Career Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with this major?

Refer to the Careers page for information about pursuing careers in human services or business, or pursuing a graduate degree. A link to jobs which are currently held by recent HDFS majors is available at the top of the page. Follow the links at the bottom of the Careers page to explore different careers or learn more about specific requirements for different careers. If you have remaining questions about the suitability of an HDFS degree for your chosen career, please consult your academic and/or faculty advisor.

What job opportunities are available?

Penn State's Career Services can help students with considering and applying for specific jobs. There are also links at the bottom of the Careers page for state and national government positions and for other job posting sites.

Can I pursue a teaching career if I major in HDFS?

Students in HDFS may pursue teaching careers. Students who wish to work in private schools may require no additional training or additional training through the school or through an educational certification program. Students who wish to work in public educational settings must be certified through programs approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students generally pursue certification in one of two ways:

Concurrent degrees in HDFS and Education: Some students decide to pursue concurrent degrees in HDFS and Education. These students should consult with their academic advisers to determine eligibility requirements, review the HDFS degree requirements, and curriculum checksheets for Penn State's Early Childhood (N - 3) and Elementary (K - 6) Education teacher certification programs. These curriculum checksheets and the online "What if..." degree audits available via eLion also include the Entrance To Major criteria for the College of Education and deadlines for completing specified requirements. Additional information on the Entrance to Major process for the College of Education is available. Students also may view the requirements for these teacher certification programs in the online Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin. It is possible to pursue teacher certification programs in conjunction with an undergraduate degree in HD FS, but it will require additional semesters of coursework at Penn State.

Training in a post-baccalaureate program: After receiving an undergraduate degree, students may choose to pursue teacher certification through additional training. Several alternative routes to teacher certification are also available. Although Penn State does not offer a one-year Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or Master of Education (MEd) degree leading to teacher certification for public schools, many institutions throughout the country offer such post-baccalaureate programs. Some states and colleges/universities also offer expedited alternate routes to certification for high demand areas such as Math, Chemistry and Physics, but Early Childhood or Elementary Education usually would not be considered in the high demand category, except for some urban areas.

The College of Education has an online Advising Index which contains more information about certification programs they offer. Also, please review materials available through the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Is it necessary to pursue graduate school with this major?

Many HDFS students work in positions that do not require formal education beyond a Bachelor's degree. Other HDFS students choose careers that require additional training in applied practitioner or research programs. A list of careers that recent HDFS graduates are pursuing can be found on the Careers page. On this page, students should also explore the links to careers they are considering. Specific attention should be given to the degrees held by entry-level workers at these sites. Students should also consult their academic and/or faculty advisors about their desired careers and the degrees they would need to enter into these careers. Almost all careers in counseling or education will require additional training at the Masters- or PhD-level, depending upon the position a student would like to obtain. Unless students enter into research or research-practitioner programs, this training generally focuses on learning and applying teaching and counseling specific techniques, which usually includes fieldwork and internships. Students are encouraged to consult with advisors about their careers.