Family and consumer science careers allow you to help others lead happier, healthier lives.
The Field of Family and Consumer Science
The family and consumer science (FACS) field focuses on individuals, families, and communities, considering their relationships and the resources they require. This field is also known by the names human ecology and home economics.
Degrees in FACS may include courses in the following areas:
- Child and human development
- Textiles and fashion design
- Nutrition and food science
- Consumer economics and family finances
- Relationships and family
Areas of concentration vary from school to school, and students interested in teaching in public schools will have to take additional courses through the College of Education. Programs should be accredited by the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS).
Careful selection of electives, minors, or additional majors can broaden your future career opportunities. For instance, if you would like to create advertising campaigns for a food services company, then courses in English, communications, or public relations will help you build important skills to add to your knowledge of nutritional topics.
Possible Family and Consumer Science Careers
Family and consumer science careers in teaching involve so much more than the traditional image of "home ec" class. At the elementary level, teachers may offer weekly classes on health, fitness and nutrition topics. Middle school and high school instructors typically teach required health classes in addition to elective offerings like cooking, fashion design, and child development. Teaching offers opportunities for department chairing, curriculum development, extracurricular coaching and advising and committee assignments. With additional education, teachers can move into other educational positions, such as counselor or principal. To find teaching jobs, check with local school districts, regional educational organizations, state job banks, and college placement offices. Some universities also host teacher job fairs for their education students.
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) is a federally-funded organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to local communities. As a subdivision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, much of its work is focused on agriculture, nutrition, and other food-based topics. For instance, CSREES sponsors the Food Stamp Nutrition Education program, and many 4-H programs utilize its resources. However, the agency also offers finance classes for small-business owners, leadership training for youth, and much more. Family and consumer science majors should feel at home in many of these programs designed to improve the overall quality of life in a region.
While CSREES devotes itself to community education, not all such efforts are affiliated with the agency. Job seekers can teach courses through local enrichment and adult education programs. However, community education doesn't necessarily mean standing in front of a class and presenting a lesson on the food pyramid. You can also be involved in creating public service announcements, counseling individuals, or managing a related non-profit agency. All of these tasks can raise awareness of health, finance and family issues in the larger community.
If you choose a career in post-secondary education, you'll be involved in training the next generation interested in family and consumer science careers at colleges and universities. Professors and graduate students teach required and elective courses. Graduate students and other experienced professionals may also have the opportunity to observe students in classroom placements and internships or participate in research projects.
The diverse nature of family and consumer science coursework means that graduates can bring their expertise to nearly any organization. You might advise a corporation on employee health and wellness issues, work for a fashion designer, or participate in a community financial education program. Potential job titles include project manager, research associate, financial planner or food service supervisor. The AAFCS Career Connection job search engine can help you find a position tailored to your skills and interests.