There are many jobs you can do with a human service degree, working to help meet basic human needs through prevention and remediation services. The human services field refers to a broadly defined set of interdisciplinary social assistance programs. These professionals spend a lot of time connecting clients to various social services and medical care.
Collectively, the field of human services seeks to meet the uniquely challenging objective of fulfilling human needs through prevention, remediation, and a professional commitment to improving the life quality of service populations. So, if you are interested in pursuing a career in human services, read on to learn more about this growing career field and start your school search.
What is Human Services?
The profession of human services seeks to improve the delivery of vital services. These include social services to the overall population that provides food, shelter, criminal justice, counseling, and healthcare. Human services workers evaluate the quality of services and then improve coordination, accountability, and accessibility between and among agencies and professionals in the human services resources industry.
What Is the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)?
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is a federal government division that oversees multiple agencies that promote public health and offer human services. Its purpose is to ensure all citizens access to basic needs programs. Below are a few of the programs DHHS administers.
- Public health emergency and disaster response and prevention.
- Health insurance assistance
- Social services like Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary assistance for needy families (TANF)
- School readiness programs like Head Start
- Programs that offer medical assistance and research
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse programs and funding
- Foster Care and Adoption programs
School and Program Accreditation for Human Services
Before we look at degree programs, it is vital to make sure you attend an accredited university. The formal process of school 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.
- Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities (NWCCU)
- New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)
- WASC Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC)
- The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Specialized Program Accreditation
It is essential for students interested in a human service career to understand that the best quality human services academic degrees and programs will also be awarded specialized accreditation. Specialized accreditation is administered by accreditation agencies that industry leaders and advocates have sanctioned.
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
CSHSE or 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 online programs across the country. Established in 1970, The CSHSE began humbly with a survey of several hundred degrees in human services.
The survey findings were assembled by a group of education experts who 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 guide each bachelor’s degree in human services in compliance with criteria set forth by the educational experts.
Types of Human Service Degrees
Students who have a serious interest in human services must first fully understand the many facets and sectors within the industry. To gain a complete understanding, potential students should pose these questions:
- 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?
- 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?
What is a Degree in Human Services?
What is a degree in human services, and how can it help you meet your career goals? Students enrolled in the many available degrees in human services throughout the country study a broad base of interdisciplinary perspectives covering many topics and fields.
- Social Work
- Psychology and related disciplines
- Criminal Justice
Would Earning a Human Services Degree Meet your Educational Goals?
Earning an on-campus or online degree in human services provides the education required for most entry-level jobs in the human services field. 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 this growing field look to fill open human services positions with candidates who hold on-campus or online human services degrees. More employers now only hire those who earn bachelor’s degrees in human services online or campus-based rather than training high school graduates.
Do you need a bachelor’s degree in human services for entry-level positions in the industry? The reality is choosing to earn a bachelor’s degree in human services is an intelligent strategy for students who wish to enter the workforce fairly quickly after graduating.
What Other Skills and Traits Do Human Services Professionals Need?
In addition to education and training, human services workers should also possess specific skills and traits. Below are a few of the most common.
- Empathy and compassion
- Enjoy helping people
- 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 objectives.
- Ability to help clients understand complex issues.
- Organized and can maintain case files
Human Services Degree Jobs
Professionals 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 many occupations fall within the human services field. Those who earn bachelor’s degrees in human services online have the knowledge needed for a career as:
- Behavioral Management Aide / Behavioral Management Aides
- Domestic Violence Counselor / Domestic Violence Counselors
- Community Outreach Worker / Community Outreach Workers
- Juvenile Court Liaison / Juvenile Court Liaisons
- Human Services Coordinator / Human Services Coordinators
- Case Management Aide / Case Management Aides
- Human Services Liaison / Human Services Liaisons
- Probation Officer / Probation Officers
- Rehabilitation Case Worker / Rehabilitation Case Workers
Career options increase significantly with a master’s or doctoral degree. For example, social workers with a master’s degree are trained to be family therapists or clinical social workers. A family therapist or clinical social worker can also work with substance abuse issues or offer related services as an alcohol counselor. However, social work licensing requirements vary from state to state. Additionally, popular criminal justice roles are probation officers who work for government agencies.
Should You Get a Minor in a Foreign Language?
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 to determine the foreign language that would be most beneficial to learn.
Human Services Certifications and Licenses
Within each industry, professionals can earn certifications or credentials that demonstrate 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
Human Services Jobs with Certifications
When considering the options related to human services certification jobs, it is essential 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. Online students in a human services program should check their state’s educational requirements and job opportunities before enrolling in a certification program.
- Home Health Aide / Home Health Aides
- Childcare Provider / Childcare Providers
- Social Work Assistant / Social Work Assistants
- Psychiatric Technician / Psychiatric Technicians
- Personal Care Assistant / 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 the HS – BCP premier certification. 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
Career Paths in Human Services
Is human services a promising career for your objectives? Careers in health and human services offer degree holders a wide variety of job options providing services to help others improve the quality of their lives. With a degree in human services, individuals help provide services to those 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. So, what jobs can you get with a human services degree earned online? Consider these types of human services paths.
- There are many nursing positions within the available humans services careers
- Many Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) fill jobs for human service degree holders
- Many careers include the work of licensed psychologists or psychiatric aides
- Family & marriage counselors are often viable careers
- There are a variety of careers for individuals interested in working in rehabilitation centers.
- And with the current opioid crisis, many jobs with a human services degree are available as substance abuse counselors or rehabilitation caseworkers.
Jobs Working With Children
What can you do with a human services degree if you want to work with children? Many jobs with a degree in human services will include working with young children, even infants. These careers in health and human services offer professional work with children. Many work in child and family services at public and private human services organizations. Case managers connect family members with needed services, find family therapy, and respond to issues of child abuse.
- Child Life Specialist
- Social Service Case Manager
- Child and Family Advocate
- School Social Worker
- Youth Worker and Trainer
- Medical Social Worker
- Probation Officer
- Public Health Advocate
Human Service Geriatrics Specialty
What can you do with a degree in human services if you work with the elderly or older populations? Those looking for jobs with a human services degree and who want to work with the elderly population will find broad selections in this subspecialty. Below are some careers with a human service degree and a specialty in geriatrics.
- Crisis Intervention Counselor
- Grief Counselor
- Palliative Care or Hospice Worker
- Geriatric Social Worker
- Case Management Worker
- Behavioral Aide
- Community Outreach Worker
- Community Economic Development Trainer may include emergency-related jobs for a human services degree holder.
Jobs in Mental Health
Substance abuse and mental health issues occur in all populations. Therefore, many human services agencies offer direct services for mental health disorders. Government agencies and the private sector run mental health clinics offering counseling services and other programs.
A life skills instructor or substance abuse counselor may work in these settings. Depending on the role, individuals may need a master’s degree. Additionally, most counselors need two or three years of supervised work experience.
Administrative Careers in Human Services
Many jobs with a degree in human services will bring a rewarding career. There are these administrative-oriented careers for those who want administrative 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 and natural disasters that often include dangers.
- Sociological survey researchers are available to those who wish to pursue health and human services careers.
What Do Human Service Workers Do?
What is the role of a human service worker? Most work for non profit organizations, community organizations, or government agencies. These professionals within the human services field work to mitigate challenging circumstances for individuals or families who are facing hardships. These problematic situations may be acute and in need of immediate attention. They may be chronic and need ongoing services to meet basic needs.
They seek to empower their clients by helping them implement essential lifestyle changes. Working closely with other healthcare professionals, they help develop care plans and follow treatment plans. This physical and emotional support facilitates a change that improves their situation by making the environment healthier and entire communities more stable.
The ultimate goal of any human services professional is to provide support to help others make life modifications that not only improve the current situation. But they also offer methods in which the client can learn to become more self-sufficient and ultimately provide the client with a viable path to improved self-esteem, personal development, and a better quality of life.
As noted above, these professionals work to help people in many settings and environments. It is up to the human services professional as to which slice of the industry would meet your professional interests and work objectives.
Salary Expectations in Human Services
The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers statistical insight into the many occupations in the United States. According to the BLS’s statisticians, there were approximately 175,000 human services professional managers working in the country in 2021.
How do you make money with a human services degree? Additionally, it is noted that the median human services degree salary for 2021, as disclosed by the BLS, was $76,790 per year, which translates to $36.92 per hour. It is anticipated that the job growth for the human and social services field will be 17% through 2021, a job growth rate more than twice the national average.
Individuals with a bachelor’s in human services can use it to go on to graduate programs. For example, occupational therapists complete a master’s degree program.
|Social and Community Service Managers||National Estimates|
|Mean hourly wage||$36.92|
|Mean Annual Wage||$76,790|
When analyzing the potential human services bachelor’s degree salary, reviewing the relevant percentile data is essential.
|Hourly Wage||$ 22.38||$ 28.12||$ 35.58||$ 45.17||$ 57.04|
|Annual Wage||$ 46,550||$ 58,490||$ 74,000||$ 93,950||$ 118,650|
The Top Paying States
A human services salary can vary by employer, industry sector, and also by location. Below are the top-paying states for individuals with an undergraduate degree in human services.
|State||Annual mean wage|
|District of Columbia||$105,660|
States with Highest Employment
Below are the states with the highest employment levels for human service graduates.
|State||Number of Jobs|
Top Industries for Employment
Listed below are the industries with the highest employment level in the human service field.
|Industries with Highest Employment||Number of Jobs||Salary|
|Individual and Family Services||44,520||$70,840 per year|
|Local Government||18,910||$93,330 per year|
|State Government||12,230||$79,370 per year|
|Residential Treatment Facilities||10,480||$64,670 per year|
|Community and Emergency Services||9,700||$66,140 per year|
Top Paying Industries
How do you make money with a human services degree? Below are the top paying industries for human service professionals.
|Top Paying Industries||Number of Jobs||Salary|
|Insurance Carriers||330||$ 112,280 per year|
|Federal Exec. Branch||1,630||$ 110,660 per year|
|Insurance Agencies||60||$ 111,690 per year|
|Scientific Research & Development||280||$ 107,790 per year|
|Office and Administrative Services||210||$ 104,340 per year|
Most industries develop internal oversight organizations to support industry professionals and the industry overall. Professional organizations act as industry advocators to better the industry. Many organizations offer a variety of helpful benefits and provide information on their websites.
- 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 Human Services Research Institute (HSRI)
Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Human Services Research Institute is a professional organization that seeks to improve lives by supporting 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.
National Organization for Human Services (NOHS)
The National Organization for Human Services is a nonprofit agency representing the many educators, students, and practitioners in the human services industry. In addition to supporting human service professionals, the NOHS has an ultimate objective to help individuals/communities function at optimal levels regarding quality of life issues.
The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)
APHSA or the American Public Human Services Association is a professional association that seeks to connect its members with industry policymakers. This organization 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.
National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
Founded in 1982, the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) is a national nonprofit organization. The NAFCC promotes quality childcare by ensuring childcare providers have quality education and support. NAFCC acts as a national voice of childcare practitioners by offering accredited credentials.
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