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Human Development and Family Studies

Career Information Center | Section I

Section I: Introduction

The HDFS degree is excellent preparation for many occupations that involve human services delivery. Listed in Section II, we provide information on how to find a career that is right for you. For more information on careers that look interesting, you can follow up on the sources listed in this section, find additional sources in the library, visit consultants at Texas Tech's Career Planning and Placement Office, and talk with people in the field.

Finding a Career That Is Right For Me

Does almost every career you hear about sound interesting to you? Or perhaps you haven’t yet seen anything that seems just right. There are many good ways to narrow the field or to locate a possibility you haven’t yet heard about, but they all require that you START EARLY. You cannot expect to do a very thorough or effective job of exploring career possibilities if you begin the process during your senior year.

How to Find Out About Career Possibilities

In your first two years of college:

  • Take elective courses that sound interesting.
  • Read about careers.
  • Talk to people who do jobs that appeal to you.
  • Visit the Career Planning and Placement Office and do their computerized interest survey.
  • Review the HDFS Jobs Bulletin and other sources of job ads to get an idea of the job market.
  • Begin to volunteer. Volunteer experiences are one of the best ways to find out if you like a particular type of job and job setting.

During your junior and senior years:

  • Locate internships related to your career interests. These give you good experience and are important for your resume.
  • Make decisions about your minor/collateral based upon your career goals.
  • Talk to potential employers to find out what sorts of background and skills they are looking for in a job candidate.
  • Attend TTU Career Days.
  • Register with Career Planning and Placement, and begin to take advantage of some of their other services such as resume consultation and job search/interviewing skills.
  • Continue to review resources such as the ones suggested below.
  • Learn to network. Getting to know people who might hear about jobs, or who know others who might pass on a job tip, is invaluable in the job search process.

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Considering Graduate School?

Some careers require advanced degrees. If you suddenly decide in your senior year to proceed directly into a graduate program after you graduate, you may not be able to do so if you have not planned ahead. So once again, our advice is to START EARLY.

Recommendations For Graduate School Preparation.

During your junior year:

  • Talk with faculty about graduate schools.
  • Consult graduate school guides.
  • Send for (or get from internet) information and application forms from a variety of schools.
  • Do a research practicum with a faculty member.
  • Take a statistics class (it will fulfill the general education math requirement).
  • Study for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
  • Take the GRE. This will give you plenty of time to re-take it early in your senior year if you would like to improve your score.

During your senior year:

  • Continue to consult with faculty and with those in the career of your choice to select a list of graduate schools.
  • Spend time preparing your applications for these schools. The statements that you write are very important in the decision-making process. It is important to know the research areas of the faculty in the programs you apply to, since many applications ask you to list faculty with whom you would like to work. This list of faculty should fit with your own research interests and your reasons for choosing that particular program.
  • Take another research practicum, possibly with a different faculty member.
  • Ask faculty who you know well, because you have been working with them, to write letters of reference for you. Your community practicum site supervisor often is another good reference.
  • If possible, visit schools so that you can meet some of the faculty.
  • Be aware that many graduate school deadlines are in January-February for admission the following fall. Also, many graduate schools do not accept students for the spring semester.

Searching for Graduate Programs

Index of national HDFS Graduate Programs
Most programs have web sites where you can read about the program and the faculty.

Peterson's Guide

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Section I | Resources

Books & Periodicals

  1. Career Opportunity Bulletins. Career Planning and Placement Center, Texas Tech University. (Frequently issued bulletins of job ads in various areas.)
  2. Career Power. A Blueprint for Getting the Job You Want. Neil C. Kalt. Career Power Inc., Pound Ridge, NY, l996. Available at the Office of Career Planning and Placement, TTU.
  3. Good Works: A Guide to Careers in Social Change. Joan Anzalone, Ed. Barricade Books, Inc., New York, NY, l995. Available at the Office of Career Planning and Placement, TTU.
  4. Human Services & Liberal Arts Careers Weekly. National Human Services Employment (NHSE) of KB Enterprises, 13137 Penndale Lane, Fairfax, VA 22033, (703) 378-0439.
  5. Job Search Manual. Career Planning and Placement Center, Texas Tech University, 1997-1998.
  6. The Human Development and Family Studies Jobs Bulletin. Monthly bulletin of job ads for HDFS students. Go to HS 157 to get on mailing list, or consult

Internet Job Sites

HDFS Practicum Placement Sites


Section I

Section II

Section III