If you want to help people live happier and healthier lives, you may want to consider earning a bachelor of science in human services. A human services degree is a social sciences degree that focuses learning across multiple disciplines, including psychology, sociology, ethics, and law. Graduates of human sciences programs find careers in social work, for government agencies, and in legal and judicial roles.
What is a Degree in Human Services?
Human science professionals seek to protect and serve underprivileged and at-risk populations from the situations and behaviors that have a negative impact on their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s removing children from unfit homes as a social worker, counseling juvenile offenders who are in and out of the court system, or investigating nursing homes for signs of negligence, human services professionals take an active role on providing people with the tools needed to improve their lives.
In a human services degree program, you’ll study topics across a variety of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, cultural and ethnic studies, social work, ethics, and healthcare. This cross-disciplinary approach allows you to consider situation from multiple angles and make informed suggestions and decisions when providing services. While many human services graduates pursue graduate degrees in a specific field, there are many career opportunities for those with bachelor’s degrees alone.
What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Human Services?
- Interpersonal Communications
- The Criminal Justice System
- Social Problems
- Crisis Intervention and Prevention
- Family and Domestic Violence
- Child and Adolescent Development
- Advocacy for Seniors
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Services
What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Human Services?
There is always demand for compassionate and effective human services professionals, and because of the diversity in opportunities for graduates of this degree program, there should be ample opportunities for work after graduation. Graduates can find work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, legal services providers, and private companies. Additionally, graduates can expand their career opportunities in the field even further by earning a graduate degree in a specialized discipline.
How Long does it take?
A bachelors in Human Services will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.
Online Human Services Degree
Online human services program is an appealing choice for students or adults who want to make a difference in their communities. Students are required to complete around 180 credit hours to gain a bachelor degree which is normally completed within 4 years by a full-time student. Students will have to choose between different concentrations as child and family services, gerontology or substance abuse.
*All salary and growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at BLS.gov for a Child and Family Social Worker
What Can You Do With a Human Services Degree?
Human Services refers to the work that focuses on improving the quality of life by trying to prevent or solve the problems facing people. Human services as an academic field is an interdisciplinary study that integrates knowledge from social sciences, service technologies and scientific innovations in the best way that can solve problems in places of poverty, conflicts or natural disasters.
The ultimate goal of human services is to help affected people restore productive, sustainable and independent life. They use civil engagement, education and health promotion and social improvement. Human services professionals also advocate the rights of people to gain access to human services in an efficient, effective and accessible way.
What does a human services student learn?
Human services program is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on solving the stressing problems facing people including poverty, domestic violence or substance abuse. Courses will vary according to the university and the program but there are some courses that are common in human services programs:
- Sociology: This course includes the study of the development, structure, culture, functions and problems of the society. The content of the course may vary significantly according to the society in consideration.
- Crisis intervention: this course introduces the types of crises that can face the society including wars, natural disasters or health epidemics. The type of intervention offered at each crisis will differ significantly.
- Child welfare: children are the most in need of support particularly in the time of crisis. Working with children has different considerations compared to others since they do not have their own independent will and decisions.
- Ethics: studying moral principles is an essential part of studying human services. Lacking the reference for what is right and what is wrong can be a major problem when trying to correct unacceptable behaviors.
- Public policy: studying policies in certain community or country is an important step to solve the problems facing the society. Some political decisions may cause problems while others may have positive effects on people.
- Criminal justice: This can actually be considered a branch of human services since the ultimate goal of criminal justice is to protect the society from crimes and re-integrate the criminals in the community after correcting their behavior.
Now I have the human services degree…where can I work after graduating?
Human service graduates have a unique yet challenging career. Their job can be very stressful when they are working with complicated problems. It is certainly rewarding when it comes to observing the positive effects on lives of people. Human services can be related to religious or civic organizations. There are various career options that you can consider pursuing after completing your degree in human services:
- Disaster relief worker: if you are passionate about helping people who are most in need and you like the adventure of travelling to hot places then this career should be your choice.
- Behavioral Management Aide: the main focus of this job is correcting behavioral problems in children as minimizing tantrums or violent actions. This mainly happens in schools. You may also work with adults in penal institutions with criminals or addictive people.
- Grief Counselor: losing someone close or being a victim of a violent incident can be very devastating to people. Grief is sometimes so strong that the person cannot hold to his/her normal life anymore. A grief counselor uses a set of approaches to create a safe environment for the person to express grief and get motivated to restore a normal and healthy life.
- Domestic violence counselor: The effects of domestic violence on a person can be very severe affecting his/her personality and attitude towards life. The role of domestic violence counselor is to help victims of this type of violence while keeping their confidentiality and safety.
- Probation officers: they work with people who were recently released from prison to help them engage successfully into the society. The role of the probation officer is to ensure that their client is abiding to the law and regulations in addition to helping the client overcome difficulties in joining the community as getting accepted for a job or housing.
- Community outreach worker: the role of community outreach is to educate the community about a human service organization and get the community support either financially or through volunteering. The community outreach also plays a role in raising the awareness about a certain behavior, situation or disaster.
- Substance Abuse Counselor: he/she will work with the substance abuse victim and his/her family to overcome the dependence and help the victim become self-sufficient. The counselor may also deliver awareness sessions in schools, churches or other gatherings.
Should I choose a human services degree?
Human services field is a unique type of study because it deals directly with humans and their problems. The work is spiritually rewarding when it comes to the positive effects on people however, it can also be very stressful to deal with the problem if you do not set clear boundaries between the work and personal life. You should get trained on the following set of skills if you consider working in human services:
- Active listening
- Emotional intelligence
- Critical thinking
- Setting boundaries
- Personal confidence and inner strength.
Best Jobs for Human Services Degrees
Because human services covers a variety of disciplines, graduates have many career choices after graduation. They may work for nonprofit agencies that provide family care and counseling services, for homeless shelters providing career and life counseling, for church organizations, or in government. They may also earn graduate degrees to become licensed to work as lawyers, school counselors, therapists, or child and family social workers.
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