Degrees in Human Services – 2014 Emerging Trends. If you’re the type of individual who enjoys knowing you’re making a difference in the lives of others, you may find a career in human services the perfect fit. Human Services is a broad field that covers professions working in both professional and paraprofessional jobs. They may work in a variety of environments where they strive to make things better. Learn everything you need to know about this career, its requirements and job/wage potential.
What Do Human Services Professionals Do?
Human Services is a field that covers a wide range of disciplines and services. The human services professional may work in counseling agencies, group homes, halfway houses, correctional facilities, youth development organizations, drug abuse centers, drug and alcohol treatment centers, employment agencies, housing and shelter organizations, and community mental health centers, to name just a few.
They may also find work with troubled youth or in facilities that provide elder care assistance. A major part of their job is to promote better service delivery system while also working on improving accountability, coordination and accessibility within the agency.
Simply put, the human services professional’s job is to make sure the company is working as efficiently and effectively as possible while also helping their clients by identifying problems and implementing solutions. They may work as caseworkers, daycare workers, counseling assistants, social workers, community outreach workers or case managers, among others.
How to Become a Human Services Professional
To become a human services professional, you must complete some sort of human services degree program at an accredited school. In most cases, you must already have a high school diploma. Although this varies by program, students in human services programs may take the following courses:
- Case Management
- Basic Counseling
- Communication Skills
- Basic Psychology
- Fundamentals Of Mental Health
In addition to coursework, most of the educational programs for human services careers require field work or supervised internships. Continuing education in the form of workshops or seminars is usually required as well.
Types of Human Services Degrees Needed
The type of human services degree that’s required depends on the type of work you wish to do when you graduate. Generally, human services programs are either associate degree or bachelor degree programs, which take from two to four years to complete.
Earning an associate degree prepares students for entry-level work in human services. They may work as assistants working with troubled youth, as social work assistants or in facilities that offer drug and alcohol treatment.
Earning a bachelor’s degree prepares the student for many types of human services jobs. They may find work in elderly care assistance facilities, social work, drug and alcohol treatment centers, counseling centers and correctional facilities. Students who earn master’s degrees often end up performing clinical work under the supervision of licensed psychologists or physicians.
Human Services Degrees Online
Online education, which has become a huge force in the field of education, is very possible for students interested in a career in human services. However, the program may not be 100% online if it requires internships or externships to obtain hands-on training. Many of the human services careers or closely related to health services careers and require on-site training as well as classroom studies.
For instance, a student wishing to work in a facility that provides elder care assistance may be required to obtain some on-the-job training in addition to the academic portion. Internships may also be required for those interested in provided elderly care assistance or be employed in some sort of social work.
The availability of distance learning is largely dependent on the program the student chooses. Some schools may offer a Bachelor of Arts for someone who is already in the industry. For this student, online education is very possible. The Bachelor of Science, which is appropriate for someone with no experience in human services, requires an internship.
Job Demand for Graduates of Human Services Programs
Economy has forced many human services industries to decrease spending while continue to operate in an efficient yet cost-effective manner, putting qualified human services professionals highly in demand. Listed below are some human services professionals and the employment growth they’re expected to experience from 2012-2022 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- Social Workers – Nineteen Percent
- Substance Abuse And Behavioral Disorder Counselors – Thirty-One Percent
- Social And Human Services Assistants – Twenty-Two Percent
- Social And Community Services Managers – Twenty-One Percent
- Health Educators And Community Health Workers – Twenty-One Per
Human Services Salaries
Because there are so many types of human services jobs out there, human services salaries have a wide range. Many of these jobs also fall in the range of health services salaries because they may also be part of the healthcare industries. Listed below are some of the mean annual wages some of these workers earned as of May 2013, as reported by the BLS. As mentioned, some may fall in the category of health services salaries.
- Social Workers – $44,200
- Substance Abuse And Behavioral Disorder Counselors – $38,520
- Social And Human Services Assistants – $28,850
- Social And Community Services Managers – $59,970
- Health Educators And Community Health Workers – $41,830
Trends in Human Services Industry
The human services industry actually falls into two categories: for-profit organizations and non-profit organizations. Trends in the human services industry tend to steer towards the collaboration of these two groups. With economy demanding cutbacks everywhere, the non-profit organizations often may have their hands tied and have little choice but to try to keep going with fewer resources.
For-profit organizations, on the other hand, have the flexibility to invest funds yet spend less while striving for more efficiency. The trend is for these two groups to collaborate together, utilizing each other’s resources as they continue to thrive towards the same goals.
Another trend, brought about by the Affordable Care Act, will be an increasing number of Medicaid participants in many human service and health facilities. The for-profit organizations will use their clout with the government and their lobbying experience to ensure access to contract bidding that will keep them competitive.
Occupations Related to Human Services
The field of human services, through many occupations, is very similar to the health services field because so many of their occupations are almost intertwined. For instance, social work is generally part of the human services industry, but can also be part of the health services industry if working in a healthcare facility.
Because there are so many types of human services jobs, this makes the human services industry a vast group of professionals. Listed below are some human services related occupations as well as educational requirements and average annual salaries as of May 2013, as reported by the BLS.
- Health Educators And Community Health Workers – Requires Bachelor’s Degree – $41,830
- Psychologists – Requires A Doctoral Degree – $69,280
- Rehabilitation Counselor – Requires Master’s Degree – $33,880
- Social And Community Service Managers – Requires Bachelor’s Degree – $59,970
- School And Career Counselors – Requires Master’s Degree – $53,610
- Childcare Workers – Requires Non-Degree Training – $19,510
- Social Workers – Requires Bachelor’s Degree – $44,200
- Probation Officers And Correctional Treatment Specialists – Requires Bachelor’s Degree – $48,190
- Substance Abuse And Behavioral Disorder Specialists – Requires Non-Degree Training – $38,520
- Medical And Health Services Manager – Requires Bachelor’s Degree – $88,580