Best Online Human and Family Development Programs

Our experts at BestColleges have ranked the top online bachelor's in human and family development programs. Read on to compare schools by cost, convenience, and academic quality to inform your...

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by Doug Wintemute

Updated June 16, 2022

Reviewed by Megan Pietrucha, Psy.D.

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A bachelor's in human and family development provides students with the foundations to work with individuals and families in various capacities. The training can lead to careers in education and community, social services, and other fields. This degree can also act as a solid interdisciplinary stepping stone into more advanced studies and professions.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 12% growth for community and social service occupations between 2020 and 2030, a faster rate of growth than the average across all occupations. The median annual wage in this field was $47,520 in May 2020, higher than the median wage across all occupations.

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Ready to start your journey?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average annual undergraduate tuition and fees were $13,360 in 2019-2020. Most bachelor's programs run for four years, though many top online schools offer flexible or accelerated options. Here, we spotlight online bachelor's in human and family development programs, their requirements, and potential career paths.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Programs

Is a bachelor's in human and family development worth it?

Yes. An online bachelor's in human and family development comes with many benefits for students and graduates. The training can lead to various professional and educational fields, including education, psychology, counseling, and community and social services.

The added value of an online degree can make this option even more attractive for many students. The flexibility of online learning accommodates working professionals and learners who need a nontraditional schedule to attend school. Online learning may also allow students to consider more schools and programs to ensure they get the best fit for their needs.

What can I do with a bachelor's in human and family development?

After completing a bachelor's in human and family development, graduates can enter the workforce in several fields. They may pursue positions as health educators, counselors, teachers, or social workers. Some roles in these fields may require additional education or certification.

Graduates can also pursue more advanced degrees, which could lead to clinical positions and certification or licensure. They can, for example, acquire the appropriate graduate training for careers as clinical social workers and family counselors.

Are human and family development majors in demand?

Yes. The BLS projects 12% growth for community and special service occupations between 2020 and 2030, an addition of nearly 350,000 professionals. The BLS also projects 12% growth for social workers, 17% growth for health education specialists, and 23% growth for substance misuse and mental health counselors.

Projected growth in each of these fields exceeds the projected growth rate for all occupations during the same period. As the demand for child and mental health support services increases, more positions in these fields will likely become available.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in human and family development?

Graduates have access to many different careers and industries with a bachelor's in human and family development. A graduate's salary potential depends on the field they choose. However, according to the BLS, the median annual salary for community and social service occupations was $47,520 in May 2020.

Your experience and your specific employer also make a difference. While the median annual wage for social workers was $51,760 in May 2020, the top 10% in the field made more than $85,820 that year. Health education specialists made a median annual wage of $42,000 in May 2020, while the top 10% earned over $70,790.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in human and family development?

Among the highest-paying jobs for graduates with a bachelor's in human and family development are teaching positions. According to the BLS, high school teachers earned a median annual wage of $62,870 in May 2020. Middle school teachers made $60,810 and kindergarten and elementary school teachers made $60,660 during the same period.

While public schools require licensure, private schools may hire candidates without it. The median annual wage at private schools in May 2020 was $58,550 for high school teachers and $50,050 for elementary school teachers.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Program?

Each online bachelor's in human and family development has its own unique approach and structure. In most cases, these programs feature 120 credits and take students four years to complete. The programs typically include extensive theoretical and practical training and may lead to postgraduate certifications.

The training explores the fundamentals of human and family development and the issues facing them. The studies include examinations of relationships, societal effects, behaviors, and diversity. Students learn to solve problems and improve the well-being of their clients while honing their communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills.

Most bachelor's in human and family development programs award a BS degree, but BA degree options may also be available. These degree types usually lead to the same outcomes, but they may offer different electives and study emphases. For example, BA programs may focus on writing and communication skill development, whereas BS programs can focus on analytical skill development.

Students may have the option to fine-tune their studies even more through a concentration, such as early childhood development, adolescence and youth development, adult development, social work, or counseling and therapy. Completing a specialization while earning an online bachelor's degree can lead to more postgraduate career and learning opportunities.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Popular Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Program?

Infant and Child Development

In this course, students examine the physical, emotional, and cognitive developmental paths of infants and children. Through observations and analysis, they gain an understanding of child mental health, relationships, and the effects of their environment.

Family Dynamics

Students in this course explore family systems and the challenges they face. The training looks at the leading theories along with the most common family facets, including coupling, communication, marriage, divorce, and parenting.

Adulthood and Aging

This course examines the psychological changes that humans undergo in adulthood. Students look at how biology and society impact this stage of development and how human abilities — such as learning, memory, and intelligence — evolve.

Development and Interpersonal Relationships

In this course, students learn how people develop interpersonal skills and how their relationships shape individuals. Learners study the dynamics of relationships, personal values and beliefs, and self-perception.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Program?

Most schools have similar admissions processes for on-campus and online programs. However, an online bachelor's in human and family development may require applicants to meet a set of minimum technological requirements. In addition to the following components, which show up on most college applications, prospective students may need to post a specific GPA minimum for admission.

Application

The standard college application requires prospective students to submit their personal information and identify which program interests them most. According to our undergraduate application guide, applicants should pay close attention to the deadlines and make sure all required materials are submitted. Using a college application system like the Common App can streamline the process.

Test Scores

Many college applications require prospective students to submit college entrance exam scores. At the undergraduate level, these include ACT and SAT scores. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have temporarily made these tests optional, but they can still influence an admission decision.

Letters of Recommendation

College applications usually require prospective students to submit three letters of recommendation from relevant sources. These letters provide schools with insight into the applicant's abilities and often come from former teachers and employers. When asking for letters of recommendation, students should begin the process early and provide clear instructions.

Essays

At the undergraduate level, schools that require college application essays usually want to learn more about the applicant's personal journey. However, schools may give students specific prompts to answer or allow prospective enrollees to write about whatever they choose.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts provide all the necessary details about the applicant's education up to that point. These records highlight the courses a student has taken and the grades they received, which can help determine prerequisites and qualifications. Transcripts help institutions determine how many transfer credits a student has earned if they're transferring from a community college to a university.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Degree?

Career Outlook

The BLS projects the addition of nearly 350,000 new community and social services jobs between 2020 and 2030. Many of these positions will be created in the fields of counseling and child services as states and communities increase the supports they provide. According to the BLS, workers in this field also earned median wages above the national median across all occupations in May 2020.

As a result of this positive outlook, social sciences has become one of the most popular college majors in the country. The field also offers professional and educational flexibility, as graduates can move into the education, psychology, counseling, or social work fields.

Career Paths

Social Worker

Social workers help individuals and families overcome and manage many issues. They respond to emergencies and crises, connect people with social services, and help organizations and agencies develop the appropriate programs. These professionals may specialize in working with children, families, and schools or in the healthcare field. To become a licensed social worker, a master's or doctoral degree and state licensure are needed.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $51,760

Health Education Specialist

Health education specialists promote and educate people on beneficial wellness practices and behaviors. They develop health education programs and advocate for improved policies and services for people and communities. They also research and analyze health education programs to identify soft spots in the processes and content.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $56,500

Substance Misuse, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health Counselor

These counselors offer advice, treatment, and support to people trying to manage various conditions and addictions. They assess their clients, help them identify and set goals, develop management strategies, and monitor their progress. These counselors may need additional education, training, licensure, or certifications depending on the state and employer.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $47,660

Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors work with people with various disabilities and help them manage them. These professionals provide counseling, treatment plans, and assistance with finding various programs and services in their communities. Depending on the state and employer, rehabilitation counselors may need a master's degree and licensure.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $37,530

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers educate classrooms of students between grades K-6. They develop lesson plans, manage diverse learner behaviors, and prepare students for the next level in their education. Depending on the state and type of school, elementary school teachers may need additional training and certification or licensure.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $60,660

Human and Family Development Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

In addition to entering the workforce, graduates with a bachelor's in human and family development can continue their training in multiple fields. The most direct path leads to a master's in human and family development. Bachelor's degree graduates can specialize with a master's in child development or a similar discipline, as well.

Human and family development graduates may also pursue a graduate degree and licensure in several fields, such as a master's in social work, a master's in counseling, or a master's in marriage and family counseling. They can also enter the education field by earning a master's in early childhood education.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Program?

Cost

When reviewing costs, prospective students should consider all possible expenses, including travel, room and board, and materials. They might want to look at the true program cost, which factors in a student's lost income as a result of studying. You should also compare online and on-campus programs, public and private schools, and in-state and out-of-state institutions.

Program Format

The program format a student chooses impacts how and when they learn and study. To find the right fit, they should compare asynchronous vs. synchronous learning and full-time vs. part-time studies. If available and feasible, accelerated bachelor's degrees can save students time and money.

Location

Whether a student chooses an online or on-campus program, location should play a role in the college decision process. On-campus learners need to think about living nearby and traveling to the school, while online learners may need to complete residency requirements.

Accreditation

According to our online college accreditation guide, accreditation comes in two forms: institutional and programmatic accreditation. Institutional accreditation matters for all students and can affect their financial aid and employment options. Programmatic accreditation depends on the program and may have similar impacts on graduates.

Student Support

The type of student services a school offers can impact a student's experience. Prospective students should research the specific online student services they have access to, including academic support, career services, and college mentorships and internships. They should figure out what they want from these services and find the school that best supports their unique needs.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Programs

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Best Online Bachelor's in Human and Family Development Programs

  1. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $10396

    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.

  2. California State University, East Bay
    Location

    Hayward, CA

    Tuition

    $11422

    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.

  3. Oregon State University
    Location

    Corvallis, OR

    Tuition

    $18625

    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.

  4. University of Wisconsin Stout
    Location

    Menomonie, WI

    Tuition

    $14866

    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.

  5. The University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    $20465

    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.

  6. Southern Wesleyan University
    Location

    Central, SC

    Tuition

    $16578

    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.

  7. New Mexico State University
    Location

    Las Cruces, NM

    Tuition

    $9462

    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.

  8. Pennsylvania State University
    Location

    University Park, PA

    Tuition

    $21678

    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.

  9. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
    Location

    Natchitoches, LA

    Tuition

    $10448

    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.

  10. Utah State University
    Location

    Logan, UT

    Tuition

    $12738

    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.

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