Graduate Degrees in Human Services: Program Options

Mar 31, 2021

Essential Information

The focus of master's degree programs in human services will typically vary based upon a student's field of specialization. Examples of concentration options include business, family, health, faith and education, and organizational leadership. Specific programs may also require individuals to complete one or two internships that can help them gain on-the-job experience.

Master's Degrees in Human Services

A master's degree program in human services is a professional development program that allows students to enhance their expertise in community, health, and/or social service topics. Currently, these types of programs are only offered by a select number of colleges in the United States. Students are generally offered an ample margin of flexibility to select an area of concentration, such as child development or group dynamics. Such programs usually require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree of some type, although exact majors are not normally specified.

Core classes required by most human services master's degree programs often focus on ethics, business, psychology, sociology and/or religious counseling. Basic course topics common to most concentrations typically include:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Group dynamics
  • Child development
  • Counseling
  • Society and law

Popular Career Options

Individuals seeking careers in psychology, sociology, business, and counseling can often benefit from programs in human services. Potential jobs can fall under the following categories:

  • Counselors
  • Social workers
  • Human resource managers
  • Group managers
  • Healthcare consultants

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, projected that substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors and marriage/family therapists could expect job growth of 25% from 2019-2029, which is much faster than average across all occupations. As of May 2019, according to the BLS, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned a median annual salary of $46,240. Additionally, the BLS indicated that social workers could expect much faster-than-average job growth of 13% from 2019-2029; and estimated that these professionals earned a median yearly wage of $50,470 as of May 2019. Also per the BLS, human resource managers were expected to experience job growth of 6% from 2019-2029, faster-than-average for all occupations. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $116,720 as of May 2019, according to the BLS. The BLS did not report specific statistics for group managers or healthcare consultants.

Continuing Education

Continuing education in human services isn't mandatory; however, students who opt to pursue careers in certain types of counseling may be required to undergo additional schooling. Depending upon the type of counselor a student aspires to become, graduate certificates may be available. Continuing education courses in grief, ethics, depression and other types of behavioral disorders are available for students to equip themselves appropriately.

Individuals completing master's programs in human services take courses to learn more about community, health, and social service. With many specializations available, students have a variety of career options including social workers, group managers, and human resource managers.

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