Careers for HDFS Graduates

Graduates of Human Development and Family Science have a wide array of career options, many of which are available to graduates of any of the HDFS undergraduate emphasis areas.

Currently, official certification is only required to work as a Child Life Specialist. Students completing all of the requirements of the Child Life emphasis area and passing the Child Life Council’s Certification Exam would qualify.

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Exploring Careers in HDFS

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Our Graduates are Making an Impact!

Listed below is a sampling of the types of positions held by graduates of our Bachelor’s degree programs. Where possible we have provided some information on the types of duties that each position entails. A few graduates also informed us of additional education they completed before landing the job. We hope this list will be useful to you as you consider your future as an employed HDFS graduate. Click on each career setting below to see a sample of the types of positions.

  • Child and Family Advocate with the Child Advocacy Center at Rainbow House, Columbia MO.
    Address the needs of and provide support to families who come to the center with children who have been victims of sexual abuse and trauma.
  • Employment and Training Coordinator at Central Missouri Community Action, Columbia MO.
    Assist laid-off workers and TANF recipients to retrain and find new employment through job readiness classes.
  • Program Coordinator for Granny's House (afterschool program for children in public housing), Columbia, MO.
    Coordinate and manage programs that support children, organize and facilitate child and family events, and create and foster relationships with the families and children living in public housing
  • Director of the Kay Senior Care Center associated with the Church Street United Methodist Church, Knoxville TN.
    This is a Licensed Adult Day Care serving seniors with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers. (after a Masters in Public Health).
  • Human Resources Officer at Horn Creek Camp, Colorado.
    Coordinate hiring and staffing for this Christian camp that offers year-round facilities for family camps, student and school retreats, military family retreats, etc.
  • Family Development Coordinator with Central Missouri Community Action, Columbia MO.
    Coordinate and facilitate training to teach front-line workers to use a strengths-based approach to working with families; facilitate relationships, understanding and training programs for families working their way out of poverty; grant-writing and management
  • Substance Abuse Counselor at Phoenix Programs, Columbia, MO.
    Provide substance abuse counseling, treatment planning, group education, group counseling, and case management.
  • Community Support Specialist at Burrell Behavioral Health Child and Adolescent Services, Columbia, MO.
    Provide case management for severely mentally ill, low-income youth ages 4-17.
  • Restorative Justice Coordinator for the Center for Women in Transition, St. Louis MO.
    Assist women in the criminal justice system in making a successful transition back to their families and communities.
  • Community Support Specialist for Pathways Community Behavioral Healthcare.
    Provide community based psychiatric rehabilitation services for mentally ill individuals
  • Legislative Aid for U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C.
    Worked in the areas of healthcare and education.
  • Child Protection Caseworker for Family Integrated Treatment (drug) Court, Jefferson County CO.
    Work with parents with substance abuse/chemical dependency issues in a family drug court setting; assess for risk and safety of children; provide case management services for families involved in child protective services; work toward family reunification (obtained Master’s in Social Work).
  • Eligibility Specialist for Charter Oak Communities Housing Authority, Stamford CT.
    Manage required certifications for over 1600 low-income individuals and families to receive federal housing assistance (Section 8) through HUD.
  • Library Assistant at Wake County Public Libraries, Wake County NC.
    Present programs for 3-year olds and their parents, manage educator's resource collection ("Mailbox" and other publications for preschool teachers), work with grant funds to create and provide book bag kits for preschool classes to check out.
  • Program Specialist for the U.S. Department of Defense, Army Community Service.
    Assist families with adjustment to military life; provide education and outreach to encourage self-sufficiency and resilience, either in group formats or one-on-one.
  • Children and Family Services Specialist for the Nebraska Division of Children and Families, Douglas County NE.
    Investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, interview children and adults to complete safety and family assessments, help families connect with resources to be safe parents, notify the juvenile court system when necessary by completing affidavits for immediate temporary custody of children, accompany law enforcement to help remove children, prepare children for foster care
  • School Counselor at Rockwood School District, St. Louis County MO.
    Deliver curriculum about bullying, study skills, relationships; support student problem solving in family and friend relationships; process paperwork for student testing for special services, meet with parents, students, teachers, and administrators to help students be successful in school (obtained Master’s in counseling).
  • Lead Teacher for a 4- to 5-year-old classroom at the YMCA. Also was a lead teacher in an infant/toddler classroom at a local domestic violence shelter.
  • Pre-Kindergarten Teacher within an inclusion classroom in St. Louis MO.
    Work with 4 and 5-year-olds, some of whom are typically developing children and others who are non-ambulatory students with severe physical problems as well as developmental delays in speech and cognition. (masters completed).
  • Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher at Parkway North High School, St. Louis MO.
  • Youth Advisor in a YMCA teen leadership program.
  • Support Director at Forest Bluff Montessori School, Lake Bluff IL.
  • Director of Program Development for the Boys' Club of New York, New York NY.
    Evaluate the effectiveness of current programs targeted at the emerging needs of urban boys. Work to expand services and implement new programs across three NYC city clubhouses.
  • Teacher in a CSS Classroom in Springfield Public Schools, Springfield MO.
    Work primarily with students who have been diagnosed with autism (obtained a Master’s in Special Education).
  • Admissions Representative at Grantham University, Lenexa KS.
    Assist students with enrollment and advisement, especially military veterans needing assistance with securing their education benefits.
  • Owner and Director of Private Child Care Facility, The Playground, Columbia MO.
    Work with state agencies to maintain licensure; manage about a dozen full and part time staff daily; maintain the health and welfare of the children in the facility; fiscal management and billing Social Services for children in foster care and partial payment for parents with child care assistance.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist at McCambridge Center for Women, Columbia MO.
    Provide therapeutic services for women with chemical dependency and their families
  • County Extension Agent in Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Arkansas.
    Offer programming in the areas of nutrition, health and aging, marriage, parenting and family life, and family and consumer economics. Supervise staff in the county and work with the 4-H program
  • Therapist for a rural health center in Northeast Missouri
    Provide therapy for children, families, pregnant and postpartum mothers, and other adults in various rural communities, as well as counseling at the local Juvenile Justice Center and work on a health literacy project (after earning a Master’s in Social Work).
  • Intake Counselor at the St. Louis Crisis Nursery, St. Louis MO.
    Provide abused and at-risk children with one-on-one therapeutic interventions and care, provide counseling and resources to parents, and coordinate volunteers.
  • Development Officer for University of Missouri Children's Hospital, Columbia MO.
    Raise money for Children's Hospital and maintaining relations with local businesses.
  • Special Events Coordinator for the St. Louis Children's Hospital Foundation, St. Louis MO.
    Fundraising, event planning, and development work for major donors and corporate sponsors.
  • Director of Development for Open Arms Pregnancy Resource Center.
    Had responsibility for raising a $300,000 budget. This position was made possible because of completing an internship at the agency.
  • Director of Kay Senior Care Center at Church Street United Methodist Church, Knoxville TN.
    Oversee administration of this Licensed Adult Day Care facility serving seniors with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers. (Master’s in Public Health).
  • Certified Child Life Specialist at University of Missouri Women's and Children's Hospital, Columbia MO.
    Provide supportive child life services to adolescents and families in the Adolescent Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
  • Certified Child Life Specialist at St. Louis Children's Hospital, St Louis MO.
    In the Hematology and Oncology Unit, educate patients and their families about the child’s diagnosis and treatment, normalize the hospital environment for patients through play, activities, and special events, prepare patients and their families for medical procedures, and oversee the in-patient playroom
  • Child Life Specialist at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Specialty Hospital, Maryland Heights MO.
    Work with infants and preschoolers doing developmental activities, distractions, parent training, and play to increase development and growth while hospitalized. Also a Certified Infant Massage Instructor and do infant patient massage and train their parents in infant massage techniques.

Where are they now?

Check out where graduates of our on-campus Masters and PhD programs have landed across the globe.

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