Human Services Bachelor's-Level Careers
Many public, academic and leadership positions exist for those with a bachelor's degree in human and social services. All occupations require a minimum of a bachelor's degree, though graduate degrees are required for certain public service careers. Graduates of an accredited undergraduate program are often eligible to begin an entry-level career in case work, social advocacy or welfare services. Some examples of human services professions include the following:
- Addiction or mental health counselor
- Family services advocate
- Child welfare specialist
- Health care assistant
- Legal mediator
- Correctional treatment specialist
- Event coordinator
- Disability specialist
- Career counselor
Employment Outlook & Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a job growth range of 12% for social workers between 2014 and 2024. Per the Bureau, the median salary for social workers in 2015 was $58,560. Looking at the median annual salary for other career options, mental health social workers made $42,170; healthcare social workers made $52,380; and child, family, and school social workers made $42,350.
Dedicated job sites exist for human services employees and social workers. Each website offers features such as salary and benefit information, educational opportunities, academic funding or resume building. These sites include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
Human Services Bachelor's Degree Programs
In addition to completing the required coursework, many college programs offer opportunities to experience public service jobs. Students learn skills in the classroom, such as crisis intervention, behavior management, communication, and academic teaching, and put them into practice through several hours of practical mentorships. By the third year of a program, students choose a specialty to focus their studies, learning advanced subjects for their intended career.
Many companies, non-profits, and government agencies require graduate studies or a master's degree for advancement or specialized positions. In addition to a graduate degree, work experience in a relevant field is also usually necessary.
Licensing and Certification Requirements
Each state requires licensure or certification to work in social and public jobs. Graduates must have several hours of supervised experience, which can be obtained before, during and after completing an academic program. Some states may also require a Master of Social Work prior to licensure, while others allow restricted licensing options for applicants with a bachelor's degree in social work or human services. Students should verify licensing requirements with their state's licensing board.
The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) provides national examinations for state licensing. A basic test is administered for bachelor's degree holders, though states that require advanced degrees for licensure will not accept results from this test. All states also require continuing education to maintain an active license in human and social services.
A bachelor's degree in human services allows you to have many different career options in counseling and social services with various organizations such as government agencies, private offices, and non-profits.