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Child Development & Family Studies

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Child Development & Family Studies Major

22,720 yearly degrees
#30 in popularity
$36,000 median salary

Human development and family studies is a major that typically falls into the Family, Consumer & Human Sciences category.

There are 619 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in human development, 321 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 122 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 39 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Human Development Degree?

Human development and family studies runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #39 out of all the majors we track. In 2017, about 13,200 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this major. This major is dominated by women with about 92.4% of recent graduates being female.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of human development majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 4.8%
  • Black or African American: 12%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 15.9%
  • White: 59.3%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 1%
  • Other Races: 7.1%
Child Development & Family Studies Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in human development. About 1% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending human development majors to the U.S. are China, South Korea and Canada.

What Will You Learn as a Child Development & Family Studies Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to human development to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Human Development Majors

A major in human development should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

Important Knowledge Areas for Child Development & Family Studies Majors

Skills for Human Development Majors

Human development majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

Important Skills for Child Development & Family Studies Majors

Abilities for Human Development Majors

Human development majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

Important Abilities for human development Majors

What Can You Do With a Human Development Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with human development:

Careers Related to Child Development & Family Studies
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Farm and Home Management Advisors



Social and Human Service Assistants



Home Economics Professors






Childcare Workers



Community and Social Service Specialists



Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education



Child Development & Family Studies Major Salary

Human development majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $34,000 to $53,000. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Human Development Major  ( 34000 to 53000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Child Development & Family Studies Major Jobs

Some careers associated with human development may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for human development careers below.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Child Development & Family Studies
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Child Development & Family Studies Programs

There are 321 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies, with 51 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is a Child Development & Family Studies Major Worth It?

The median salary for a human development grad is $36,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is -8% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $-61,400 after 20 years!

human development and family studies salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Jsonin via License

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