American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS)


Students > Career in FCS

Today's Profession Offering
Tomorrow's Careers

Interested in exploring career opportunities in the field of family and consumer sciences? Discover the depth and breadth of career choices available to the family and consumer sciences graduate.

An overview of a career in family and consumer sciences is presented first. Next, you will read quotes from family and consumer sciences majors and find representative career information relating to their specialized areas of the profession. Information provided by recruiters at Florida State University, North Dakota State University, Oklahoma State University, and Virginia Tech as well as practicing leaders throughout the family and consumer sciences profession is presented. Student members of the Kansas State University Human Ecology Council are quoted.

Shaping the Future for Individuals, Families and Communities
The American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) is an organization of professionals who help individuals, families, and communities make informed decisions about their well-being, relationships, and resources to achieve optimal quality of life. Representing nearly 8,000 professionals in family and consumer sciences (FCS), AAFCS members include elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educators and administrators; cooperative Extension educators; and other professionals in business and industry, the nonprofit sectors, and government.

Respected as an organization providing leadership and support to FCS students and professionals in multiple practice settings, the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences grants accreditation status to colleges and universities that meet or exceed standards established by the AAFCS Council for Accreditation. A comprehensive certification program for all family and consumer sciences professionals assures employers that those who are certified have attained a predictable level of expertise and continue to enhance that knowledge-base.

If You . . .

    Are interested in people
    Like to lead, teach and motivate
    Take pride in your judgment and organizational skills
    Look forward to being a member of a creative team
    Enjoy writing and public speaking

You Could . . .

    Counsel families
    Design efficient environments
    Develop improved products and services
    Manage operations
    Market consumer products and services
    Provide information to the public
    Research needs, attitudes and markets
    Teach in public and private settings

Your Career Possibilities are Endless!

Family and Consumer Sciences Is the "Today" Profession Dedicated to enhancing  the relationships among individuals, families, and communities and the  environments in which they function, the Family and Consumer Sciences profession  takes leadership in:

  • improving individual, family, and community well-being; l impacting the  development, delivery, and evaluation of consumer goods and services;
  • influencing the creation of policy; and
  • shaping societal change, thereby enhancing the human condition.

Family and consumer sciences professionals work in the following fields:

  • Apparel and Textile Design
  • Apparel and Textile Merchandising
  • Dietetics
  • Education
  • Food and Nutrition Sciences
  • Human Development and Family Science
  • Hospitality
  • Interior Design
  • Nutrition and Fitness
  • Communications
  • Consumer Economics and Financial Planning

The Careers of Tomorrow
Many of the specializations in family and consumer sciences relate to critical issues of our day.

Rapid changes in society which cause stress to individuals from childhood through adulthood have placed a high demand on the administration of human services.

Opportunities in dependent care, long-term healthcare administration, and wellness are expanding.

Travel and tourism, along with the hospitality industry - hotels, motels, and restaurants - are booming.

Positions in the food and appliance industry are increasing.

Food manufacturers are looking to family and consumer sciences graduates to fill positions in product development, consumer affairs, public policy, strategic planning, marketing, and research.

Counselors are needed to work in alcohol, drug abuse, and family crisis centers.

Financial institutions such as banks, savings and loan associations, counseling agencies, insurance companies, and brokerage firms seek qualified financial planners who understand family dynamics and the relationship with community.

Interior and fashion designers who combine creative abilities with technical knowledge, business expertise, and global awareness will own, manage, and operate private businesses as well as work on design teams.

Merchandising graduates will apply their marketing and management skills in
all aspects of retailing. Developing and designing equipment and clothing for the young, disabled, and aging populations continues to provide new career avenues.

Family and consumer sciences educators and early childhood professionals will continue to be needed to assure that children and youth are prepared for their futures as family members and professionals.

Positions with community agencies, in fund development, in human resources as well as in youth programs and organizations are ideally suited to the family and consumer sciences graduate.

Typical Family and Consumer Sciences Career Settings
Family and consumer sciences graduates can anticipate contributing their newly acquired skills in a variety of work settings, and be assured of continued growth and advancement opportunities. To complement the listings
of specific job opportunities within family and consumer sciences specialties presented on the left-hand pages of this brochure, a generalized overview of major tasks that can be expected in typical career settings follows.

DEVELOPING IMPROVED PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Graduates who choose this setting may:

  • develop products, services, and programs to meet the needs of consumers and clients, considering such factors as associated costs, risk, and environmental concerns;
  • work in laboratories to design improved appliances, fabrics, or furniture;
  • prepare preliminary product prototypes and demonstrate their benefits;
  • create and evaluate food products in a test kitchen;
  • perform tests of new/improved products or services;
  • experiment with different methods of labeling, serving, and motivating consumers;
  • create computer software to enable families to optimize financial planning and budgeting; or
  • write instructions for users/providers.

MARKETING CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Graduates choosing careers in this arena may:

  • manage or work in direct sales promotion of food, apparel, interior furnishings, and other consumer goods;
  • provide customer services in hotels, restaurants, resorts, and convention/tourism centers;
  • administer personal counseling services in nutrition, financial management, parenting, and eldercare; or
  • monitor customer needs, trends, and satisfaction levels.

RESEARCHING NEEDS, ATTITUDES, AND MARKETS
Graduates with inquiring minds might enjoy a setting in which they may:

  • direct market surveys to determine consumer interests and habits;
  • study research reports and government data to detect trends;
  • conduct tests of products or services to assess satisfaction/ effectiveness; or
  • evaluate workforce retraining needs.

INFORMING THE PUBLIC
Graduates with a strong journalism, public relations, and education background may:

  • write articles for Web sites, newspapers, and magazines covering issues affecting the well-being of individuals and families;
  • appear on television to discuss topics of interest to consumers as well as direct such productions;
  • participate in radio talk show discussions;
  • prepare educational publications to expand knowledge of environmental, nutritional, and conservation issues;
  • develop technology assisted means to connect with the public; or
  • provide consumer information regarding the use of the Internet and computers.

WORKING IN FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICE AGENCIES
Graduates interested in one-on-one relationships may:

  • counsel families on how to enhance their quality of life through better budgeting, improved purchasing decisions, and more economical housing selection;
  • assist those with disabilities in managing family responsibilities and living independently;
  • provide legal and financial guidance services;
  • advise members of youth groups on social coping skills; or
  • administer childcare or eldercare services.

MANAGING OPERATIONS
Graduates with strong administrative skills may:

  • purchase supplies and raw materials required for the production of specific goods or services;
  • oversee distribution systems;
  • implement marketing plans for goods or services; or
  • administer personnel, consumer relations, product promotion, and public relations.

TEACHING IN A VARIETY OF SETTINGS
Graduates dedicated to education may:

  • specialize in early childhood education-preschools, kindergarten, and primary grades;
  • instruct middle and high school students about nutrition, interpersonal relationships, human sexuality, human development and parenting, financial management, consumer purchasing, and resource management;
  • be responsible for the prevention and treatment of injuries associated with secondary/collegiate interscholastic athletic programs;
  • teach adults about nutrition and food safety, retirement planning, consumer economics, and family relationships; or
  • organize distance learning experience for youth and adults.

Education
Hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the United States offer two- and four-year degree programs in Family and Consumer Sciences. These include a general program which provides a broad background in all areas of family and consumer sciences subject matter while allowing the student a wide choice of electives as well as very selective programs focusing on a particular area of specialization.

In general, an individual wishing to pursue a career in the Family and Consumer Sciences profession can be expected to:

  • earn an associate's or bachelor's degree as a minimum employment requirement;
  • participate in an internship program during the two- to four-year curriculum;
  • anticipate additional education courses and practice teaching to obtain a teaching certificate;
  • continue in a graduate program to pursue careers in food and nutrition, research, supervisory or extension positions, and college teaching.

A bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences provides an excellent foundation for entrance into professional schools of medicine, dentistry, allied health, and law.

FOOD AND NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES
Increase in demand for knowledge on food safety and nutrition offers challenging positions, both nationally and internationally, to prevent diseases and improve health. Career paths open to the Food and Nutritional Science major are:

    PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
    NUTRITION AND FITNESS COUNSELING
    FOOD SCIENCE/TECHNOLOGY
    FOOD PRODUCTION/PROCESSING
    FOOD SERVICE COORDINATION
    FOOD EDITOR FOR MAGAZINES AND COOKBOOKS
    CONSUMER RELATIONS
    QUALITY CONTROL
    RESEARCH
    MARKETING
    PRODUCTION MANAGER FOR MASS MEDIA INCLUDING WEB
    EDUCATION

"I chose my major because it encompassed the things I am most interested in and brought them together in a package with considerable career flexibility. I can take my degree and enter professional schools of medicine or dentistry, become a dietitian, or enter other health promotion/health care careers."

-Nutritional Sciences Major

DIETETICS
The demand for dietitians is increasing in response to the expanding needs of health care facilities, corporate wellness programs, influence of the media, and environmental concerns. Involved in clinical practice, research, management of food service systems, food processing, communications, sales, and teaching, today's dietitian is typically employed in:

    BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
    COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
    COMMUNITY/GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES
    COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
    CORPORATE AND SPORTS WELLNESS PROGRAMS
    FOOD COMMODITY GROUPS
    FOOD MANUFACTURERS AND PROCESSORS
    HOSPITALS AND HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS
    MASS MEDIA
    HEALTH SPAS
    FITNESS CENTERS
    PRIVATE PRACTICE
    PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOL SYSTEMS
    SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES
    STATE AND FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS
    STATE AND FEDERAL RESEARCH LABORATORIES
    PRODUCTION MANAGERS FOR MASS MEDIA
    NUTRITION THERAPY
    DIET ANALYSIS UTILIZING TECHNOLOGICAL SOFTWARE

"I became interested in nutrition when I worked in a senior center. I wanted to become a dietitian to help individuals acquire the ability to take control over their own diets, bodies and lives."

-Dietetics Major

NUTRITION AND FITNESS
Graduates are able to evaluate, plan for, and counsel individuals in the combined areas of nutrition and fitness, sports and diet, and nutrition and cardiac rehabilitation in a growing list of career opportunities.

    ATHLETIC/ACTIVITIES DIRECTOR
    CORPORATE FITNESS MANAGER
    DIET CENTER DIRECTOR
    FITNESS CLUB MANAGER
    EXERCISE TESTING TECHNICIAN
    FITNESS INSTRUCTOR/CONSULTANT
    HEALTH AND FITNESS ADVISER
    NUTRITION CONSULTANT/SPECIALIST
    NUTRITIONIST
    PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINER
    SPORTS NUTRITIONIST

HUMAN ENVIRONMENTS
Three main design career paths typically chosen include residential, facilities, and specialized design centers for personal living environments. Facilities design concentrates on public and work environments and special design focuses on individual design issues such as lighting and furniture. Career options include:

    CORPORATE DESIGNER
    FACILITIES DESIGNER AND MANAGEMENT
    FURNITURE/PRODUCT DESIGNER
    HEALTH CARE DESIGNER
    HISTORIC PRESERVATIONIST AND PLANner
    HOTEL DESIGNER
    INTERIOR DESIGNER
    RESIDENTIAL DESIGNER
    SPACE PLANNER
    URBAN PLANNER
    EXHIBITIONS AND PROGRAMMING
    OFFICE DESIGNER
    COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN
    GRAPHIC ARTIST

APPAREL/AND TEXTILE DESIGN
Graduates in this major find exciting career opportunities in creative and managerial positions. Among them are:

    APPAREL/TEXTILE PRODUCTION SPECIALIST
    CAD PROFESSIONAL
    COSTUME DESIGNER
    THEATER COSTUMING
    COSTUME HISTORY
    DISPLAY DESIGNER
    DRY CLEANING AND LAUNDERING SPECIALIST
    FASHION COORDINATOR
    FASHION DESIGNER
    FASHION ILLUSTRATOR
    FASHION JOURNALIST
    FUNCTIONAL DESIGNER
    GRAPHIC DESIGNER
    PATTERN DESIGNER/PATTERNMAKER
    PIECE GOODS/FABRICS BUYER
    QUALITY CONTROL SPECIALIST
    TEXTILE DESIGNER
    TEXTILE LABORATORY TECHNICIAN
    TEXTILE PRODUCTION SPECIALIST
    TEXTILE STYLIST

"I enjoy studying about clothing and textiles. I hope to contribute to human well-being by improving the functionality and design of clothing that enhances the self-perception of the wearer."

-Apparel and Textile Major

APPAREL AND TEXTILE MERCHANDISING
The apparel and textile industry is one of the largest employers in the nation. The field seeks people who have knowledge of the fast-paced fashion world, and who also possess keen business skills. Graduates are in high demand and have excellent advancement opportunities. Positions include:

    CATALOG INVENTORY ANALYST
    CUSTOMER RELATIONS MANAGER
    DEPARTMENT MANAGER
    EDUCATION DIRECTOR
    FABRIC MARKET REPORTER
    FASHION CONSULTANT
    FASHION DIRECTOR
    MERCHANDISE MANAGER
    MERCHANDISER
    PRODUCT DEVELOPER
    QUALITY ASSURANCE ANALYST
    RETAIL BUYER
    RETAIL PROMOTION
    STORE MANAGER OR OWNER
    VISUAL MERCHANDISER
    HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
    FINANCIAL ANALYST
    COMPUTER SYSTEMS DESIGNER
    E-COMMERCE MARKETING

"I want to own my own clothing business and I thought this was the best way to gain insight. I have learned that clothing is a strong symbol of who we are as a person within our society."

-Apparel and Textile Marketing Major

HOSPITALITY
One of the fastest growing industries in the nation, each year about 25,000 employees are needed to fill positions within the hospitality industry.

    HOTEL ADMINISTRATION
    BED AND BREAKFAST OWNER/MANAGER
    CAMPGROUND MANAGER
    CONVENTION/MEETING MANAGER
    CRUISE LINE MANAGEMENT
    EQUIPMENT SALES
    FRONT DESK MANAGER
    RESORT/MARINA MANAGEMENT
    THEME PARK MANAGER/SPECIALIST
    DESIGNER OF SOFTWARE PROGRAMS SUPPORT HOSPITALITY
    FOOD SERVICE MANAGEMENT
    CATERER
    CLUB MANAGER
    COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY FOOD SERVICE DIRECTOR
    FAST FOOD RESTAURANT MANAGER
    FOOD AND BEVERAGE MANAGER
    KITCHEN SUPERVISOR
    RESTAURANT MANAGER
    SCHOOL FOOD SERVICE DIRECTOR
    SPECIALTY FOOD MANAGER
    MILITARY FOOD SERVICE DIRECTOR
    TRAVEL AND TOURISM
    BUSINESS TRAVEL SPECIALIST
    CRUISE DIRECTOR
    INCENTIVE TRAVEL SPECIALIST
    TOUR BROKER/WHOLESALER
    TRAVEL JOURNALIST/WRITER

EDUCATION
In addition to ongoing teacher shortages in some geographical areas, career opportunities in business, industry, and the public sector exist for the graduate with an education degree in family and consumer sciences.

    ATHLETIC EDUCATOR WORKING WITH
    CLINICAL AND INDUSTRIAL HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS
    CORPORATE HEALTH PROGRAMS
    HEALTH CLUBS
    INTERSCHOLASTIC/COLLEGIATE/PROFESSIONAL ATHLETICS
    SPORTS MEDICAL CLINICS
    BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY PUBLIC AFFAIRS
    SPECIALIST/DIRECTOR
    CONSUMER AFFAIRS DIRECTOR
    COOPERATIVE EXTENSION DIRECTOR
    HEAD START PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    AGING SERVICE DIRECTOR
    PEACE CORPS/VISTA VOLUNTEER
    PRESCHOOL TEACHER
    ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER
    SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHER
    COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGES

"Teaching has always appealed to me as a career choice. At the same time, everything that is involved in day-to-day living is a part of family and consumer sciences education and I am very excited about
helping others to live better."

-Family and Consumer Sciences Education Major

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY SCIENCE
In high demand because of rapid changes in the life course, careers continue to evolve.

    DIRECT SERVICE TO CHILDREN AND YOUTH
    CHILD CARE (INFANT, TODDLER, AND SCHOOL-AGE)
    HOSPITAL PROGRAMS
    RECREATION PROGRAMS
    DIRECT SERVICE TO FAMILIES
    COMMUNITY SERVICE WORKER
    COOPERATIVE EXTENSION EDUCATOR
    ELDER CARE
    OUTREACH WORKER
    PARENT EDUCATOR
    SUPPORT SERVICE TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
    CASEWORKER: MENTAL HEALTH, YOUTH SERVICES
    CHILD AND FAMILY ADVOCATE
    CHILD CARE DIRECTOR
    COMMUNITY/HUMAN SERVICE DIRECTOR OR SPECIALIST
    EARLY CHILD DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTIONIST
    FAMILY LIFE EDUCATOR
    HUMAN DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT
    RETIREMENT FACILITY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    RESEARCH ANALYST
    DIRECTOR - MEDIA RELATIONS
    POLICY ANALYST
    SYSTEMS ANALYST
    FINANCIAL CONSULTANT
    INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANT

Need More Information?
AAFCS is a valuable asset in providing answers to questions you may have about the family and consumer sciences profession. Visit our website at aafcs.org for career information and job opportunities in the family and consumer sciences field or call AAFCS at 703-706-4600 or 800-424-8080.

The Council on Higher Education Accreditation recognizes the American Association of Family Consumer Sciences as a Specialized Accrediting Agency on Post-Secondary Accreditation. AAFCS accreditation is a status granted to colleges and universities that meet or exceed standards established by its Council for Accreditation. Request a list of AAFCS-accredited colleges and universities.

Preprofessional/Graduate Student chapters of the Association exist on many college campuses. Contact AAFCS for information concerning these student-based groups.

Check out FCS Career Connection for career opportunities too!


American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences