For professionals who are thinking about a career in human services, this is a field that is about a desire to help and serve other people. Human services professionals have the unique chance to improve the quality of life for many vulnerable people in our society. You can make a big difference in the lives of these people by working in many areas of human services.
A common path to a human services career is earning master’s degree in human services. This type of master’s program is typically a two year educational process; you will study human development theories, the history of welfare in the US, and specific human services systems that are in use today. Your master’s degree will provide you with the people, communication and leadership skills to play a crucial part in various human services agencies.
After you earn your master’s you can anticipate a rewarding human services career in these areas:
- Social and human service assistants: Provide needed client services that may include support for family and patients in psychology, rehabilitation and social work. These workers can have a variety of job titles that include clinical social work aide, family service assistant, social work assistance, addictions counselor assistant, and human service worker. You could be working with children, families, elderly, people with addictions, veterans and patients with mental illnesses
- Health educator: Teach vulnerable community members about various behaviors that promote health and wellness. You will develop strategies that will help to boost the health of individuals and entire communities. You may work in a health care facility one on one with a patient and his family. The major job in this situation is to teach the patient about their diagnosis and any necessary treatments they need. Some in this role could be referred to as a patient navigator.
- Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor: Advise people who are suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating problems and various other behavior disorders. You will provide treatment and support to assist the person in their recovery from their addiction or to modify their behavior. Addiction counselors often work with clients either in groups or one on one. You may incorporate a 12 step program such as AA to guide the work. A critical part of your work is to teach clients how to deal with stress and the problems of life in ways that can help them to recover and live normally.
Why Earn a Master’s in Human Services?
Human services professionals serve individuals, families and members of needy groups so that they can meet their full potential. People in this field derive a strong sense of satisfaction from working with people to help them with their various social, financial, medical and economic needs.
Human services professionals have a very significant effect on society. The impact of these workers in many fields cascade through our entire country from education, public policy, health care, elder care and criminal justice, among others.
Human services professionals perform many important services that make individuals and families capable of living happier and more productive lives. As our society is getting older and living longer, these services are becoming more critical. Most human services professionals will find that there will rarely be difficulty in finding good, rewarding work in a multitude of fields.
To be admitted into a master’s program in human services, you will need to meet these types of requirements:
- 75 GPA or higher
- Three professional and/or academic recommendations
- Updated resume with related job experience and/or volunteer experience
- Writing samples
- GRE scores may be required
Curriculum and Courses
A solid option to consider for your graduate degree is the Master of Science in Human Services from Northeastern University. This degree is designed to provide you with the skills and experience that you need to address many vital societal issues in direct services, supervising personnel, or administering policies and programs.
In addition to the solid foundational curriculum we highlight here, you also can choose from concentrations in leadership, organizational communication and global studies. This human services program also has work based applications and a capstone project that will allow you to deepen your skills and knowledge in your speciality. After you complete your two year, online degree you will have the skills that you need to work in many human services fields.
Required courses include these:
- Theory and Practice of Human Services
- Human Service Management and Development
- Social Inequality, Social Change, and Community Building
- Research and Evaluation in Human Services
- Policy Issues in Human Services
- Introduction to Employee Assistance Programs
- Human Services Capstone Project
Career Outcomes and Job Titles
Some of the job titles you may have in this field include:
- Case manager
- Development director
- Executive director
- House manager
- Grant writer
- Social services manager
- Community programs director
- Employment counselor
- Human services manager
Job and Salary Outlook
- Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor — Job demand in this field will increase by 22% by 2024, which is much faster than average. Growth is expected because more addiction and mental health services are covered today by health insurance policies. More people also have access to health insurance, and this will cause more people to turn to these much needed services. Many more people are also being released from jails and prisons for minor drug offenses, leading to more need for counselors. The median wage is $40,00 per year.
- Health Educator — Job demand will rise by 14% by 2024 as more efforts are being made to improve health outcomes, which can lower long term health care costs. Insurance companies, governments and employers want to reduce the costs of health care and improve long term outcomes. They hire health educators to teach people how to make better health choices so expensive diseases and medical procedures can be avoided.
- Social and Human Service Assistant — This field will experience 11% growth in jobs by 2024, which is faster than average. It is expected that there will be more jobs because of an elderly population that is growing and seeking more health care and social services. More people are also getting access to health insurance so there should be more need for these services for that reason. Further, more people are being released from jail early and they have addiction problems, which increases the need in for treatment programs. Median pay is $30,800.
Scholarships and Grants
- National Organization for Human Services: This organization dedicated to the needs and careers of human services professionals offers several scholarships for bachelor’s and master’s students. They include the David C. Maloney Scholarship and the Harold McPheeters Scholarship.
- Health Resources and Services Administration: This federal agency offers many scholarships, grants and fellowships for students studying human services.
- Human Services Association: this is a nonprofit organization that intends to enhance the ethical, social and cultural consciousness of adults, senior citizens and underprivileged citizens. This organization now serves more than 20,000 clients each year with many services that have a positive impact on their lives, health and wellbeing.
- American Public Human Services Association: This organization works in pursuit of excellence in healthcare and human services by providing support for state and local agencies and influencing policymakers where needed.