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Human Services: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Social Services and Nonprofit

  • Administration and planning
  • Case management
  • Advocacy
  • Program evaluation
  • Policy development
  • Volunteer coordination

Employers

  • Public welfare agencies
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Private social service agencies
  • Group homes
  • Religiously affiliated organizations
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers

Information & Strategies

Social services are designed to provide support for poor, disabled, ill, elderly, or juvenile clients.
  • Volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, battered women homes, literacy programs, or other social service agencies to gain relevant experience and demonstrate interest.

Criminal Justice/Corrections

  • Counseling/Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Youth services
  • Victim assistance

Employers

  • Prisons and correctional facilities
  • Courts
  • Police departments
  • Probation and parole offices
  • Victim services organizations

Information & Strategies

Human services workers in corrections focus on rehabilitating clients and assisting victims.
  • Obtain experience by volunteering at a corrections facility or a victim services organization such as a rape crisis center.

Gerontology

  • Advocacy
  • Counseling
  • Case management
  • Programming
  • Public policy

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing and retirement homes
  • Senior centers
  • Hospice

Information & Strategies

Gerontology involves working with older adults, healthy or ill, and their families.
  • Become involved with programs or organizations designed for senior citizens.

Child Welfare

  • Case management
  • Advocacy
  • Service coordination

Employers

  • Public or private child welfare agencies
  • Adoption agencies
  • Foster care organizations
  • Daycare centers and nursery schools
  • Recreational facilities (YMCA or YWCA)
  • Head Start programs

Information & Strategies

Child welfare workers strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children through interventions and programming.
  • Volunteer at daycare centers, children's shelters, camps, YMCA/YWCA, scouts, or other agencies that aid youth and children.
  • Take additional courses in child development or early childhood education.

Developmental Disabilities

  • Case management
  • Advocacy
  • Program planning and evaluation
  • Policy development
  • Rehabilitation

Employers

  • Community residential homes
  • State and local agencies
  • Medical facilities
  • Mental health organizations
  • Schools
  • Employment agencies
  • Vocational rehabilitation

Information & Strategies

Human services workers specializing in this area help people with disabilities to adjust to and lead productive lives.
  • Volunteer at special needs camps, childcare centers, schools, or hospitals to gain experience.
  • Gain experience with and knowledge of a variety of disabilities.
  • Obtain specialized training in areas such as sign language or assistive technology for additional opportunities.
  • Earn a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling for opportunities in Vocational Rehabilitation.

Healthcare

  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Program development
  • Administration
  • Rehabilitation

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Community health centers
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Public health programs
  • Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
  • Nursing homes
  • Group homes
  • Hospice

Information & Strategies

Human services workers in healthcare facilitate the medical and emotional treatment of patients.
  • Volunteer in health related settings such as hospitals or the American Red Cross to gain experience.
  • Supplement curriculum with coursework in nursing or health.
  • Complete appropriate prerequisites for entrance into professional programs such as occupational therapy, physician's assistant, or physical therapy.

Administration

  • Management
  • Policy development
  • Planning

Employers

  • Family service agencies
  • Child welfare departments
  • Social service agencies
  • State mental health departments
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Probation departments
  • Public interest groups
  • Local, state, and federal government

Information & Strategies

Administrators are involved with planning, budgeting, public relations, management, fundraising, and other crucial operating responsibilities that keep an organization functioning.
  • Obtain a master's degree in social work or related field for additional opportunities.
  • Gain management experience through internships, part-time employment, or leadership in relevant student organizations.
  • Supplement curriculum with coursework in areas such as public relations, advertising, accounting, or management.

Education

  • Teaching
  • Interpreting
  • Case management
  • Student affairs

Employers

  • Universities and colleges
  • Public and private (K-12) school systems
  • Human service agencies
  • Private learning centers
  • Freelance tutors or consultants

Information & Strategies

Human service graduates working in education focus on providing instruction for a wide range of students including children with disabilities as well as adult community members.
  • Learn American Sign Language and manually coded forms of English for specialized opportunities.
  • Volunteer in schools or programs that serve disabled children.
  • Obtain appropriate teacher licensure for public school teaching opportunities.
  • Earn a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, mental health counseling, school counseling, social work, or college student personnel.
  • Seek campus leadership positions such as peer mentor or resident assistant.
  • Obtain a doctorate degree for teaching and research opportunities in colleges and universities.

Business and Industry

  • Human resources
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Public relations
  • Corporate giving
  • Development
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Financial counseling

Employers

  • Business firms in various industries
  • Developers of educational products
  • National foundations and associations

Information & Strategies

Graduates of human services programs may apply their skills and knowledge in the private sector of business and industry.
  • Earn a minor in business or related field.
  • Develop computer skills particularly with spreadsheets, databases, word processing, and desktop publishing.
  • Gain experience through part-time jobs, summer jobs, and internships in business environments.

General Information

  • A bachelor's degree in human services prepares individuals for entry-level positions in the helping professions.
  • A master's degree in counseling, social work, occupational therapy or related field, in addition to appropriate professional licensure, is usually necessary to provide therapy and for advancement to supervisory or administrative positions.
  • Complete practicum experiences and internships to determine suitability for the helping professions and to gain exposure to various practice settings and clients.
  • Candidates should possess empathy for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an interest in social change.
  • Gain experience with a diverse range of clients and client systems including individuals, families, groups, communities, and minorities.
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