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What is Human Services?

What is Human Services?

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens

Our shared human experience is a great equalizer. Nearly everyone on the planet has had valleys and peaks, struggles and joys along their life’s journey that help us identify with others. And what sets us apart as the human race is our desire to help our fellowman in need. When we see the suffering, injustice, or difficulties of others, the vast majority of humanity is moved and wants to help. For some that means making a monetary donation; others might volunteer their time once a week; while others personally meet the needs of those they know. And, as Dickens says, these are by no means useless.

For some, however, serving others and making a difference is at their core, and occasional service just isn’t enough. It is their calling and needs to comprise their career. If that describes you, then the versatile field of Human Services may be a perfect fit because it puts you on the front lines of people suffering from inequity, trauma, violence, socioeconomic challenges, and more.

What is Human Services?

The field of human services equips social agents to address the needs of highly diverse populations confronting issues such as poverty, substance abuse, mental health, aging, and relational crisis. This can be done through both prevention and remediation measures. Additionally, as a major in human services, you will learn how to address the quality of  access to services, help coordinate services across agencies, develop programs, and gauge the effectiveness of services provided.

Social vs Human Services

It’s important to note that social work and human services are similar but vary in some basic ways. The primary difference is that social workers assist clients directly through social programs, whereas human services professionals generally have a broader focus that looks at issues, systems, and populations to identify overarching needs and introduce culturally appropriate social change and support to individuals, families, or communities. Ottawa University's human services degree provides a strong foundation for branching into both areas.

What Can You Do With a Human Services Degree?

There are myriad choices when it comes to helping others. When starting your career in human services, the direction you choose will be guided largely by your interests. For example, some common populations that fall within the purview of human services include the homeless, the sexually or physically abused, those struggling with addiction, aging adults, people with disabilities, incarcerated individuals and their families, veterans, refugees, and foster children. If you have a passion for helping others, then you should consider pursuing a degree in human and social services.

Gain Valuable Human Services Knowledge and Skills

Getting a job after you earn your degree won’t be hard. Employment for the human services major is expected to grow 17 percent by 2030! That is much faster than the average for other occupations. In fact, approximately 59,100 jobs are projected to open up each year during that time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and a major in human services will significantly increase your qualifications for such roles.

Careers for Human Services

Human services is not a one-size-fits-all field. People of diverse backgrounds and interests are drawn to human and social services careers for a variety of reasons. One commonality is the desire to help people and make a difference in individual lives, as well as at the system level. Human services jobs can be found within non-profit organizations, state and local government, health care, community service groups, for-profit social service agencies, law enforcement, rehabilitation facilities, and tailored programs. Because there are countless agencies, programs, and organizations that advocate for the underserved all across the local, state, and national spectrum, jobs with a bachelor's in human services are plentiful.

Jobs With A Bachelor’s In Human Services

Job titles vary widely within the field, but some typical roles include:

  • Child Welfare Advocate
  • Mental Health Associate
  • Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Cultural Liaison  
  • Case Manager
  • Community Outreach Coordinator
  • Group Activities Coordinator
  • Juvenile or Family Court Liaison
  • Crisis Intervention Counselor/Advocate
  • Behavioral Management Aid
  • Counselor
  • Life Skills Instructor
  • Probation Officer
  • Home Health Aide
  • Intake and Interviewing Specialist
  • Group Home Worker

Read more about what you can do with a bachelor’s degree in Human Services.

Can You Be a Counselor With a Human Services Degree?

As you plan your career path, keep in mind that the counseling field is in even greater demand. The BLS projects the need for counselors to grow by 23 percent over the same time, with about 41,000 openings for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors each year, on average, over the decade. 

As our students complete their degree in Human and Social Services, they often consider earning a Master of Arts in Counseling  or a Master of Science in Addiction Counseling. These degrees perfectly complement our social and human services bachelor’s degree. Continuing your education will prepare you for the satisfying career of working with those struggling with addiction, trauma, or mental health issues. This varies by state but typically requires experience in a supervised clinical setting and state licensure. 

Online Human Services Degree

Jobs with a bachelor's in human services can be extremely rewarding and provide a lifetime of fulfillment. If you are thinking about online  counseling schools, Ottawa University offers both the undergraduate and graduate training you need for career advancement. Take a closer look at our accelerated online degrees with campus locations in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix.

Start lightening the burdens of others through a career in human services, it’s time to give us a call!

See Also:

How Do I Become a Counselor

Huge Employment Opportunities for OU Counseling Grads

Top 12 Human Services Jobs

Posted: 02/24/2022 by OU Online
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