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An online bachelor's in human and family development explores human development across the lifespan. This program delves into the emotional, psychological, and mental changes that transform humans from birth through old age and the environments that shape these changes.
For individuals with a desire to improve the lives of individuals and families, a bachelor's in human and family development can lead to a rewarding career. Graduates can pursue roles in counseling, law enforcement, social work, education, and human resources in positions like community service manager, child life specialist, and probation officer.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 17% job growth for social and community service managers between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average 4% job growth for all occupations.
Learn more about how to choose a program, admission requirements, and the many career opportunities in our bachelor's in human and family development program guide.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Programs? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||University of North Carolina at Greensboro||Greensboro, NC|
|2||California State University, East Bay||Hayward, CA|
|3||Oregon State University||Corvallis, OR|
|4||University of Wisconsin Stout||Menomonie, WI|
|5||The University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa, AL|
|6||Southern Wesleyan University||Central, SC|
|7||New Mexico State University||Las Cruces, NM|
|8||Pennsylvania State University||University Park, PA|
|9||Northwestern State University of Louisiana||Natchitoches, LA|
|10||Utah State University||Logan, UT|
- How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Programs
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University of North Carolina at Greensboro
|Greensboro, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
UNCG's bachelor's in human development and family studies program requires synchronous and asynchronous coursework. Participants choose one of two online tracks: early care and education or birth through kindergarten teacher licensure. The latter track qualifies graduates to apply for an initial North Carolina teaching license; 45 states accept this license.
Online degree-seekers can take advantage of Handshake job search software, resume guides, and career coaches. Specialized resources for alumni include online access to noncredit courses that teach in-demand skills.
UNCG accepts the Common Application, and prospective first-year students can submit high school transcripts or GED scores. Out-of-state degree-seekers pay 2-4 times the in-state tuition rate. Online learners may qualify for federal grant or private scholarship opportunities.
California State University, East Bay
|Hayward, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Cal State East Bay's online bachelor's in human development program serves as a degree completion pathway. This online program features three concentrations: adult development and gerontology, early childhood development, and women's development. Also, students can enhance their educational experience by earning a certificate in early childhood development.
Online learners can review interviewing best practices and take one or more career assessments. These and other valuable resources help approximately 70% of alumni find a job within one year of graduation.
Prospective students apply through Cal State Apply, and application materials include undergraduate transcripts. Out-of-state degree-seekers pay approximately double the in-state tuition rate. Learners can apply for institutional financial aid by submitting the Pioneer Scholarships Application before January 31.
Oregon State University
|Corvallis, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
OSU's bachelor's in human development and family sciences program is available online. The 180-quarter-credit curriculum features coursework that covers topics like families in poverty, family studies, and human sexuality. Students can modify the program by completing a minor in another field. Additionally, this program holds accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.
The school's career center features multiple online tools, including Handshake, Focus 2 Career, and GoinGlobal — an online job board with overseas opportunities. Students can also access an extensive virtual resource library.
OSU admits new learners at four points throughout the year and accepts applications from students who possess a high school diploma or a GED certificate. The university does not charge out-of-state tuition rates to online degree-seekers. Students interested in institutional scholarships should apply before the February 1 deadline.
University of Wisconsin Stout
|Menomonie, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
UW-Stout's online bachelor's in human development and family studies requires 56 credits of core courses, including lifespan sexuality, family policy, and abnormal psychology. Degree-seekers can also complete all general education courses entirely online. Additionally, the curriculum provides students with the flexibility to select a minor or concentration.
Nearly 100% of recent human and family development alumni have found a job or started another academic program. UW-Stout achieves this impressive statistic by providing one-on-one advising appointments, a job-shadowing program, and professional development workshops.
UW-Stout accepts the Common Application. First-year applicants also submit standardized test scores. Most out-of-state students pay double the in-state tuition rate, and approximately 80% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid.
The University of Alabama
|Tuscaloosa, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
Prospective learners who work at a Head Start agency can increase their career and salary potential by enrolling in UA's bachelor of science in human environmental sciences, human development, and family studies for child development practitioners program. Degree-seekers can complete the program's 120-credit curriculum entirely online. Additionally, the program features an optional early child development concentration.
In addition to Interview Stream and Candid Career software, the school's career center offers online degree-seekers micro-internships, which are 5-40-hour experiences that take place remotely. These and additional resources have helped 90% of alumni attain a fulfilling career or enter a graduate program.
UA accepts applications throughout the year and does not charge online learners out-of-state tuition rates. Transfer credit should reflect a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA. Online degree-seekers may qualify for federal and/or state financial aid.
Southern Wesleyan University
|Central, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
SWU's online bachelor's degree in early childhood and family studies is delivered from a Christian perspective and features an asynchronous curriculum. Courses last seven weeks, and graduates can pursue work as public school teachers, Head Start coordinators, and librarians.
Almost 90% of SWU undergraduate alumni experience a positive career outcome. Current students can start their job hunt by taking advantage of a job board, self-assessments, and career advice videos.
High school graduates and transfer students must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prospective students with GED scores can also apply. As a private university, SWU charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all learners. Additionally, degree-seekers who work for a corporate partner receive an automatic 10% tuition discount.
New Mexico State University
|Las Cruces, NM||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
NMSU's bachelor's in family and child science program helps students hone communication, conflict resolution, and child guidance skills. Outside of class, degree-seekers can complete professional development courses through the National Council on Family Relations.
Career services professionals connect students and alumni with job-hunting resources, including Handshake, LinkedIn, and Career Beam. Learners can also access an in-depth guide on how to engage with potential employers through an online profile.
NMSU uses a GPA cutoff for high school graduates and transfer students. Individuals who have a GED certificate can also apply. Out-of-state learners pay approximately three times more in tuition than in-district residents. Active-duty service members receive an automatic 40% tuition discount.
Pennsylvania State University
|University Park, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Penn State's World Campus offers many online degrees, including a bachelor's in human development and family studies. This program features coursework in areas like family development, helping relationships, and resolving human development problems. Graduation requirements include a one-semester internship in a human services setting, and students use this experience to write an extended research paper. Virtual career services include counseling sessions, mock interviews, and online career fairs.
High school graduates and individuals with a GED certificate can apply. Although out-of-state learners do not pay a higher tuition rate, some courses cost more per-credit than others. Financial aid resources for online degree-seekers include federal grant and loan programs.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
|Natchitoches, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Degree-seekers who want to work with children should consider enrolling in NSU's bachelor's in child and family studies program, which offers two concentration options. The child development and family relations concentration emphasizes adolescent development, families and consumers, and child nutrition. Participants may also opt for a consumer services concentration. Students can further personalize the program by completing a minor.
NSU's career center provides students and alumni with numerous services, including mock interviews, resume reviews, and career advisors. Other resources include a guide that prepares readers for graduate school admission success.
Prospective first-year students should submit high school transcripts or GED scores. Other application materials include standardized test scores and FAFSA results. Out-of-state learners do not pay a higher tuition rate, and active-duty service members receive an automatic 50% tuition discount.
Utah State University
|Logan, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
USU's online bachelor's degree in family life studies offers two concentrations: family relations and human development. In class, degree-seekers study research methods, human sexuality, and family finance. Additionally, the program features multiple capstone options.
Online learners can network with peers and potential employers by joining one of five clubs that relate to human and family development. Students can also speak with an advisor, take a career assessment, and use Handshake software to explore the latest job postings.
The human and family development program accepts first-year and transfer students. Transfer credit must have been earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. All online learners pay the same per-credit tuition rate, and institutional scholarships require a separate application.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Program?
Most online bachelor's in human and family development programs require 120 credits and take four years of full-time study to complete.
Students with a drive to understand human development and the desire to use this knowledge to help others often find that a bachelor's in human and family development leads to a fulfilling career. Successful learners need empathy and strong communication and analytical skills.
Most online bachelor's in human and family development programs require 120 credits and take four years of full-time study to complete. This interdisciplinary program provides students with a broad foundation in psychology, sociology, biology, and anthropology as related to human development.
Many schools offer concentrations that allow students to pursue an education relevant to their career goals and interests, including the following options.
|Early Childhood Development||This concentration focuses on human development from birth to adolescence and prepares students for careers in early childhood settings like schools and social service agencies.|
|Adolescent Development||This specialization focuses on human development from 10-19 years of age.|
|Family Life Studies||This concentration prepares students to work with families and may lead to a career as a family life educator, caseworker, or program director.|
|Child Life Specialist||These programs focus on supporting children and families in challenging times and prepare graduates to pursue certification as child life specialists.|
|Adult Development and Aging||With a focus on gerontology, this concentration prepares students to work in social service, government agencies, and long-term care facilities.|
|Counseling and Therapy||Designed for students interested in a career as a counselor, this concentration appeals to students intending to pursue graduate school.|
|Social Work||Students interested in working with and advocating for families in clinical and community settings may consider this concentration.|
Some programs qualify graduates to pursue certification as a family life educator, child development associate, or child life specialist. In addition to a bachelor's, these certifications require an internship or work experience and passing a national exam. Other programs prepare graduates for preschool teaching licensure. Most programs require internships, practicums, or capstone projects.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Program?
An online bachelor's in human and family development program offers core courses that teach students about human development through the lens of social, biological, and behavioral sciences. The following list covers common courses found in these programs.
- Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies
This introductory course explores how individuals develop over their lifespan and the role that families play in this process. Students also learn about the cultural and social settings that influence cognitive, psychological, and social development.
- Infant and Child Development
This course covers childhood development from conception through adolescence. Covered topics include the theories behind intellectual and emotional development; how children develop physically, socially, and cognitively; and the effects of the culture and society on this development. Students also learn how children form relationships and the role of families, schools, and peers in this process.
- Statistics for Social Science
This course covers the use of statistics in social science. Covered topics include a variety of statistical methods and the process of interpreting findings. This course focuses on the practical aspects of statistics, including the use of the standard statistical software package widely used in the social sciences.
- Adult Development and Aging
This course explores the developmental theories of aging, including related physiological, biological, cognitive, and psychological changes. Students examine the aging process from multiple viewpoints and the influences that shape developmental issues and processes. Covered topics include the impact of aging on work, family, and social interactions.
- Risk and Resilience
This class deals with risk in development and the role schools, families, and communities play in developmental outcomes. Covered topics include protective factors at each stage of development, interventions and policies, and the influences that contribute to resilience.
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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Degree?
A bachelor's in human and family development prepares graduates to enter the workforce serving children and families. Graduates pursue careers like community service manager, child life specialist, and probation officer. These roles lead to employment in diverse fields, including nonprofit organizations, schools, government agencies, and businesses.
The BLS projects 17% job growth for social and community service managers between 2019 and 2029. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $67,150 in 2019.
- Child Life Specialist
A child life specialist works with children and families undergoing challenging life events. These professionals incorporate play, self-expression, and other forms of coping practices to support children during difficult periods. They also support and educate caregivers and family members. Many hospitals require certification for child life specialists.
- Family Life Educator
A family life educator counsels and educates family members with the intent to improve their quality of life as a unit and as individuals. They may help people preparing for marriage or couples looking for effective parenting strategies. These professionals work for government agencies, faith-based organizations, and community and social service programs. Many organizations require certification.
- Social and Community Service Manager
A social and community service manager oversees programs that provide services to the public. They may work for community organizations focused on a specific age group or demographic or for agencies that provide support for people experiencing specific challenges, such as health issues or addiction. These professionals experience strong demand, with the BLS projecting 17% job growth between 2019 and 2029.
- Probation Officer
These professionals work with people placed on probation. Probation officers usually specialize in supervising adults or juveniles. Tasks include assessing an individual's risks and needs, preparing reports and recommendations, and visiting probationers. The BLS reports that probation officers earned a median annual salary of $54,290 in 2019.
- Preschool Teacher
Preschool teachers educate and nurture children before their entrance into kindergarten. These professionals introduce children to the creative arts, expand their vocabulary, instruct them on numbers and letters, and improve their social skills. Preschool teacher requirements vary by state and may include an internship, state exam, and teaching license.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Programs
- Is a bachelor's in human and family development worth it?
It can be. A bachelor's in human and family development prepares students for a career helping individuals and families through crises. Some graduates go on to pursue a graduate degree, while others enter the workforce and find positions such as teacher, probation officer, and child life specialist.
- What can I do with a bachelor's in human and family development?
A bachelor's in human and family development can lead to a career in nonprofit organizations, government agencies, schools, businesses, and healthcare facilities. Graduates may pursue careers advocating for children and families or specific groups like the elderly, veterans, and at-risk teens. Some graduates use this degree as a stepping stone to graduate studies in counseling, education, or law.
- Are human and family development majors in demand?
- How much money can I make with a bachelor's in human and family development?
Salaries vary by position and industry. For example, the BLS reports that social workers earned a median annual salary of $50,470 in 2019, but social workers employed in local governments earned a median annual salary of $55,500. PayScale reports that graduates with a bachelor's in human and family development earn an average annual salary of $51,850.
- What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in human and family development?
Social and community service managers earned a median annual salary of $67,150 in 2019, according to the BLS. Those who worked for local governments earned $85,550 per year, while individuals working for religious organizations earned $70,830 per year. Students pursuing a graduate degree may qualify for even more lucrative positions.