Careers in Human Ecology
Looking for ideas of what you can be when you "grow up?" The education you receive through the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University will prepare you for numerous careers that solve complex problems impacting people's everyday lives.
The job titles below are all real career possibilities that start with a bachelor's degree in a human ecology field. Click on the title to read a description of the job and the recommended majors that will begin your chosen career path.
You could work anywhere in the world, crafting beautiful fashions by combining high-tech tools with high-style innovation. Find out how we can help launch your high-fashion career with the Apparel Design and Production Specialization program. Or learn how to create attractive and adaptive clothing for the stylish older consumer by adding the Secondary Major in Gerontology program.
Top athletes push their bodies to the limit. Teams at every level of competition need experts who can help ensure that these competitors stay fit and healthy, not just while they're competing, but long after their playing days are over. If applying science for the benefit of athletes sounds like the dream job for you, take a look at the Athletic Training program.
The ability to hear clearly is crucial to human communication. Audiologists evaluate clients for their degree of hearing impairment and identify the cause of the impairment in order to find a solution. They work with their clients and other healthcare professionals to find a combination of strategies to achieve the best possible hearing outcome. The Communication Sciences and Disorders program can help you get started on this fascinating career track!
Many, if not most, social service agencies need dedicated case managers to work one-on-one with people facing a variety of challenges. Your options will be almost limitless, from working with the mentally ill, young children, or those in the court system. If you want to make an important contribution every day, the Human Development and Family Science program can help you achieve your goal!
Certified Financial Planner
Making money is the easy part. Taking care of it once you have it, that's the challenge! Certified financial planners help people invest and manage their money so their future dreams come true - college for their children, early retirement, or financial security as they age, to name a few. If you want to help people keep more of what they earn, then investigate the Personal Financial Planning program!
College Faculty Member
Do you hope that you will spend the rest of your life on a college campus? Not as a perpetual student, but as a faculty member! Any of the academic programs in the College of Human Ecology can lead to a wonderful future working with students and making research discoveries in institutions of higher education anywhere in the world. The opportunities for stimulating and important work are almost limitless. Take a look at the academic programs each of our departments and academic units offer so you can begin to chart your course in higher education.
Community Program Coordinator
Nothing important ever gets done without someone to do it. An almost infinite number of organizations need people to administer and coordinate community programs - family support agencies, environmental groups, faith-based organizations, or advocacy groups of all stripes, just to name a few. If you want to be part of the solution, explore the Secondary Major in Gerontology or the Human Development and Family Science program.
Consumer Behavior Researcher
Why are some food and beverage products instant hits with consumers, and others go down in history as terrible mistakes? Consumer behavior researchers with expertise in food sensory analysis help develop products that appeal to the senses and are safe to eat or drink as well. This is a complex field of study, and the K-State Sensory Analysis Center, in the Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietics and Health, is one of the world's leading corporate research facilities. Every graduate student in the Human Nutrition program with an emphasis in sensory analysis is eligible for an internship with a leading company. Find out more about this exciting graduate option today!
Couple and Family Therapist
Marriage and family therapists work with individuals and families because a family's pattern of behavior influences individual family members. Marriage and family therapy tends to be solution-focused and may cover a wide range of serious clinical problems including child-parent issues, depression, marital concerns, and many others. Our fully-accredited master's degree program and doctoral degree program in marriage and family therapy offer you a chance to work with dedicated faculty who will prepare you to make a real difference in people's lives. As an undergraduate, consider majoring in Human Development and Family Science program.
Director of Childcare Center
Does this sound like the best of both worlds to you: an educational leadership position, along with a chance to positively impact the lives of young children? You will manage staff, keep on top of educational innovations and work with parents for the educational and developmental benefit of their children. Check out the Early Childhood Education program or the Human Development and Family Science program.
Director of Foodservice Operation
Running a foodservice operation requires expertise in food preparation, food safety, nutrition and business. You could work in a hotel, a hospital, a school - any place where people eat! If this demanding and exciting career sounds like your cup of tea, explore Dietetics, General Human Ecology, or Hospitality Management.
Director of Hotel Operation
Someone has to keep those glamorous, five-star hotels up and running! You could be that person if you have a real head for business, can inspire others to excellence, and can dedicate yourself to customer satisfaction. Running a hotel is an endless challenge with many rewards. Investigate the Hospitality Management program today!
Event managers and planners arrange events - weddings, conferences, fund raising activities - both large and small. They may handle every aspect of an event including the location, the food, the guest list and the décor. They are detail-oriented, calm under pressure and really able to think on their feet! If you've got the flexibility and problem-solving skills to be an event manager, consider the Hospitality Management program.
Extension specialists are usually assigned to a particular location (such as a state or county) or a university setting. They develop programs and collaborate with other staff to address needs of groups and families. They often serve as a liaison between university personnel and the community to disseminate evidence-based research to improve daily life. They can also be subject-area experts, concentrating on a particular field such as family support or early childhood education. Check into the possibilities that the Human Development and Family Science, Family and Consumer Sciences Education, or General Human Ecology programs offer!
The ability to apply the principles of good interior design with expertise into how a specific space will be used is essential for a career in facilities planning. Both public and private entities need those who understand the intricacies of how people use spaces and how users' needs over time may evolve. Consider the Interior Design program if this specialty intrigues you.
Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher
In today's complicated world, those who can teach practical, crucial life skills to young people are fundamental members of the educational team. Family and consumer sciences teachers work at the middle and high school levels to teach students about healthy lifestyles, financial management, nutrition and interpersonal relationships, among many other topics. If you want to make a difference in a young person's life, explore the Family and Consumer Sciences Education program.
Family Life Educator
Many people need a little help with all the issues of family life - relationships with kids, relationships with spouses, balancing work and family, and many other concerns. Family life educators work with clients to build solid skills that will serve them - and their families - well. If you want to impact the most basic human institution, then please check out the Human Development and Family Science program.
Fashion Market Analyst
The fashion industry is all about identifying the “next big thing.” But it's both a science and an art to track trends, chart buying patterns and predict the future! If you're fascinated by why a product appeals to one person but not to another, or why some new trends tank completely and others sell through the roof, you should check into the Apparel Marketing Specialization program.
Fitness Center Director
Pair your flair for management with your fitness expertise! Fitness center directors oversee the operations of exercise facilities and wellness centers for corporations, private entities and government agencies. You'll need to motivate your staff to excellence and your clients to better health, while managing the business end of things as well. Explore your career possibilities with the Kinesiology program or the Nutrition and Kinesiology program!
Food Safety Consultant
Although most of us take safe food for granted, we actually rely on expert professionals to protect the food supply chain. At any point from producer to consumer, things can go very, very wrong with a food product. Business, industry and government all rely on food safety consultants to protect public health. Take a look at the Dietetics program or the Nutrition and Health program, if you're up to the challenge!
Food scientists create and test new food products. They develop new food sources and research ways to make processed foods healthy and safe. K-State has developed an interdisciplinary program among 5 colleges and 11 departments (including the Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health in the College of Human Ecology) to create a world-class food science program that enables master's degree or doctoral program graduates to specialize in an almost limitless number of areas. Check into K-State's Food Science program today!
Health inspectors help ensure that our food supply is safe and that we aren't exposed to serious public health hazards. They operate at all points of the food supply chain, from producer to processor to provider to consumer. There are lots of opportunities in private industry or the public sector for those who are dedicated to the health and well being of others. If this is the mission for you, investigate the Nutrition and Health program.
Our built environment affects every aspect of human life. Interior designers understand how people interact with their surroundings and are able to craft spaces and objects that enhance life, productivity and creativity. They also must understand the practical and structural elements of design and often collaborate with architects, engineers and contractors. If you've got an eye for line, color and functionality, you should investigate the Interior Design program today!
Investments come in a mind-boggling array of choices. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, T-bills, real estate and more; investment consultants help their clients sort it all out. They help a client pinpoint financial goals and measure the client's tolerance for risk, then work with the client to customize the best investment strategy. It's a big puzzle with big rewards, and if it sounds like it's right for you, explore the Personal Financial Planning program right now!
Long-Term Care Administrator
Demand will only grow for leaders with the business expertise and knowledge of aging issues to manage long-term care facilities. The variety of clientele you could serve is infinite - all the way from older people with lots of energy to those with the most critical healthcare needs possible. If you're up for a management career that will never be dull, check into Secondary Major in Gerontology or the Secondary Major in Long-Term Care Administration.
Professional mediators can work on a family, organizational, or community level to resolve interpersonal conflict. The mediator assists by helping to define the concerns or clarify challenging problems and by helping the people involved to develop possible alternatives or solutions that they can mutually agree on. Our Conflict Resolution Program offers a minor in Conflict Analysis and Trauma Studies, as well as a certificate (both graduate and undergraduate) in Conflict Resolution that provide the necessary background for completing the state-approved co-mediator training available at their Conflict Resolution Center.
Raising kids is the hardest job in the world! Sometimes people need to learn new skills so they can do their very best for those they love the most - their children. Parent educators work for social service agencies, school districts and other organizations to help build strong families. Consider the Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Human Development and Family Science, or Early Childhood Education programs if this career appeals to you!
Many health-conscious consumers want to work one-on-one with a personal trainer to enhance their overall health, improve their appearance and add years to their life. Our increasing focus on wellness and longevity means that experts who know how to help people achieve their personal fitness goals will be in demand. Consider whether Kinesiology program or the Nutrition and Kinesiology program is the right choice for your future!
Both medications and foods directly impact human health. Pharmacists with expertise in understanding the properties of nutrients will be well prepared to understand food/drug interactions as they dispense medications and counsel patients as a member of the healthcare team. Explore the advantages the Nutrition and Kinesiology program or the Nutritional Sciences program can provide for your future as a pharmacist!
Their expertise in increasing mobility, building strength and improving overall wellness means that physical therapists are crucial to our healthcare system. We have comprehensive programs that will give you a solid foundation for your graduate education in physical therapy. Take a look at the Athletic Training program, the Kinesiology program, or the Nutrition and Kinesiology program today!
Scientists learn more every day about the effects of diet on human health. Physicians with a background in nutrition will be well equipped to guide their patients to healthier and longer lives. If you hope to pursue a career in medicine, the Nutritional Sciences program or Kinesiology can prepare you for medical school and to make a real difference in people's lives.
Some clichés are true: children really ARE the future! More and more opportunities exist for those who understand the special developmental needs of young children. If you have the patience, cheerfulness and insight to educate the most vulnerable - yet most exhilarating - people you can imagine, the Early Childhood Education program is for you!
Recreation Director in a Retirement Community
Today, people over the age of 65 are looking for meaningful activities, stimulating adventures and chances to contribute to the greater good. Recreation directors in retirement communities work with older people who have serious challenges, as well as with those who ride their Harleys to elementary schools to tutor kids! Check into the Secondary Major in Gerontology or the Human Development and Family Science program if you like being around people at many different ages and stages.
Dietitians help people live longer, healthier lives by helping them improve how they choose and prepare food. Dietitians are crucial members of the healthcare team, especially as we learn more and more about how food impacts health. If you're fascinated with the whole idea of "you are what you eat," consider the Dietetics program.
In many fields, scientific progress means that someone has devoted his or her professional life to solving problems or unlocking mysteries. Research scientists strive to answer the big questions while working in a university, governmental or corporate setting. Their work leads to important breakthroughs whether they're studying textile science, dietetics, speech pathology or sensory analysis, just to name a few. Check out the academic programs offered by each of the departments and academic units within the College of Human Ecology. Your future as a researcher could start now!
You'll have to know food. Trends. Your clientele. How to manage staff. And how to balance the books. Successful restaurant owners are the total package: astute business operators with great people skills and a real knack for hospitality and service. If this kind of juggling act sounds great to you, check into the Hospitality Management program!
Love the fast-paced rhythm of the fashion industry and retail? Want to call the shots? Find out how the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University can prepare you to manage anything from a chic boutique to a flagship store. Check out the Apparel Design and Production Specialization program or the Apparel Marketing Specialization program.
Retirement Benefits Advisor
A secure retirement is a goal most workers share. Retirement benefits advisors work with a client to ensure that when the client is ready to leave the workforce, he or she has a big enough nest egg to do so. Retirement benefits advisors understand a client's goals and dreams and help give people peace of mind. If this sounds like rewarding work, then consider the Personal Financial Planning program!
Every field of business and industry needs those who know how to promote products and make the sale! Your ability to help clients see how your product will meet their needs is a ticket to success. We give you several options to start your career in sales: the Apparel Design and Production Specialization program, the Apparel Marketing Specialization program, or the General Human Ecology program. Check them out!
Social Service Agency Administrator
Both governmental entities and private organizations need dedicated people with strong leadership skills to keep things on track. You could run a program that serves the elderly, the young, the physically or mentally challenged, or those who struggle with poverty, for instance. Since we will always have a need for problem solvers who can inspire those they lead, investigate the Human Development and Family Science program, the Secondary Major in Gerontology, or the Secondary Major in Long-Term Care Administration.
Special Education Teacher
The very youngest people can often have the most serious and challenging problems. Early childhood educators with special education certification are in high demand, particularly as we learn more and more about how crucial early educational intervention in many disorders can be. If this demanding yet fulfilling path appeals to you, the Early Childhood Education program can get you started.
Speech-Language Pathologist in a School or Medical Setting
For a variety of reasons, people of any age can struggle with communication challenges in hearing, speaking, reading or swallowing, to name a few. The ability to communicate is crucial to all of us and is central to our sense of who we are and how we relate to others. Whether you work in a school district with children or in a medical setting with older people, you can directly improve someone's quality of life. If making this kind of contribution is important to you, you should consider the Communication Sciences and Disorders program.
Youth Program Director
Do you have the stamina to go the distance with a bunch of 13-year-olds? If you said yes, you should consider a career that focuses on the unique needs and strengths of our youngest citizens. Churches, service agencies, state and local governments, youth organizations and other entities all need people who are eager to work with kids. Check out the Human Development and Family Science program or the online master's degree program in Youth Development.