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Human Rights Advocate: Career & Job Description

A career as a human rights advocate may appeal to individuals interested in social justice. Read on to discover the highlights, including key job duties and job outlook, of this profession.

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Career Definition of Human Rights Advocates

Human rights advocates are responsible for ensuring fair and equal treatment for all citizens. These advocates may focus on a specific population, such as individuals with mental health issues or those receiving Medicaid services. Human rights advocates are needed in a variety of organizations, such as healthcare agencies or larger international organizations like the United Nations. Job responsibilities for this profession will vary on the organization and population served. General job responsibilities may include working with clients to obtain necessary services, developing educational literature and conducting training sessions within their community, and collaborating with both government and social services agencies to ensure equal access to services.

Human rights advocates may conduct social research to better evaluate areas of need and assist with creating applicable programs. These advocates may also provide training to junior personnel. Human rights advocates could serve as a consultant to government agencies. They could also assist with obtaining funding for social services. Human rights advocates may serve in a management role, with duties ranging from creating and maintaining a budget to developing strategic goals for their organization.

Educational Requirements Master's degree
Job Skills Excellent interpersonal skills, strong project management abilities, and effective analytical skills
Median Salary (2016)* $43,120 (Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 13% (Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A career as a human rights advocate requires a master's degree in political science, law, international relations, or social science. Some employers may consider candidates with a bachelor's degree and several years of relevant work experience. A work history of progressively increasing responsibilities may be beneficial. Individuals in this field can become involved in an organization like Amnesty International, which is the largest grassroots human rights organization.

Required Skills

Human rights advocates will need excellent interpersonal skills, as they work directly with the public. They must be able to interact with people from varied socioeconomic, political, religious, and racial backgrounds and remain impartial. Human rights advocates should have strong project management abilities in order to create program goals and determine resources needed. These advocates should also have effective analytical skills in order to understand how political climates and legal regulations affect the people they are working with.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect statistics on human rights advocates specifically; however, they estimated a 13% job growth for community and social service specialists, all other, during the 2016-2026 decade. This growth is faster than average compared to all occupations. In May 2016, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $43,120 for community and social service specialists, all other.

Related Careers

Individuals interested in becoming a human rights advocate could consider one of the below related professions. Options range from social workers to human rights lawyers.

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