Human Services Degree and Career Guide
Human Services Graduates Create Positive Social Change
If you’d like to help create positive social change, consider a degree in human services.
As we continue to face complex societal challenges from health care to unpredictable disasters, human services workers are needed more than ever. Professionals in this field help disadvantaged individuals and groups improve their quality of life, overcome obstacles, and access necessary services such as counseling or rehabilitation.
While a degree in human services can lead to a traditional job in counseling or social work, it can also prepare you for management work in social service organizations or public safety roles with local or federal government agencies. It takes determination and focus—as well as patience and compassion—to succeed in these fields. But with a human services degree, you can use your career to influence society for the better.
For most jobs in the field, a certificate or associate’s degree in human services is sufficient to meet employers’ requirements, though some jobs demand the more specialized training of a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate—particularly those in counseling or social work. Human services degrees are typically offered through departments such as Allied Health, Human Services or Social Sciences, and include curriculum focusing on the following subjects:
- Case management procedures
- Crisis intervention
- Problem solving
- Patient management and treatment
- Public health
- Emergency management
Hands-on experience is a critical component of training in this field. While online degrees in human services are also available, most online programs will also require some in-person training or work experience.
Typical Careers in Human Services
In particular, human services workers will be needed to care for the burgeoning elderly population. However, a human services degree can also qualify you to work for other types of social service agencies whose specialties range from emergency management to public health to assisting the poor. Here’s just a small sampling of common job titles in human services:
- Community outreach worker
- Gerontology aide
- Psychology aide
- Life skills counselor
- Case worker
- Group activities aide
- Home health aide
- Halfway house counselor
- Residential manager
- Crisis intervention counselor
Above and Beyond the Norm
Besides the more typical health care and hospital settings, jobs for human services degree graduates are increasingly available in fields such as disaster management and community outreach. With a degree in human services, you could choose to work in administration for a community food bank, for instance.
Another exciting field that offers career opportunities to human services graduates is emergency management. Emergency management professionals address a range of response and recovery efforts in the wake of a natural or man-made catastrophe. For human services degree holders, this may include crisis counseling as well as coordinating the flow of much-needed social services like health treatment or food distribution.
Regardless of where you choose to employ your human services degree, you can be sure that you’re providing a much-needed helping hand, and that you’ve chosen a career path that aims for the betterment of the world around us.
Sources: Metropolitan College of New York, mcny.edu/human_serv/bps.php, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationalhumanservices.org