Associate in Science in Human Development and Family Studies

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Continue to Work and Earn an Online Associate Degree in Human Development and Family Studies

The Associate in Science in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) integrates practical and academic experiences to provide you with entry-level, professional competencies in the human service fields. The course work can help you gain a foundational understanding of life span and family development, and a core of professional skills that you can apply in program planning and service delivery. Many graduates go on to earn a bachelor’s degree; some eventually enroll in graduate school. No matter what hours you work in your present job, the online HDFS program can help you get a degree without ever setting foot on campus.

Why an HDFS Degree Online at Penn State?

Immediate results — Penn State World Campus offers a choice of two certificates that you can earn while you work toward your associate degree in HDFS: the Undergraduate Certificate in Adult Development and Aging Services and the Undergraduate Certificate in Children, Youth, and Family Services. Credits earned in these certificates may be applied toward the associate in science in HDFS.

Two Options — These options were created to give you a choice so you can focus on an aspect of human development and family studies that best meets your career goals:

  • The Adult Development and Aging Services option can prepare you for a wide variety of service roles in mental health facilities, or nursing homes and other institutions for the aged. It focuses on the biological, psychological, and social development of adults and elderly persons, with special emphasis on the various contexts of adult development, including work and the family.
  • The Children, Youth, and Family Services option is an ideal choice if you want to work with various age groups in centers, institutions, and agencies. The program's ultimate goal is to improve the quality of planned services for families from varied backgrounds and community settings.

Quality — This program was developed in Penn State's Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Development at University Park.

Who Should Apply?

The associate degree in HDFS offers an excellent professional development opportunity if you already work in a human service–related field; it also serves as an appropriate entry point if you aspire to work in human service–related occupations.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

With an associate degree in HDFS, you can work in the human services field, promoting health and preventing social and mental health problems for:

  • child, youth and families
  • adults and the elderly

You may also find employment in the following areas:

  • medical case worker
  • mental health worker
  • case manager
  • school support services
  • medical and public health services
  • substance abuse services

The associate degree in HDFS can also serve as a stepping stone to further education if you wish to work as a counselor or social worker.

Online Education at Penn State

Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than a decade of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about the Penn State World Campus.