Careers and Professions

What is a person called who works in the field of home economics?

  • Home economist
  • Home economics teacher 

What do they do?

People working in the field of home economics educate, take action and advocate to government, industry and the community in order to enhance the well-being of individuals and families, especially as it relates to food and nutrition, living environments and textiles.

At one level, the focus of the work is to enable individuals and families to make informed and ethical decisions in order to enhance their everyday living. At another level, the focus of the work is on policies and practices that support individual and family wellbeing.

Home economics professionals work in community health, in industry and as teachers in high schools. Home economics professionals may specialise in, for example, families, food management, health and nutrition, resource management, consumerism, child care, aged care, textiles and housing. Home economics professionals perform a variety of tasks dependent on the setting and the area of specialisation.

Home economists may have expertise in one or more of the following:

Home economists who specialise in a particular field may be called:

  • Childcare
  • Consumer education
  • Design and design thinking
  • Environmental, social and economics issues related to households, families and society
  • Family studies
  • Food marketing
  • Food studies
  • Food science
  • Health and nutrition
  • Hospitality and catering
  • Housing and interiors
  • Product promotion
  • Resource management
  • Technology practice
  • Textiles, fashion and clothing
  • Community health officer
  • Aged care officer
  • Child carer
  • Consumer advisor/scientist
  • Counsellor
  • Demonstrator
  • Designer
  • Dietitian
  • Family advisor/consultant
  • Fashion designer
  • Food and nutrition advisor/ consultant
  • Food stylist
  • Food service manager
  • Food scientist
  • Food technologist
  • Health promotion officer
  • Nutritionist

Traits of home economics professionals

  • Commitment to inclusivity, social justice and working collaboratively
  • Sensitivity in dealing with a wide range of people and issues
  • Interpersonal, written and electronic communication skills for a range of audiences
  • Human and resource management skills
  • Aptitude for analysis and problem solving in a range of theoretical and practical situations
  • Aptitude for design and creativity
  • knowledge of human development and relationships and one or more of food and nutrition; clothing and textiles, housing;

Working in industry:

  • Develop and/or test products within the food, textiles and/or household appliance industries.
  • Provide information about and promote products and services such as those related to food and household appliances.
  • Prepare educational materials for the community – for example, DVDs, CDs, videos/mp4, pamphlets, newsletters, teaching kits and other promotional material.
  • Present educational materials through, for example, television and radio, media releases, campaigns and newsletters.
  • Research and analyse consumer needs and preferences and provide advice to industry for product/service development and/or improvement.

Working in community health:

  • Provide information services for individuals and families on matters such as financial management, family relationships, childcare, food and nutrition, household management, housing and energy.
  • Develop nutritionally balanced menus for a range of community settings including childcare centres, aged care centres, school canteens, retirement villages and institutional care.
  • Manage food service operations in the community – for example, childcare centres, aged care centres, Meals on Wheels.
  • Develop programs and policies for the design and delivery of health and social services.
  • Design and teach independent living skills for disabled and disadvantaged people.
  • Develop and implement programs to assist newly-arrived migrants perform their personal, family, community and work roles.

Home economics teaching

Teachers of home economics/ design and technology/ health/ food and nutrition/ hospitality/ early childhood might perform the following tasks:

Provide opportunities for students to understand and shape preferred solutions to a range of challenges in their personal, family, community and work roles. For example, they may develop and implement learning experiences that enable students to learn how to:

  • Be innovative, enterprising and creative
  • Balance work responsibilities with personal responsibilities and leisure
  • Choose nutritious foods in a changing marketplace
  • Design, evaluate and make decisions related to textiles and food
  • Make informed, responsible and ethical consumer decisions
  • Negotiate for effective and diverse family and interpersonal relationships
  • Prepare nutritious foods and develop health promoting food behaviours
  • Take control of their health and develop health promoting behaviours
  • Understand and take action to enhance human growth and development
  • Understand and confront the way they influence and are influenced by broad societal factors such as media, advertising, peer pressure, government policies and changing technologies
  • Utilise design and technology relevant to families and households
  • Provide opportunities for students to develop vocationally related knowledge and skills such as those related to food technology, hospitality, childcare and the design and textile industries.