Home Economist

The home economist is concerned with the domestic well-being of individuals, the family and the community and the work entails the improvement of products and practices that affect almost everyone in our society.

The home economist is concerned with the domestic well-being of individuals, the family and the community and the work entails the improvement of products and practices that affect almost everyone in our society.

Home Economics offers a range of exciting career options related to foods, nutrition, housing and clothing. Most home economists teach in various types of educational institutions. Some work closely with the media to promote products. Others conduct research in an area of personal interest in this field. Most home economists supervise at least one other employee. Depending on the employer or area of interest, home economists can be involved in:

  • food, nutrition and catering
  • clothing and clothing construction
  • interior planning, design and decorating
  • management of resources
  • family interaction
  • consumer behaviour and promotion of products
  • research
  • teaching and training.
More specialised aspects include:

Counselling: home economics counselling is given informally and is aimed at developing every family member within the family’s income and their physical, mental and intellectual abilities. Individuals, organisations and associations are provided with information by means of projects and demonstrations, posters, audio-visual aids, pictures, pamphlets, placards, cookbooks, etc.

Education: teaching at schools, colleges, universities of technology and universities.

Journalism: the press, radio and television offer interesting opportunities for a person who is original and creative. The home economist may become a journalist on a full-time, part-time or freelance basis. Many home economists write books or columns for newspapers and magazines.

Promotions: work in this field includes the testing of recipes, the preparation of food for photograph, advertisements and demonstrations as well as the presentation of lectures and courses.

Catering: Home economists may be responsible for providing food to groups of people on a small or large scale at school, university and university of technology hostels or at industrial and commercial institutions. They can also work at a hotel or a hospital.

Interior Decoration: A person with artistic talents can specialise in interior decoration, or can become a private consultant in the furniture industry or other companies that do interior decoration.

Research: Industry employs home economists to promote equipment and products and to develop new food products or recipes.

Home economists work in a very large variety of work settings. The actual setting is determined by the type, size, location and financial resources of the employer, and by the speciality, experience and education of the home economist. Some positions require evening work and extensive travel.

Personal Requirements

  • able to get along well with others
  • want to teach or help people
  • leadership ability
  • able to write and speak well
  • good organisational skills
  • initiative, imagination and originality

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Diploma: Food Technology or Food and Clothing Technology: CPUT, DUT, TUT, UJ, Hospitality Management - CPUT, CUT, DUT, TUT, VUT, UJ.

TVET Colleges offering courses in Food Services or Hospitality - South Cape, Port Elizabeth, Vuselela, Northlink, Elangeni, Boland, SW Gauteng, Flavius Mareka, Maluti, False Bay, Umgungundlovu.


  • education departments and institutions
  • hotels, restaurants, hostels and other food services
  • all types of industries and businesses involved in any area of home economics
  • food and textile manufacturers
  • the media and advertising companie
  • government departments
  • agricultural control boards, e.g. Meat Board and Maize Board
  • research organisations
  • self-employment, with private practice

Further Information

Any of the above-mentioned potential employers

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a restaurant or food service, nursing home or hospital
  • volunteer to work in a clinic or community agency
  • speak to home economists about this career

Programmes by Study Institutions

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