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Related Skills

  • Strong work ethic and professional manners
  • Proven leadership skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Enjoy working with children, teens, and adults
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Sensitive to the needs of other people
  • Strong organizational and planning skills
  • Ability to work individually and in a team

Being Successful in the Field

  • A master's degree in counseling, social work, occupational therapy, or related field, in addition to appropriate professional licensure, is usually necessary to provide therapy and for advancement to supervisory or administrative positions
  • Complete practicum experiences and internships to determine suitability for the helping professions and to gain exposure to various practice settings and clients
  • Candidates should possess empathy for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an interest in social change
  • Gain experience with a diverse range of clients and client systems including individuals, families, groups, communities, and minorities

For students interested in early childhood education or developmental therapy, Human Development and Family Science is not an approved major and does not fulfill the requirements for the associated credentials in the State of Illinois. 

Related Fields

The Human Development and Family Science major prepares graduates to provide services which improve individual and family well-being. This major can lead to various careers in:

  • Community-based Social Services
  • Family Intervention Services
  • Parent and Family Life Education
  • Residential Care Programs
  • Childcare Services
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Case Management
  • Government and Public Policy
  • Healthcare and Family Wellness

This program also prepares students for graduate study in:

  • Family Science
  • Human Development
  • Social Work
  • Child Life
  • Counseling

Program Highlights

  • Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) approved program
  • Opportunities for department honors and recognition
  • NAEYC accredited childcare center
  • Opportunities to conduct and present research
  • Award winning student organizations and faculty
  • Applied learning opportunities

Being Successful in the Field

Get Experience Early

There are endless opportunities to get involved as you work toward a career in human development and family science. Begin by joining a student organization like ISU-CFR or Child Life Club where you’ll have the chance to network with faculty, alumni, and professionals as well as fellow students in the HDFS program at ISU.

You might also be interested in picking up a part-time job during the academic year. Bloomington-Normal is home to many human service agencies, childcare centers, and other organizations that hire college students during the academic semesters.

Complete an internship that relates to your career goals. Students in the Human Development and Family Science major will complete a required internship as part of their academic requirements, which typically takes place the summer between junior and senior year. As you engage yourself in your courses, start thinking early about your passions in the field, what you still want to learn, and what kind of internship will prepare you for the career you want after graduation.

Consider Earning a Minor

Minors can help students gain additional practice and understanding in their future areas of expertise. Some common minors that pair well with

*Adding a minor is not required to graduate

Think about Graduate School

Although not required to be successful in the field, a graduate degree in Human Development and Family Science can qualify you to enter the workforce at a higher level and make you a more competitive professional when entering the job market. Illinois State University offers a unique accelerated master’s option for students who earn their bachelor’s degree through the HDFS undergraduate program. More information can be found here.


  • Youthbuild McLean County – Normal, IL
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities – Various Locations
  • Chesterbrook Academy – Bloomington, IL
  • Sunrise Senior Living – Various Locations
  • Angel Adoption – Crystal Lake, IL
  • Department of Children and Family Services – Rockford, IL
  • Easter Seals – Various Locations
  • Picture of the World – Rome, Italy

Career Industry Liaison

Name Office Email Phone
Megan Ruffin  223 Bone Student Center  (309) 438-2200 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Jenna Kirkwood  Turner Hall 106  (309) 438-2517