods course. Students can choose one of three certificates to complete this human development and family studies program. They can receive training in child and family advocacy, human services, or parent and family education.
The child and family advocacy certificate develops enrollees' competencies in areas such as public speaking and social media advocacy. The certificate in human services explores issues such as stress and drug abuse. Students pay the same tuition regardless of residency.