No, Seriously. What Specific Jobs Should I Look For? (My Spring Break Blog Post!)
First off, I am sorry for not writing as much as I would have hoped lately. I have a toddler, and I am serving in an administrative role on campus right now. Both of those take up lots of time, but I have also been in two leadership positions in professional organizations and serving as faculty-in-residence on my campus for the past couple of years. That has left not much time and definitely not much brain power left for blogging. But the blog has always been in my heart. :) Some of my roles have now ended, so I hope to have more time this year.
Second, I am sure this has typos, but I am posting it anyway because I have no time for perfectionism anymore in my life. (Not that I ever accomplished perfectionism anyway.)
I just finishing serving as chair for the Texas Council on Family Relations (TxCFR) 2020 Annual Conference. Whew, it was fun, but I am super glad it's done. Note to self: Chairing a state conference is a LOT of work. Anyway, I was determined not to present this year since I was chairing, but, at the last minute, I decided to present a roundtable discussion called "Connecting the Dots: Exploring Careers in Family Science." I provided the handout below (which I had previously created for a workshop I presented to a student group) along with a copy of the job search simulation I used in one of my courses. I am SO glad I decided to add the roundtable because I had great discussion with lots of students and professionals. The next day, I received a suggestion that providing a bit more information about specific jobs might be helpful.
The point is valid, and it's a good suggestion. However, if you know me, you know that I have historically been reluctant to listing jobs for family science majors. My reasons include:
People earning an HDFS or related degree are typically enrolled in 4-year colleges/universities intended to prepare people with flexible skills for a variety of jobs. The intention of these programs is typically not to prepare people for a specific job like a trade school (and nothing against trade schools because I value them, too).
Graduates of HDFS programs tend to pursue a broad variety of jobs (both inside and outside the traditional boundaries that are considered "within the field" of HDFS).
Similar jobs can go by very different names, especially when they are listed by organizations or businesses that are considered to be "outside of the field" of HDFS. (On a related but unrelated note, I do not like the phrase "working outside of your field" because of the point I made in #1. The world is interdisciplinary. Many people who are "not working in their field" are actually still using knowledge and skills developed or enhanced through their degrees, but I digress.) Looking for a specific job title might cause people to overlook jobs that could be very similar to what they are actually looking for.
Nonetheless, I see the value in providing some specific job titles for those who are looking to begin the exploration process. So, here are a few starting points. They are in semi-alphabetical order (but not really because these things often go by various names). These are the jobs I thought of off of the top of my head:
Activities Director for Senior Living/Assisted Living
Behavioral Health Tech
Child Life Specialist (will need a graduate degree)
Child Protection/Health & Human Service Casework
College/University Faculty (will need a graduate degree)
Community Sector: Jobs in community service programming that often go by different names (such as Youth Development); employed through local, state, or federal governments
Counselor/Therapist (will need a graduate degree and license)
Crisis/Emergency Services: A range of jobs that often fall under nonprofit but I thought it was worth mentioning these separately
Early Childhood Director
Early Childhood Educator/Early Childhood Teacher/Preschool Teacher
Early Childhood Interventionist
Faith-Based Sector: Several jobs within ministry or faith-based organizations
Healthcare Sector: A range of jobs in the healthcare sector related to family services, patient services, services for children, and other programs related to helping families navigate and cope in healthcare settings (basically parent or family programs in hospitals or clinics)
Home Visitation Worker
Jobs in Higher Education on the student services side that go by a variety of names but that are often provided through student services, student housing, wellness, etc. (These jobs will involve coordinating/delivering programs/services for students and/or parents and families.)
Nonprofit Sector: A whole range of nonprofit jobs related to program coordination/delivery that go by a range of jobs (one being Program Coordinator but many, many others such as Program Assistant 2, for instance)
Parent Educator/Family Educator
Researcher (will need a graduate degree)
Social Worker (will need a license)
In the past and with the help of student research assistants, I have also located jobs that we thought might be of interest to family science students. I have dug some of them up to provide a list of additional job titles to explore:
After-school Program Director
Case Manager (working in a nonprofit)
Child Advocate/Children's Advocate
Child Life Activity Coordinator
Client Service Coordinator
Clinical Case Manager (working with children in foster care)
College Readiness Counselor
Community Living Support (working with youth with disabilities)
Community Relations Specialist for a Health Department
Coordinator, Patient Services
Donor Coordinator (working in the field of infertility treatment)
Director of Children and Family Ministry
Director of Children's Ministries
Director of Special Events for a School
Direct Support Professional (working with individuals and families with developmental disabilities)
Eligibility Specialist (helping connect families with services)
Employee Relations Specialist--Life Coach
Family Resource Specialist (working with parents in communities)
Family Services Provider (for local Department of Education)
Financial Aid for Higher Education (related to family resource management)
Financial Representative/Counselor/Client Service Specialist (related to family resource management)
Grant Funded Assessor/Navigator (helping homeless families find housing and develop an individualized plan)
Home Care Liaison
Information Specialist that helps clients understand their genetic family tree
Intake Coordinator for Health/Behavioral Health
Insurance Agent (related to family resource management)
Intervention Support Associate (working with parents and young children)
Leasing Consultant for Affordable Housing (related to family resource management)
Medical Office Coordinator, Medical Reception, Clinical Support Representative
Office or Home Nanny (yes, and do not automatically pass over this if you really like working one-on-one with individual children because some of these positions are employed through businesses/companies and others through well-paying independent clients)
Program/Curriculum Specialist for Daycare
Victims Assistance Coordinator
I might have missed some big ones, but hopefully this is a starting point. I recommend a few other sources for additional ideas. Here they are:
1. The National Council on Family Relations' Careers in Family Science booklet
2. The National Council on Family Relations' Career Opportunities in Family Science infographic
3. Google. Seriously, and I am not trying to be snarky. If you are interested in working with a particular population (such as children in foster care, pregnant mothers, male youth, or whatever), make it your business to know everyone in your area who is working with those populations. If you are interested in a specific type of work (such as parent education, juvenile justice, child care, family resource management, or whatever), make it your business to know everyone in your area who is providing that service. Some of the people and places engaged in the type of work you are interested in will likely surprise you, but you won't find them unless you look. (This can be time-consuming, I know.)
4. Foundations of Family and Consumer Sciences: Careers Serving Individuals, Families, and Communities (2nd Edition) by Sharleen L. Kato & Janis G. Elias (If you can get your hands on a copy of this, I think it has a lot of good ideas).
I am so glad that the student who attended my talk shared this recommendation because it motivated me to finally carve out time for this post! Okay, now I am going to bed. Happy career hunting!
Oh, one more thing! What would you add to the list? It is in no way exhaustive.
Note: This post was updated on Monday, March 9, 2020 at 3:06 PM (CST) to add Kato & Elias textbook suggestion when I found the book packed away.