Human Services

Human Services Degrees

Human Services is one of the most versatile areas of professional work out there. For those who enjoy helping others, human services is a rewarding career field that encompasses a variety of responsibilities, concentrations, and work settings. Human service professionals include social workers, probation officers, correctional officers, mental health or substance abuse counselors, and program directors among others.

Employment opportunities for human services professionals exist at the local, state, and federal government levels and through private nonprofit organizations. Professionals in this field need a wide range of skills and knowledge. Consequently, most all human service positions require a college degree.

There are many types of college degrees available to those interested in a career in human services. Associate, bachelor, and master’s degree programs are all available at schools and universities across the country.

Types of Human Services Degree Programs

An associate’s degree in human services, a two year program, provides graduates with entry-level opportunities within the field. Graduates will gain an understanding of the human service practice and are trained to work as assistants or paraprofessionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human services associate’s degree holders often work as case management aides, community support workers, or as life skills coaches.

A bachelor’s degree in human services is often considered the minimum requirement for those wishing to become a human services professional. This four-year degree program will prepare students to work in specific areas within the field and focuses on direct service. Planning, organizing, and developing an understanding of legal and ethical issues are very important skills that are also stressed in these types of programs. Those who have earned a bachelor’s degree in human services often go on to work as social workers, probation officers, or family advocates.

Many human services professionals continue their education by earning their master’s degree at some point during their career. Higher levels of specialization and responsibility, as well as better job opportunities, are available to human services master’s degree holders. For instance, a professional who has earned their master’s degree in social work would be qualified to apply for a license to counsel in a mental health or substance abuse treatment facility. Master’s degrees also pave the way to a career as a manger or program director.

Job Opportunities for Human Services Degree Holders

For those who are interested in working in the field of human services, the job outlook appears to be very good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that this area of work will grow faster than the average for all occupations as the need for direct assistance to individuals and families increases.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition