Professionals in the field are becoming more interested in the online Master’s in Human and Family Development degree programs that are available today. From behavior specialists to human service managers, these professionals are finding that graduate work has become more in-demand from employers. Now, traditional programs are not the only alternative for in-service professionals.
The online programs that are available in this field are very affordable, oftentimes available with online-only tuition rates. They are also extremely flexible, enabling students the opportunity to work full-time or part-time, accelerate their degree path, and even take on additional graduate certificates in the field. With asynchronous courses par for the course as well, professionals can fit their education around their schedule, ensuring they will accomplish their goal while still working on their career.
This ranking of the best online Master’s in Human and Family Development was created by analyzing information from the National Center for Education Statistics and its College Navigator Database. An initial pool of 30 schools were created by searching for schools with online degrees in human and family development. The final 10 schools were selected based on their in-state graduate tuition rates and are listed below in order from least to most affordable program.
Ranking Low-cost Online Human and Family Development Master’s
10. Oklahoma State University
Online Master of Science in Human Development and Family Science: Family and Community Services
Oklahoma State University confers an online Master’s in Human and Family Development that is focused on the design and implementation of different types of support services aimed at individuals, communities, and families. This is a 100 percent online program that is delivered asynchronously and on the traditional 16-week term schedule; summer school terms are four weeks in length. Students can reasonably complete all the requirements for this degree within two years of part-time study. The curriculum is focused on the individuals and families within the context of the community. This is a great program for professionals interested in serving their local communities in a variety of roles. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a creative project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Coping with Family Crises, Human Development in the Context of Family and Community, and Dynamics of Family Interaction.
9. University of Southern Mississippi
Online Master of Science in Child and Family Studies
Professionals interested in an interdisciplinary Master’s in Human and Family Development online degree should visit the University of Southern Mississippi. The school offers an academic research-based program that was built specifically for working professionals. This degree is offered 100 percent online and can be completed in as little as two years. Students will be offered a comprehensive curriculum that is taught by in-service professionals who have years of experience in the field. The curriculum is structured so that professionals take the time to learn about every facet that affects the family unit, including developmental concepts ranging from newborn to gerontology. Students will be expected to complete 37 credit hours of coursework, a thesis, two practicums, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Intimate Relationship Development, Adulthood and Aging in the Family System, and Critical Issues in Child Development.
8. North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina
Online Master of Science in Youth, Family, and Community Sciences
North Carolina State University provides an online Master’s in Human and Family Development that was built for in-service and pre-service professionals alike. This is a research-based degree that is best pursued by students interested in doctoral study or a research career. The curriculum is 100 percent online and is delivered through synchronous courses on a 10-week term schedule. Students will find a curriculum that can be tailored to a specific area or a broad perspective dealing with development, community, youths, and family. Students will also write their own thesis based on the focus of their degree; they will be required to orally defend it on campus. Other requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Professional Ethics and Family Policy, Applied Concepts in Child and Youth Development, and Family and Youth Professionals as Leaders.
7. Texas Tech University
Online Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies, Youth Development Concentration
Students at Texas Tech University are offered a human and family development master’s online degree that is taught by a nationally renown faculty. Students will find a 100 percent online program that offers two concentrations: Gerontology and Youth Development. These are provided in partnership with the Great Plain Interactive Distance Education Alliance, a consortium of schools that make their online courses available to all students in order to confer online graduate degrees. The Youth Development concentration will require a practicum, research project, or a thesis as well as 28 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research, Program Management and Administration, and Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation.
6. University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Online Master of Science in Child, Youth and Family Studies, Human and Family Services Administration Concentration
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln confers an online Master’s in Human and Family Development that was built to provide advanced education to in-service professionals. This is a 100 percent online degree that delivers asynchronous and synchronous courses in an eight-week term format, making it simple for students to complete all the necessary requirements in as little as two years. The curriculum combines courses on youth and family development with business and administrative courses; it was designed for professionals ready to move into management positions within their work environment. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework as well as a capstone project and comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Family Professionals as Consumers of Research, Theories of Human Development and Family Relations, and Foundation in Public Service.
5. Concordia University at St. Paul
St. Paul, Minnesota
Online Master of Arts in Family Science
Students at Concordia University at St. Paul are offered the chance to earn an online human and family development master’s degree that focuses mainly on family science. This is a 100 percent online degree that has a focus on the family unit and views the issues that may affect the family from a preventive perspective; it is approved by the National Council on Family Relations. Students will learn various skills necessary to interact with the family unit, such as communication and decision-making skills. Those who successfully complete this degree on the certified track will earn the Certified Family Life Educator credential. Courses in this program are delivered asynchronously and on a seven-week term schedule; it is possible to earn this degree in around 18 months with part-time study. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework as well as a capstone project and comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Public Policy and Applied Ethics, Family Communication and Relationships, and Systemic Dynamics of Families.
4. Texas Woman’s University
Online Master of Science in Family Studies
Texas Woman’s University confers an online Master’s of Human and Family Development that was created to focus on the family unit and the various developmental changes and roles that happens within families. This is a 100 percent online program that delivers courses asynchronously and synchronous in the traditional academic term format. Students will have the chance to choose a content specialization that can be tailored to their specific interests while also completing the core and research requirements necessary for the degree. They may also choose to partake in a practicum if they so choose; the practicum will take place in their own community. This degree requires at least 34 credit hours of coursework, a final project of the student’s choosing, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Lifespan and Human Development, Statistics for Research in Family Sciences, and Family Changes and Diversity.
3. University of North Alabama
Online Masters in Science in Family Studies
Students at the University of North Alabama will be eligible to earn an online Master’s in Human and Family Development that will provide them with ample opportunities to advance their career while still working full-time. This degree focuses on family studies and is delivered 100 percent online and was designed to be completed in two years with full-time study. Nearly half of the curriculum is available for students to build their own specialization within the field of study. Students can choose to either take a comprehensive exam or a thesis project as their final project. They will also be expected to take 31 credit hours of coursework and a practicum that takes place in their community in order to graduate. Sample courses include Family Problems and Methods of Intervention, Family Diversity and Social Change, and Social Psychology of Intimate Relationships.
2. Amberton University
Online Master of Science in Family Studies
Amberton University confers an online Master’s in Human and Family Development that is perfect for students who are interested in counseling as a main component of their career. Students will be given access to an interdisciplinary program that combines counseling and human development within the curriculum and the program’s various projects. Students will find a curriculum that is split into three sections: Core Requirements, Major Requirements, and Counseling Electives. Counseling electives are courses in which students can choose their specialization, tailoring their curriculum to their interests. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exam for graduation. Sample courses include Conflict Management and Resolution, Aging and End of Life Issues, and Theory and Application of Research Methods.
1. Missouri State University
Online Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development
Missouri State University confers a cheap human and family development master’s degree that can be taken 100 percent online or as a hybrid program. Students will be able to complete this degree in 18 months with full-time study. Courses are delivered asynchronously and follow the 16-week academic term format. Students will find a wide variety of courses in their curriculum, from current issues and trends to research courses. This degree was built for professionals who are already working in the field; students should expect advanced concepts to be taught in the classroom. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Children and Families in a Diverse Society, Programming and Policy Issues for Early Childhood Settings, and Inquiry in Early Childhood and Family Development.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Master’s in Human and Family Development Degree?
The field of human and family development is vast and encompasses all public sector jobs and even some private sector opportunities as well. Professionals can work in a variety of occupations, including:
- Certified Family Life Educator
- Grant Writer
- Child Life Specialist
- Health Educator
- Substance Abuse Specialist
- Grief Counselor
- Nonprofit Program Director
- Juvenile Probation Officer
- Emergency Management Specialist
- Foster Care Coordinator
Professionals can work in community centers, for the government, as part of the state agencies for foster care or family development, and even for nonprofit agencies. Their jobs depend on their specialization within the field as well as any credentials they may hold. It’s up to the student to make the right career decision for themselves.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The current salary range for this field is $25,000 to $90,000. This includes the vast amount of career options available in the field, work experience levels, education level, region of the country where a professional is employed, credentialed workers as well as non-credentialed workers, public and private sector jobs, and more.
Professionals will note that the low number of this salary range refers to entry-level workers; if these professionals have more than three years of experience in the field, their starting salary would be much closer to $45,000. Also, professionals who move up from being officers, consultants, or specialists to being managers or directors make the most money, provided they stick with one organization or agency long enough to earn the promotion.
What are the Various Disciplines of Human and Family Development?
Human and Family Development, which is sometimes known as Human Development and Family Studies, is the only professional field that has a stated focus on the family unit. Professionals in the field work in a variety of settings, but all of them center on the family; a few examples include as an abuse counselor, a social worker, a community services director, and more. It is an incredible field that has a variety of disciplines at play.
The first and foremost discipline within the field is developed. This refers to the physical, emotional, mental, and psychological development and maturation of individuals within the family unit. Psychology, science, and sociology all play a role in the broader field that is development. Students will often find that counseling also plays a large role; many professionals go on to earn a postmaster’s degree in counseling with a focus on family studies.
Other disciplines at play include healthcare, administration, management, business, and leadership. These disciplines are either at play within a work environment or are the work environment for a professional. Students will find that much of their job focuses on managing caseloads, arranging phone calls with clients and with superiors, making their case in front of a court, and more.
Law, politics, policy, and public administration affect this field. This is because America has a longstanding tradition of federal and state laws that regulate anything to do with children; this includes healthcare, childcare, lawsuits, neglect, abuse, and more. Professionals must adhere to state and federal law in order to continue to do their job effectively.
Do You Need the Certified Family Life Educator Credential?
A Certified Family Life Educator is a professional who has years of experience in the field of family studies and works to prevent family problems from occurring. These professionals are well educated, with most having a master’s degree in their field of expertise, and have gone through the rigorous process of earning the full CFLE credential. They are found in various settings, including social work situations, foster care, healthcare, community centers, and more.
CFLEs are respected and value in the field of family education and science. These professionals are trained as generalists, which means they have a vast amount of knowledge in a variety of fields. They are also incredible public speakers and support staff, meaning that whatever need their work environment might lack, they can provide support.
No professional needs to earn the CFLE credential; it is completely voluntary and not having it will not serve as a hindrance to employment. It will, however, bring better opportunities to the professionals who have earned the credential. This also includes better salaries, better benefits, and more freedom and responsibility within their work environment.
Human services professionals often work in community and social services programs, focusing on providing individuals and families with much-needed assistance. This means that they must be provided with the best graduate programs in the country so they can do their work effectively. An online Master’s in Human and Family Development, such as the ones listed in this ranking, is a great place for any professional to begin choosing the program that is right for them.