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Online Home Economics Degree Program Information

The field of home economics, also known as family and consumer sciences, is concerned with improving and protecting the lives of individuals, families and communities. Home economists work in schools, social services agencies, crisis clinics, extension agencies and a host of other public and private organizations. Bachelor's and master's degrees in this field are available online.

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Essential Information

Many schools have online bachelor's and master's degrees in home economics. Some programs offer 100% online courses, while others are hybrid programs that require students to visit campus as well as watch lessons online. Most programs require internships that students can usually complete near their homes.

These programs, often called family and consumer sciences, include the study of family relationships, nutrition, consumer advocacy and household responsibilities. Bachelor's degree programs are for students who are new to the field. These programs give students a general overview of the profession, with courses including family life, the aging process and consumer education.

Master's degree programs are aimed at individuals who are already working in the field. These programs include general core courses, along with courses of the student's own choosing that fit their career goals. Master's degree students may be required to complete a thesis.

A degree in home economics can prepare graduates for many careers, and some, such as teacher or nutritionist, may require licensing or certification. Students should check their state's requirements and make sure that any online program they choose meets the state requirements for licensing.


Online Bachelor of Science in Home Economics Degree

Home economics covers an amazing array of topics and issues, including life span human development, family relationships, economics, education, food and nutrition, health, consumer advocacy and sustainable living, to name only a few. Classes are linked through an interdisciplinary perspective. In addition to online coursework, most programs require students to complete internships.

Program Information and Requirements

Home economics bachelor programs take about four years to complete. They are usually offered in hybrid format, with most courses available online and some on campus. Internships may be fulfilled through local agencies and organizations. Study is self-paced within the school's scheduled terms. Interaction with teachers and other students occurs via e-mail, live chat and sometimes phone conferences.

Classes are presented using specialized software, such as Blackboard, that can be accessed from any computer. Technical requirements include a computer with Web access and e-mail, a browser that supports Javascript, word processing software and CD/DVD capability. Free downloadable programs, such as Adobe Reader and Real Player, may be needed. Technical support is usually offered 24-7 through the school.

List of Online Bachelor's Degree Program Home Economics Courses

In addition to core home economics courses, undergraduates must fulfill general education requirements, including math, science, language arts and history.

Balancing Work with Family Life Course

This online course examines issues that may arise when trying to combine work and family life. Topics include child care, child development, marriage, finances, family member relationships and household responsibilities.

Gerontology Course

As humans age, their roles in family, society and culture change. These sometimes difficult changes are explored in the context of relationships, policies and services that involve the elderly.

Consumer Education Course

This class teaches students about managing family or personal finances in order to meet responsibilities and achieve goals. Community financial classes and counseling resources are discussed.

Contemporary Housing Issues Course

Access to housing is an important national issue. Affordability, environmental considerations and public housing policies are discussed.

Career Information

The 'home economist' job title is not specifically listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but 'social and human service assistant' covers many aspects of the profession. Job growth for social and human services professionals was expected to be above average during the 2008-2018 time period, with a growth rate of 23% according to the BLS (www.bls.gov). The BLS partly attributed this growth to the aging U.S. population's need for more support and services.

In 2009, the median annual salary for social and human service assistants was $27,940, according to the BLS. State government workers had the highest annual median salary at $35,810, while workers in residential facilities made the least at $24,770.


Online Master of Science in Home Economics Degree

Online master's degree programs are designed for working home economists who want to pursue field specialties. For example, in addition to core family and consumer science classes, students might choose to focus on nutrition or home economics education. Students should be aware that the concentration chosen may require an in-person practicum or internship.

Program Information and Requirements

Master's degree programs in home economics take 2-3 years to complete. While students work at their own learning paces, they are urged to communicate with teachers and fellow students on a regular basis. Most classes are available online, with internships and practicums available through local participating institutions.

Technical requirements match those of online bachelor's programs. Specialized distance learning software, such as Blackboard, may be used. Access to e-mail, the Internet, Adobe Reader, Real Player and Flash Player may be required to participate in classroom activities. Technical support is offered through most schools.

List of Online Master's Degree Home Economics Courses

Stages of Learning from Birth to Eight Years Course

Information on how children learn through relationships with parents, teachers and family are examined; aspects of cultural diversity are also discussed. Instructional materials and resources that augment the learning environment are discussed and evaluated.

Managing Resources for Special Populations Course

Those living with special circumstances, such as low income, advanced age or physical disability, need to adapt and allocate resources accordingly. This class presents effective management strategies for dealing with these special circumstances.

Multicultural Education Course

This course offers a discussion of how education can foster culturally diverse perspectives. Students review and critique historical practices and policies that have affected various populations in the U.S.

History of Home Economics Course

Students review the development of the profession and how it has affected families, communities and legislation at both local and national levels. The core mission and philosophy of advocating for human well-being is emphasized.

Career Information

Several home economics specialties are available at the master's level. The two previously mentioned, nutritionist and home economics education, are described by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The growth rate for nutritionist jobs was predicted to be about 9% during 2008-2018, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov). Those with advanced degrees will have the best opportunities. In 2009, nutritionists earned a median salary of $52,150, reported the BLS.

The BLS estimate for number of postsecondary home economics teachers employed in 2009 was 4,800. Job growth rate for home economics teachers was predicted to be faster than average at 14-19% during the 2008-2018 decade. Median wages in 2009 were $64,470, according to the BLS.

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