Consumer Science Degree Programs Overview

Learn about certificate and bachelor's degree programs in consumer science. Get information on prerequisites, course requirements, career options, job growth outlook and salary potential.

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Essential Information

Consumer science is a social discipline that focuses on the relationship between people and the environment in which they interact. Some of the topics addressed by a specialist in consumer science are nutrition, aging, housing, food safety, community and parenting. Certificate programs in consumer science are usually short programs focused on a particular area, such as Internet retail or apparel merchandising. Bachelor's degree programs are 4-year plans of study that include general education classes, along with classes and hands-on experiences in areas including finance, nutrition and child development.


Certificate in Consumer Science

Certificates in consumer science are popular for those who simply wish to gain the competitive edge in a job search. The field of consumer science includes subjects such as family, marketing, nutrition, apparel design, life management and interior design. Concepts covered in this program are marketing, promotion, nutrition merchandising and entrepreneurship. Training encompasses nutritional knowledge, life-saving techniques and mediation skills.

Educational Prerequisites

Due to the wide range of concentrations in consumer science, prerequisites vary by program. Typically there are requirements to demonstrate educational aptitude, clinical experience and research competency.

Program Coursework

Coursework involved within a certificate program in consumer science is typically focused and specific to subject area. Sample courses are:

  • Internet retail
  • Technology entrepreneurship
  • Product organization and promotion
  • Apparel merchandising

Popular Career Options

A range of positions are available for those who have completed a certificate in consumer science. Jobs may include:

  • Human services consultant
  • Culinary arts trainer
  • Personal shopper
  • Store operator

A certificate would also likely be helpful in the path toward becoming a first-line supervisor of retail workers, which would bring in a median income of $36,820, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, in 2012. Job growth in retail sales is expected to increase by 17 percent from 2010 to 2020.


Bachelor of Science in Consumer Science

Students of the bachelor's degree program in consumer science possess a general knowledge of all areas within the discipline. Instead of focusing on any single facet of consumer science, students are likely to receive a balanced education on the following areas: family and child development, nutrition and foods, family management, fashion merchandising and interior design. The degree requires approximately 125 course hours for completion. Some of the concepts covered throughout the program are global perspectives, human well-being and entrepreneurship ethics. Educational prerequisites vary by school.

Program Coursework

Coursework in this program tends to rely heavily on social sciences. The degree plan is ideal for students who value communication, believe family is a fundamental societal unit, welcome diversity and thrive on serving others. Courses may address:

  • Relationships and sexuality
  • Nutrition basics
  • Awareness of the consumer
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Child development
  • Finance
  • Housing management

Career Options

Since the subject area is expansive and varied, graduates with a bachelor's degree in consumer science have many career options. For example:

  • Marketing strategist
  • Retail professional
  • Fashion merchant
  • Fashion designer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Frontline sales associate
  • Visual merchandising coordinator
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Online Degrees in Family and Consumer Science

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