What Can You Do With a Human Services Degree?
The human services field attracts passionate people with a strong desire to promote social justice and build communities that work for all people. Students who earn a human services degree have many career options, including jobs as a child advocate, social worker, mental health counselor, juvenile court liaison, and youth worker.
Most people who earn a human services degree follow two general paths. One involves finding a nonprofit agency that focuses on filling a need in the community that speaks to the graduate’s own goals for fostering change. The other involves working with state or federal agencies that provide the bulk of human services programs to the public.
By taking either path, human services graduates will work on making lives better for people in underserved and poor communities. They may also focus their careers on working with a specific demographic, such as the elderly or children. Whatever job they choose, earning a bachelor’s degree prepares them for success.
Human Services Degree Careers
Every state runs a human services agency that administers programs to the public. At the federal level, human services graduates work for agencies such as the Department of Human Services, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the Administration on Aging, and the Administration for Children and Family.
These government agencies, as well as nonprofits that focus on human services, need qualified professionals with ambition and a passion for helping others. Some of the in-demand positions include the following. All salaries come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), unless otherwise noted. They represent the mean annual wage nationwide as of May 2019. Keep in mind that salaries vary greatly depending on the location, organization, and job title.
Social work includes many unique career paths, but the bottom line remains the same in each. Helping people cope with tough times in their lives and providing them the support they need to solve problems. Social workers typically work for state or federal agencies. Most focus on working directly with those in need, but some also work with lawmakers on creating better social policy. Social workers across all these careers made an annual salary of $61,750.
A child advocate is a social worker who protects children who live in danger of neglect or abuse. They find foster homes for children, arrange for adoptions, and facilitate the reunion of families. While they must put the safety of the child above all else, they also must have a thorough understanding of all state and federal guidelines that govern what they can and cannot do. The BLS put this job in the category of child, family, and school social workers. The annual pay is $51,030.
Mental Health Counselor
Social workers who focus on mental health counseling typically work with those who suffer from mental health or substance abuse issues. They become a central figure for clients, directing them to the best place to get help and offering guidance on how to join support groups or 12-step programs. Those who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health and emotional disorders are called clinical social workers. Annual pay is $51,670.
Juvenile Court Liaison
A juvenile court liaison works as part of a team committed to turning around the lives of young people in trouble. They work with the court system, providing insight into the background and potential for young people who commit crimes. They may also work directly for school systems. The BLS does not directly track juvenile court liaison salaries, but ZipRecruiter puts the average annual salary at $41,137.
Youth workers help young people make better decisions that lead to a more productive and happy life. They work with different types of young people, including homeless youth, those who live in group homes, and those in alternative education programs. Salaries vary depending on the exact job and title, but examples include rehabilitation counselors ($35,950) or school social workers ($51,030).
How New England College Prepares Human Services Workers
New England College offers those who aspire to make changes in society all they need to succeed in the human services field. The 100% online program offers students the chance to explore how public assistance programs work to support different communities.
Graduates also hone their communication and interpersonal skills. Classes include Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning, Overcoming Prejudice and Discrimination, Writing and Research in the Social Sciences, Making a Difference, and Interpersonal Relationships and Interview Skills.
Making a Difference. Students learn how human services workers impact individuals and communities. They develop a better understanding of who we are as humans and study the history of those who made a difference in the lives of others.
Delivery of Human Services. Students learn details about how agencies deliver human services. They also delve into issues such as the theory of causality, cultural competency, organizational structure, leadership style, and social policy.
Social welfare policy. What led to the current human services systems? What changes could be made to improve the system? In this course, students examine how social, political, and economic forces shape social and welfare systems.
Those who decide to enter the human services field bring more than just the hope of launching a career. They have a desire to change the world for the better. Earning a bachelor’s degree and mastering the complexities of human services marks the first step in the right direction.