Family and Consumer Science Teacher
Family and Consumer Science Teacher
Education and Training: College
Salary: Varies—see profile
Employment Outlook: Fair
Definition and Nature of the Work
Family and consumer science teachers teach students how to manage a home. They teach topics that include nutrition, menu planning, food preparation, clothing care and construction, money management, grooming, consumer awareness, and child development. Some family and consumer science teachers teach at several educational levels. Others teach only in elementary, junior high/middle school, high school, college, or adult education programs. Some teachers specialize in one or more specific subjects, such as clothing or foods.
Most family and consumer science teachers choose and organize their teaching materials and prepare outlines and lesson plans. They plan the best method of teaching the course material. Depending on the subject and the equipment available, they may use lectures, demonstrations, field trips, student projects, or other teaching methods.
Family and consumer science teachers also have many nonteaching duties. They may serve as advisers to student organizations, such as the Future Homemakers of America. Teachers also counsel students and meet with their families to discuss the students' schoolwork and career plans, as well as family relationships and other subjects. Studying for advanced degrees and keeping up with new developments in their field often take up additional time for family and consumer science teachers. Some also write books and articles. Some do research. Others serve as advisers to civic and business organizations. Family and consumer science teachers may serve on education committees and attend faculty meetings. Ordering supplies, teaching materials, and equipment such as sewing machines, stoves, and kitchen utensils may be another part of the job. Family and consumer science teachers also write reports, give and grade tests, read homework papers, and judge student projects.
Education and Training Requirements
To prepare for becoming a family and consumer science teacher, students should take a college preparatory program in high school and be active in the family and consumer science programs offered. They can join Future Homemakers of America, the 4-H Club, and other similar organizations. Taking courses in chemistry and other sciences, as well as English and other communications subjects, is recommended.
In order to teach, all schools require a teaching certificate. This usually means garnering a bachelor's degree from an approved four-year college. To become a family and consumer science teacher, a student would major in family and consumer science and take the required education courses as well. If a student planned to teach at the college level, he or she would need a master's or doctoral degree. These degrees normally require from one to five years of advanced training. Some teachers earn advanced degrees by attending evening classes or summer school.
Getting the Job
Graduates seeking a teaching position can apply to colleges and to private and parochial schools. To get a teaching job in a public school, a person should apply directly to local boards of education. Newspaper classifieds, Internet job banks, and professional magazines may include openings for family and consumer science teachers. One should also check with state and private employment agencies and with the placement office at his or her college.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Advancement depends on experience and education. Experienced family and consumer science teachers can become the head of the family and consumer science department in their school. Or they may be made responsible for organizing and overseeing the family and consumer science program of an entire school system. They may hold workshops and seminars to help improve the skills of other teachers. At the college level, family and consumer science teachers can advance by doing research or by writing textbooks or articles for professional magazines. Some teachers move into positions in business or journalism that require a background in family and consumer science.
There will be openings to replace teachers who leave the field each year, and more qualified family and consumer science teachers than openings. The best job opportunities will be for college-level and adult education teachers and for those who specialize in working with the disabled.
Family and consumer science teachers generally have pleasant working conditions. Class areas are normally clean and well lighted. Some schools provide individual offices for the teachers.
Family and consumer science teachers must deal with a variety of people—students, parents, administrators, and others. Patience is required, and frustration can be a part of the job. In some cases a teacher may have to make do with old equipment or teach with no equipment at all. Usually, though, most family and consumer science teachers find that these and similar problems are small when compared with the satisfaction the job provides.
Earnings and Benefits
Salaries depend on education, experience, the size and location of the school, and the amount of the work required. According to the American Federation of Teachers, the starting salary for teachers with a bachelor's degree is about $31,704 per year. Public school teachers earn an average of $46,597 per year. The median annual salary for college-level teachers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $51,800 per year.
Where to Go for More Information
American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
400 N. Columbus St., Ste. 202
Alexandria, VA 22314-2264
Family and Consumer Sciences Education Association
Department of Family/Consumer Sciences
Central Washington University
400 E. 8th University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7565
Family and consumer science teachers generally work only ten months per year. However, they may need to spend some time studying or doing research during the summer months. Family and consumer science teachers usually work thirty-five to forty hours a week. They often have time during the workday to prepare lessons, counsel students, or grade tests and homework. Some evening work may be required. Benefits include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and pension plans.