Online Human Development and Family Studies Schools

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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.

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

    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.

    Median Annual Salary: $49,470

    Job Growth (2018-2028): 11%

  • 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.

    Median Annual Salary: $65,320

    Job Growth (2018-2028): 13%

  • 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.

    Median Annual Salary: $46,080

    Job Growth (2018-2028): 11%

  • 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.

    Median Annual Salary: $33,750

    Job Growth (2018-2028): 13%

  • 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.

    Median Annual Salary: $53,020

    Job Growth (2018-2028): 3%

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.


Students learn about human development from conception to adolescence. The course explores physical, social, and cognitive development, as well as how children form relationships.


This 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.


Learners 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.


Students learn to integrate their human development and family studies background in professional settings. Topics include professional presence, skills, and development.


This 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

  • 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.


  • 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 of up to $1,000, which they can use for books, fees, laptops, and other educational expenses.


  • Harry S. Truman Foundation Scholarship

    This competitive scholarship program awards up to $30,000 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.


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