Is a human services degree the same as a social work degree?

Question:

Is a human services degree the same as a social work degree?

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Answer:

Although there are some similarities, human service and social work degrees are not the same thing. Both degrees and career paths focus on helping others access the services. Human service workers serve in a first-response capacity, whereas social workers focus on the behavioral health of their patients.

Human service degrees focus on topics including crisis intervention, case management, creating community connections to services, and advocating for clients. For entry-level positions an associate's degree is often sufficient, but advancement in this career area requires further education including master's and doctorate degrees. Certifications may be required depending on the state and the specific job. Jobs that are included under the umbrella of human services include family service assistant, case work aides, addictions counselor assistant, and human service worker.

There is a specific track that one goes through to become a social worker. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work degrees focus on topics including social welfare policy, human behavior, working with diverse populations, and ethics. For entry-level job opportunities, a bachelor's degree is often sufficient. Individuals seeking clinical positions will require a master's degree and a minimum of two additional years experience in the field. Certifications are required and depend on the state where you are working.

For more information about the process required to become a social worker, check out this article: What Does IT Take to Become a Social Worker?

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