The Best Online Master’s in Human and Family Development 2021
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Demand for individual and community support has risen, with community programs focused on healthcare, drug abuse, and counseling becoming priorities.
If you have ever wanted to help people at all life stages deal with important transitions, manage everyday challenges, or recover from grief, consider a degree in human and family development. Human and family development is a versatile area of study that encompasses many careers in the human services industry with promising job growth and salary prospects.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for health educators and community health workers will grow 13% from 2019-2029. These fast-growing careers demand highly skilled professionals who hold master's degrees. Working professionals and those with familial commitments can earn a master's in human and family development by attention class online.
The Best Online Master's in Human and Family Development Programs
Founded in 1887, NC State offers an online master of youth, family, and community sciences. Students interested in research can also choose a master of science degree option with a final thesis. Learners can complete the program on either a part-time or full-time schedule.
Course topics in the 30-credit program include applied concepts in parenting and family life education, program development and evaluation in youth and family settings, and professional ethics and family policy. Learners must also complete 12 credits of electives and a supervised professional experience to finish the degree.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 minimum GPA to qualify for admission. Students must also complete 3-6 credits of prerequisite courses.
Chartered in 1869, Nebraska offers an online master of science in child, youth, and family studies with a specialization in human and family services administration.
The program combines family studies with business administration skills to prepare students for leadership and administrative positions. The curriculum includes courses in fundraising, grant writing, data collection and analysis, and program development. Students must also complete a capstone course in public administration or child, youth, and family studies.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a competitive GRE score to qualify for admission.
Founded in 1923, Texas Tech offers an online master of science in human development and family sciences. Students can choose from concentrations in gerontology and youth development. Learners can complete the program in about two years.
The program consists of 36 credits total. The youth development concentration requires 28 credits of online coursework, as well as an eight-hour practicum, research project, or thesis. The gerontology concentration includes 24 credits of coursework and 12 credits of electives. The core curriculum for both concentrations includes courses in theories of human development, family theories, research methods, and statistics.
Applicants must send unofficial transcripts and GRE test scores to apply.
Founded in 1839, Mizzou offers an online master of arts in family and community services. The program prepares students for careers in social and community service, health education, and community health. Students can graduate in about 2-3 years.
Course topics in the 36-credit program include resilience in families, family dynamics and intervention, parenting education, family resource management, and administration and program management. Prior to graduating, students must complete a capstone exam or a supervised internship.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the final 60 credits of undergraduate education to qualify for admission. The school does not require GRE scores, but students can submit them to strengthen an application.
Founded in 1863, K-State, in conjunction with several other land-grant universities, offers an online master's degree in family studies and human services with a specialization in family and community services.
The 36-credit program includes 10 required courses and six electives, along with a capstone course and an optional practicum. Required course topics include family dynamics, family resource management, resilience in families, and crises across the lifespan.
Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit GRE scores.
Online Master's in Human and Family Development Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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Featured Online Master's in Human and Family Development Programs
What Is an Online Master's in Human and Family Development Degree?
A master's in human and family development provides a framework for careers in the human services field. Enrollees study the various developmental processes that occur over the human lifetime, including language acquisition, cognitive development, and social skill development. These programs equip students with the knowledge to understand and analyze human behavior at different points in life.
Degree-holders typically seek employment as social workers, human services administrators, and early childhood educators upon graduation, often planning to eventually become licensed counselors and psychologists. The degree builds skills in analyzing social behavior, helping people transition between different life stages, and communicating effectively with people at all stages of development and functioning.
Choosing an Online Program
When considering an online master's in human development program, carefully weigh the factors that will influence your educational experience. Ask yourself: Do the program's available concentrations align with your career plans? Does the program emphasize asynchronous or synchronous online coursework? You can learn more about how to select an online degree at the links below.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Human and Family Development Program?
The curricula for different human and family development programs can vary widely, but most touch on a core course roster exploring the different stages of healthy human development. Many programs also offer gerontology, youth development, and substance abuse treatment concentrations.
Human and Family Development Curriculum
- Marriage and Family Relationships: This introductory course explores modern marriage and family situations and challenges. Students investigate the different social factors that influence interactions within families and couples. Topics include mate selection, gender roles, and parenthood. The course may require prerequisite introductory coursework in psychology or sociology.
- Language Development: Students in this class consider theories about language acquisition and cognition in early childhood. Topics may include domain-general versus domain-specific abilities, nature versus nurture, and stability of intelligence. The course also shows enrollees how to compare atypical pathways in language development with normative development patterns.
- Adult Development and Aging: This course covers the lifespan, including the transition from adolescence into adulthood and continuing into old age and death. Coursework explores the various biological, physiological, and cognitive processes that occur throughout the aging process, along with how they affect lived experiences in each stage of adult development.
Certificates and Licenses
Many students in human and family development programs eventually pursue work as licensed professional counselors. The requirements for earning a counseling license vary by state, though most states share some common criteria.
To earn your counseling license, you need a master's in counseling or a related field, along with 2,000-3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience accumulated over 2-3 years. Once you finish your degree and clinical hours, you can take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) — administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) — or one of several alternatives, also administered by NBCC. Passing the exam allows you to practice as a licensed counselor and receive the national certified counselor (NCC) credential.
The voluntary NCC credential offers the additional benefit of demonstrating your level of professional experience to your community. It can also lead to higher and more specialized credentials in the field.
Because nearly all states require the NCE and a similar amount of clinical hours, aspiring professionals can expect a certain amount of licensure reciprocity between states if they relocate and need licensure by endorsement. However, not all states offer reciprocity, and some states require a period of remedial education to become licensed.
Human and Family Development Careers
Master's in human and family development degrees provide a foundation for many jobs, primarily in the human services industry. Many graduates become employed as social workers or case managers immediately upon graduation, while others pursue Ph.D. programs and become licensed clinical counselors or psychologists.
The following list does not represent all possible career paths — just some commonly pursued options.
|Median BLS Salary (2020)||$67,150|
|Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)||17%|
Social and community service managers work as administrators in human services and community outreach organizations. These managers serve their communities by coordinating and supervising human services-related programs and activities. They work with many different clients, including local governments, community leaders, and underserved populations, such as veterans and minorities.
There is no licensure requirement for social and community service managers. Most social and community service managers hold at least a bachelor's degree in a human services field, such as human and family development or social work.
|Median BLS Salary (2020)||$49,610|
|Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)||22%|
Marriage and family therapists help families and couples overcome relationship problems and rebuild bonds. These professionals use strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help manage their clients' personal struggles and navigate difficult situations like separations, layoffs, and substance abuse issues. They work in human services agencies, outpatient care centers, or private practice.
To become a marriage and family therapist, you need at least a master's degree in psychology or family and marriage therapy, which usually requires a practicum. After earning a master's, you need to earn licensure, which requires you to complete 2,000-4,000 supervised clinical hours.
|Median BLS Salary (2020)||$57,040|
|Projected Job Outlook (2019-2029)||8%|
School and career counselors help clients succeed academically and personally. School counselors help students navigate personal, disciplinary, and social issues while preparing them for their future. Career counselors help people choose a job that fits their needs. They may find employment in schools, healthcare settings, and human services organizations.
Most states require school counselors to secure licensure or some form of certification. Career counselors sometimes need licensure, though not always. Both types of counselors typically need at least a master's degree in school or career counseling or a related field, such as human and family development.
Human and Family Development Professional Organizations
Joining a professional organization can provide vital support for students and professionals through continuing education, networking, and job placement services. The following organizations offer membership benefits that can help individuals pursuing master's degrees in human and family development.
Frequently Asked Questions
It typically takes 2-3 years of full-time enrollment to complete a master's in human and family development. If you take courses at a part-time pace, the process will take longer.
A master's in human development can get you a job in human services organizations, senior centers, and early childhood education. It can potentially lead to counseling work, as well, though you will likely need to earn licensure first.
BLS data indicates that substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned a median income of $46,240 in 2019.
Human and family studies inform the way that professionals deliver human services to patients in need. For instance, understanding the developmental changes that occur during old age enables human services professionals to effectively serve the elderly.
Many people with master's in human development degrees teach in early childhood settings. Some states set additional training requirements for early childhood educators.
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