The field of human services refers to a broadly defined set of interdisciplinary social assistance programs. Collectively, the field of human services seeks to meet the uniquely challenging objective of fulfilling human needs through the prevention, remediation, and a professional commitment to improving the life quality of service populations.
If you have an interest in pursuing a career in human services, be sure you research the answers to these questions to learn what is human services:
- What is human services, and how much is the average salary for a professional?
- What is the department of human services within a governmental agency?
- What is the department of health and human services?
- How can you find available jobs in the government or private sector?
To answer the question – What is the department of human services responsible for? – one must include the services to the overall population that provides for food/shelter, counseling, and healthcare, to name a few.
What is the Department of Health and Human Services’ purpose? The profession of human services seeks to improve the delivery of services by evaluating the quality of services and by improving coordination, accountability, and accessibility between and among agencies and professionals in the human services industry.
School and Program Accreditation for Human Services
The formal process of accreditation in the United States occurs at two fundamental levels.
Regional accreditation happens at an institution or a school level. Each higher education institution is evaluated and then awarded regional accreditation if (or when) the school complies with the educational criteria as determined by the federal government’s six regional agencies.
- The Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE)
- The Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities (NWCCU)
- The New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)
- The WASC Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC)
- The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- The Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
It is essential for students interested in a human services career to understanding that the best quality human services academic degrees and programs will also be awarded specialized accreditation. Specialized accreditation is administered by accreditation agencies that have been sanctioned by industry leaders and advocates.
Specialized accreditation is a formal process that assesses the quality of either specific programs/departments in a university or college. Accreditation at the specialized level differs from regional accreditation because the process of specialized accreditation is strictly voluntary. The best human degrees in human services will likely receive specialized accreditation from the CSHSE – the Council for Standards of Human Service Education –
The Council for Standards within Human Service Education
The CSHSE – the Council for Standards within Human Service Education operates as a sanctioned accreditation agency that seeks to improve the quality and focus of human service programs across the country. Established in 1970, The CSHSE began humbly by a survey of several hundred degrees in human services. The survey findings were assembled by a group of education experts who then developed proposed standards to provide direction, advocacy, and training throughout the nation regarding all on-campus and online degrees in human services. CSHSE seeks to provide guidance as to each bachelor’s degree in human services compliance with criteria set forth by the educational experts.
Types of Human Services Degrees
Students who have a serious interest in human services must first have a full understanding of the many facets and sectors within the industry. To gain a complete understanding, potential students should pose these questions:
- What is a degree in human services, and how can it help you meet your career goals?
- What is a human service degree, and can you afford to enroll in a degree in human services online or campus-based?
- Which of the human services degrees would meet your educational goals best?
- Do you need a bachelor’s degree in human services for entry-level positions in the industry?
- What is a human services degree, and can you find a program to meet your objectives?
- Are human services degrees online more affordable than campus-based programs?
- Would earning a human services online degree meet your educational goals?
What is a Degree in Human Services?
Students enrolled in the many available degrees in human services throughout the country study from a broad-based interdisciplinary perspective covering topics from the fields of –
- Social Work.
- Psychology and related disciplines.
- Criminal Justice.
Earning one of the quality on-campus or online degrees in human services will provide the education required to be eligible for most entry-level jobs in the field of human services. Perhaps, one of the best aspects of earning campus-based or online human services degrees is that undergraduate degrees in human services prepare students for most human services careers.
It is important to note that employers in the human services field are increasingly looking to fill open human services positions with candidates who hold one of the many quality on-campus or online human services degrees. More employers now only hire those who have earned one of the many bachelor’s in human services degrees online or campus-based rather than training high school graduates.
The reality is choosing to earn Earning a bachelor’s degree in human services is a smart strategy for students who wish to enter the workforce fairly quickly after graduating high school. Independent of a human services professionals’ specific training, it is noted that these professionals possess specific skills and traits that include:
- Empathy and compassion.
- Great listening skills.
- Make people feel safe and comfortable.
- Culturally competent, with demonstrated skills in tolerance and acceptance.
- An innate desire to help other individuals improve their lives.
- Effective interpersonal skills.
- Ability to empower others.
- Industry knowledge.
- Work within complex rules and procedures.
- Maintain personal boundaries.
- Implement interventions to help clients meet their personal objectives.
- Ability to help clients understand complex issues.
Professional who earn a human services online degree will work with groups or individuals to help them function at optimal levels when life presents challenges. The reality is there are many occupations that fall within the human services field. Those who have earned one of the many bachelor’s degrees in human services online will then be eligible for a career as:
- Behavioral Management Aides.
- Community Outreach Worker.
- Juvenile Court Liaisons.
- Human Services Coordinators.
- Case Management Aides.
- Human Services Liaisons.
- Probation Officers.
- Rehabilitation Case Workers, among others.
Many students enrolling in human services degrees online or on-campus choose to add a foreign language minor when completing their baccalaureate degree. Earning human services online degrees with a minor in a foreign language is a smart way to have your resume be highlighted to potential employers. Students who wish to work in specific areas should contact the local human services operations in those areas to determine the foreign language which would be most beneficial to learn.
Human Services Certifications and Licenses
Within each industry, professionals are given the opportunity to earn certifications or credentials that demonstrates refined or further knowledge. Additionally, certification is a formalized process that allows professionals to demonstrate their abilities and qualifications in a specific topic or subject. Both credentials and certifications are ways to validate that a professional has met the baseline competency in a complex subject.
Those who graduate from certification in human services programs can demonstrate to employers just how prepared they are for a human services open position.
There are a variety of human services certifications that professionals in the industry may pursue. There are campus-based and online human services certificates available from some of the best universities and schools across the country. As you research the many human services certification programs available, consider these certificates in human services:
- Child & Family Care Certificates in Human Services.
- Elder Care Human Services Certificates.
- Social & Behavioral Science Certification in Human Services.
- Infant & Child Development Human Services Certification programs.
- Marriage & Family Human Services Certifications.
- Death, Dying & Grief Certificates in Human Services.
When considering the options related to human services certification jobs, it is important to understand what the human service certificate online program may do to help further your career. Consider this list of the most common jobs available to those who earn a human services certificate online or on-campus –
- Home Health Aides.
- Childcare Providers.
- Social Work Assistants.
- Psychiatric Technicians.
- Personal Care Assistants.
In addition to earning one of the many human services certificate options (which include many human services certificate online programs), human services professionals may choose to earn an industry credential. Industry-sanctioned credentials work similarly to those who earn a certificate in human services. Consider this human services credential –
The Human Services Board-Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP)
Several key organizations combine to offer a premier certification for human services professionals – the HS – BCP. This human services credential certifies that the holder has demonstrated competence in the eleven core human service functions and content. The experience standard for this human services certification was recently reduced to only 350 hours of experience attained post-degree.
Careers in Human Services
One of the most important facets of researching education and career options is to have a full understanding of the available humans services careers. To assist in your research, be certain to answer these relevant questions:
- What can I do with a human services degree if I want to work with children?
- Is human services a good career for my objectives?
- Where can you find jobs with a human services degree for entry-level positions?
- What can I do with a degree in human services if I work with elders?
- What jobs can I get with a human services degree earned online?
- What job can I get with a human services degree if I want to pursue a master’s degree simultaneously?
It is noted that careers in health and human services offer degree holders a wide variety of human services degree jobs options, with the core of work providing services to help others improve the quality of their lives. If you have asked yourself – What can I do with a degree in human services? – the short answer is the provision of standardized services to those who are facing challenging hardships.
As you consider the many jobs for a human services degree holder, remember that these careers in health and human services may change as you further your education by earning a graduate degree. Consider these careers inhuman services:
- There are many nursing positions within the available humans services careers.
- Many Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) fill jobs for a human services degree holder.
- Many human services careers include the work of licensed psychologists or psychiatric aides.
- Family & marriage counselors are often viable careers in human services.
- There are a variety of health and human services careers for individuals interested in working in rehabilitation centers.
Many jobs with a degree in human services will include working with young children, even infants. These careers in health and human services that offer professional work with children include –
- Child Life Specialist.
- Child & Family Advocate.
- School Social Worker.
- Youth Worker & Trainer.
- Medical Social Worker.
- Probation Officer.
- Public Health Advocate, to name a few.
Those who are looking for jobs with a human services degree and want to work with the elderly population will find there are broad selections in this subspecialty. These careers with a human service degree and a specialty in geriatrics include –
- Crisis Intervention Counselor.
- Grief Counselor.
- Palliative care or hospice worker.
- Geriatric Social Worker.
- More generalist humans services careers include –
- Case management worker.
- Behavioral aide.
- Community outreach worker.
- Community Economic Development Trainer, which may include emergency-related jobs for a human services degree holder.
Are you still wondering – What can I do with a human services degree? -or What are the available human services degree jobs for which I qualify?
For those who want administrative careers in human services, there are these administrative-oriented human services careers to consider:
- Public policy consultants work to help improve current laws and regulations. These careers with a human services degree are often available at the state and federal government levels.
- Disaster Relief Workers are employed by government and private agencies to help prepare for unexpected emergencies that often include dangers.
- Sociological survey researchers are available to those who wish to pursue health and human services careers.
- Many jobs with a degree in human services will include community service administrators, who are responsible for managing the agency’s operations.
And with the current opioid crisis, there are many jobs with a human services degree available as substance abuse counselors or rehabilitation caseworkers.
Human services professionals work to mitigate challenging circumstances for individuals or families who are facing hardships. These difficult situations may be acute – and in need of immediate attention, or chronic in nature, in need of ongoing services.
Human services professionals seek to empower their clients by helping them implement essential lifestyle changes that will facilitate a change that improves their situation by making the environment healthier and more stable.
The ultimate goal of any human services professional is to help other make life modification that not only improve the current situation, but they also offer methods in which the client can learn to become more self-sufficient – ultimately providing the client with a viable path to improved self-esteem and personal development.
As noted above, there are many settings and environments in which human services professionals may work. It is simply up to the human services professional as to which slice of the industry would meet the professional’s work objectives.
Salary Expectations in Human Services
The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers statistical insight into the many occupations available in the United States. According to the BLS’s statisticians, there were approximately 175,000 human services professional managers working in the country in 2019.
Additionally, it is noted that the median human services degree salary for 2019, as disclosed by the BLS, was $67,150 per year, which translates to $32.28 per hour. It is anticipated that the job growth for the field of human and social services will be 17% through 2019, a job growth rate that is more than twice the national average.
When analyzing the potential human services bachelor degree salary, it is important to review the relevant percentile data –
|Salary Percentile Data for Human Services Professionals –||Degree in Human Services Salary||Human Services Salary/Hr|
|10%||$ 41,220 per year||$ 19,82 per hour|
|25%||$ 52,580 per year||$ 25.23 per hour|
|50% (Median)||$ 67,150 per year||$ 32.28 per hour|
|75%||$ 88,180 per year||$ 42.39 per hour|
|90%||$ 112,480 per year||$ 54.08 per hour|
The top-paying states regarding human services degree salary options are as follows –
|The Top Paying States for Human Services Professionals||Number of Jobs||Bachelor Degree in Human Services Salary|
|District of Columbia||700||$ 104,510 per year|
|Rhode Island||450||$ 94,860 per year|
|New Jersey||3,470||$ 88,270 per year|
|Colorado||1,550||$ 86,510 per year|
|New York||13,820||$ 86,330 per year|
Those states that have the highest levels of employment regarding human services degree salary options are as follows –
|States w/Highest Employment Level for Human Services Professionals||Number of Jobs||Degree in Human Services Salary|
|New York||13,820||$ 86,330 per year|
|Pennsylvania||8,260||$ 94,860 per year|
|Massachusetts||7,620||$ 88,270 per year|
|Texas||6,710||$ 86,510 per year|
|Illinois||5,460||$ 86,330 per year|
The industries that have the highest level of employment for human services professionals are as follows –
|Industries with Highest Level of Employment for Human Services Professionals||Number of Jobs||Human Services Salary|
|Individual & Family Svc.||50,700||$ 66,280 per year|
|Local Gov’t – No Schools/Hospitals||17,650||$ 89,750 per year|
|State Gov’t – No Schools/Hospitals||11,780||$ 74,720 per year|
|Resid./Devel./Substance Facilities||10,000||$ 65,040 per year|
|Community/Emergency Services||9,430||$ 65,150 per year|
The top paying industries for human services professionals are as follows –
|Top Paying Industries for Human Services Professionals||Number of Jobs||Human Services Salary|
|Federal Exec. Branch||1,190||$ 104,600 per year|
|Insurance||350||$ 99,250 per year|
|Scientific R & D||270||$ 95,630 per year|
|Medical & Surgical Hosp.||2,960||$ 91,870 per year|
|Giving Services||2,570||$ 91,240 per year|
Most industries develop internal oversight organizations with the goal to support industry professionals and the industry overall. Professional organizations act as industry advocators, vying to better the industry by offering a variety of helpful benefits that include –
- Education for licensing and continuing education.
- Ongoing mentorships for new members and recent graduates of project management programs.
- Domestic & International events and networking opportunities.
- Job boards, among other benefits.
The HRSI – Human Services Research Institute
Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Human Services Research Institute is a professional organization that seeks to improve lives through the support of industry leaders and professionals. For more than four decades, the HSRI has worked with members from five countries, 50 states, and more than one-hundred cities/counties.
The NOHS – the National Organization for Human Services
The National Organization for Human Services is a nonprofit agency that represents the many educators, students, and practitioners in the human services industry. In addition to supporting human services professionals, the NOHS has an ultimate objective to help individuals/communities to function at optimal levels with regard to the quality of life issues.
The APHSA – the American Public Human Services Association
The APHSA – the American Public Human Services Association is a professional association that seeks to connect its members with industry policymakers. The APHSA partners with other industries to meet their objectives – to build thriving communities based on its members’ human potential. Additionally, the APHSA is on a mission to develop practical solutions that lead to improved and accelerated learning for industry professionals.
The National Association for Family Child Care
Founded in 1982, the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) is a nonprofit organization that operates on a national basis. The NAFCC is dedicated to the promotion of quality childcare by ensuring childcare providers have quality education and support. NAFCC acts as a national voice of childcare practitioners by offering accredited credentials.