Career Information for a Degree in Human Services

Sep 09, 2019

Community service managers and school social workers can benefit from a degree in human services. Community service managers may also need a master's degree, and school social workers are required to be licensed by the state. Social and human service assistants can prepare to enter the workforce by completing an associate's degree in human services.

Essential Information

Human services degree programs prepare people to work with others in need by teaching the theories, principles and practices of service provision. People who have obtained a degree in human services might find work in community organizing, probation supervision or adult day care.

Career Community Service Managers School Social Worker Social and Human Service Assistants
Education Requirements Bachelor's Degree Bachelor's Degree Associate's Degree
Other Requirements May require master's degree State licensing May require bachelor's or master's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 13% 7% 13%
Median Salary (2018)* $65,320 $46,270 $33,750

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Human Services Career Information

Human services degree programs teach students to work with people in need, whether their problems are social, drug-related or economic. Courses are focused on the study of human behavior and problems, including how psychology, human biology and social forces influence each other. Specific courses include sociology, social policy, psychology, cultural diversity and social research methods.

Those interested in the field can qualify for some entry-level or volunteer positions in human services with a high school diploma or little formal training. Other human services jobs require a degree and professional experience. Many colleges and universities offer a 4-year human services bachelor's degree. Students might need to pursue graduate studies, such as a Master of Social Work, to qualify for some jobs. An internship undertaken as part of these programs can be a valuable addition to a student's resume.

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers work for organizations - often nonprofit or community services groups - to raise community awareness of the services they provide. They might organize community events, supervise volunteers or other paid workers, advocate on a community's behalf to legislators and communicate with community members to evaluate the effectiveness of various programs. Often, jobs are available to aspiring community organizers who have a bachelor's degree in a subject like public administration, urban studies or social work. However, a master's degree in a subject like public administration, business administration or social work could benefit an aspiring social and community service manager.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social and community service managers are expected to see a 13% increase in employment from 2018-2028. The BLS states that these professionals earned a median annual salary of $65,320 as of May 2018.

Social Worker

The field of social work offers a wide variation in job types, including substance abuse, child welfare and mental health support or assistance. While social workers don't provide counseling or medical services, they connect people in need with the necessary professionals or resources, such as in-home health care organizations, drug treatment centers or educational services. A bachelor's degree in social work, psychology or a related major can qualify graduates for a social work position. However, several jobs, such as administration, school social work or clinical specialties, require a master's degree. These programs typically cover behavioral psychology, counseling techniques and social issues and often include internship opportunities.

To become a social worker, individuals generally require licensing or certification through their state. In some cases, such as clinical social work, experience is required to be eligible for licensure. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipated an overall 11% increase in social worker jobs, with the most growth in the healthcare, substance abuse and mental health fields. According to the BLS, mental health and substance abuse social workers earned a median annual income of $44,840 as of May 2018, while child, family and school social workers earned a median annual income of $46,270 and those who worked in healthcare earned a median salary of $56,200 in the same time period.

Social and Human Service Assistants

Social and human service assistants are responsible for a wide variety of tasks, and the job description may vary based on what other professionals they're working with, and who their clients are. For example, social and human service assistants may work with social workers, psychologists or other professionals, and may offer aid and assistance to the elderly, children, people with disabilities, recovering addicts, veterans, the mentally ill, the homeless or immigrants. Tasks carried out by these professionals may include things like helping elderly clients eat or bathe, helping clients apply for assistance programs, helping clients secure employment and housing, and working alongside social workers to develop treatment plans for clients. The educational requirements for these types of positions can vary widely. In some cases, a high school diploma may be enough to become a social and human service assistant. However, other positions may prefer the completion of at least some postsecondary education, such as a certificate or associate degree program in a subject like gerontology or human services. In other cases, a bachelor's degree or master's degree in a relevant subject, such as social work or counseling, may be required.

The BLS stated that, from 2018 to 2028, these professionals are expected to see an employment growth of 13%, which is attributed to rising demand for social services and healthcare due to the aging population. As of May 2018, the BLS stated that these professionals earned a median annual salary of $33,750.

A degree in human services is ideal preparation for a career in human services, which focuses on helping people with needs. While social and human service assistants can preform a wide range of tasks, from personal care to forming treatment plans, social workers can help individuals with substance abuse issues, mental health problems, or behavioral issues in school. Community service managers work for nonprofit organizations to increase public awareness of their organization and the services it provides.

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