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An Advanced Online Degree in Family and Consumer Science for New Career Opportunities

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 12/8/2011

Career opportunities for students with a master’s degree in family and consumer science abound, but many are still unaware of the benefits of this program. Could this be the answer to your next career change?

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    Wide Spectrum of Career Opportunities

    The advantages of an online program are plentiful and it only makes sense for a busy professional to choose distance learning rather than putting a career on hold, especially if she is already working in a desired field. Since the online family and consumer science degree offers the opportunity to prepare for a teaching career at the student’s convenience, there is no need to put the family life on hold either. The University of Vermont points out that other career opportunities include employee training agencies, educational media producers and textbook companies, government agencies and also trade associations.

    According to the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Inc. (FCCLA), students still in the K-12 educational system benefit from taking classes in family and consumer science as it prepares them to shape the futures of families, communities, and careers through leadership -- although not necessarily teaching. Some of these students will continue with their education in this field post high school, into college and later on into graduate school.

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    Where Do I Look for an Online Program?

    Advanced coursework for a degree in family science is generally at the master’s level, since it traditionally prepares students for a teaching career. A typical online master’s program teaches curriculum preparation and modification, classroom setup, pedagogy, and – most importantly – group dynamics. Budding educators have traditionally looked to a course of study in family science -- and the added consumer aspect -- to round out their own educational needs for a teaching vocation or credentialing.

    One school that offers this program online is Texas Tech University through its College of Human Sciences. The degree is a Master of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences Education and encompasses 38 to 41 credit hours of post-baccalaureate education. Ideally, the student will already hold a related bachelor’s degree.

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    Beyond the Classroom

    If you are not planning on becoming an educator, an online master’s degree in the field is nevertheless sure to open plenty of doors you might not have initially anticipated. For example, those considering an expansion of their education beyond the master’s level, such as an online doctorate degree, can find employment in extension services teaching positions that focus on child development and related subjects.

    Students intent on leaving the classroom setting behind for good may focus on the merchandising aspects of the degree. They may opt for consumer advocacy, work as a consumer affairs representative, or move into a marketing career. Moreover, researchers incorporating their degree’s childhood development portions, group dynamics and principles of leadership find fertile ground for a career in motivational speaking, career planning, consulting, or coaching.

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    • FCCLA: (retrieved May 17, 2011)
    • University of Vermont: (retrieved May 17, 2011)
    • Texas Tech University: (retrieved May 17, 2011)
    • Photo Credit: "Texas Tech University" by Johan Hendrikse/Wikimedia Commons at