Health and Human Services Career Options

How to Break into a Health and Human Services Career

In a world grappling with unprecedented challenges, from the lingering effects of the pandemic and the growing needs of an aging baby boomer population, a greater emphasis on physical, mental, and emotional health has emerged. And with this increased focus, the need for caring health and human services professionals has surged.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment of healthcare workers is expected to grow quickly with about 1.8 million job openings projected each year between 2022 and 2032. Additionally, employment of community and social service workers is projected to grow faster than average, with about 281,600 openings projected each year during this same time frame.

If you’re drawn to helping others live longer, happier, and healthier lives, and you wish to make a difference in our world as a whole, then a health and human services career is a great choice for you.

This article will explain the diverse and rewarding world of health and human services careers, as well as offer insights into career opportunities and degree paths. Further, we’ll show you how to break into a health and human services career and develop the skills needed to thrive in this field.

What it means to work in health and human services

The terms “health” and “human services” often overlap, yet there are many differences and unique career paths between these two fields.

Put simply, healthcare professionals handle the medical aspects of well-being, while human services professionals tend to address the social, emotional, and developmental needs of individuals and communities. Human services professionals typically work in rehabilitation centers and psychology and social work institutions, while healthcare workers can be found in hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and really any institution that demands medical expertise.

Working in healthcare

Working in healthcare means you have the opportunity to address issues in healthcare, improve healthcare management, and in doing so, enable people to live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

Students who are passionate about health and wellness turn to healthcare degree programs as these degrees equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to work in various healthcare settings and areas. These include:

  • Community health promotion: Public health professionals are individuals working to prevent disease, promote healthy lifestyles, and address public health concerns through education, policy advocacy, and research.
  • Diagnostics and treatment: Medical laboratory technicians, diagnostic medical sonographers, and emergency medical technicians play crucial roles in diagnosing and treating health issues.
  • Direct patient care: Registered nurses, medical assistants, and occupational therapists are often the first individuals to interact with patients and provide essential care and support.

At Goodwin University, we offer the following healthcare programs:

Working in human services

Equally important are human service professionals who work to positively impact the social and emotional well-being of individuals and families.

Working in a variety of settings—social service agencies, rehabilitation centers, and mental health facilities to name a few—human services professionals provide support and guidance to those facing challenges such as poverty, addiction, or mental illness. These areas include:

  • Community development: Community organizers and outreach workers work with communities to address social issues, build resources, and empower individuals through advocacy and program development.
  • Counseling and mental health: Counselors and therapists provide emotional support and guidance to individuals and groups dealing with mental health challenges, relationship issues, or life transitions.
  • Social work: Social workers support individuals and families facing challenges like poverty, mental health issues, or abuse. They support and champion their clients and connect them with resources to further improve their lives.

Many colleges and universities offer both Associate and Bachelor’s degrees in Human Services.

  1. Associate degree programs build students’ core competencies that human service employers seek, such as performing intakes and assessments, conducting interviews and counseling, and understanding individual group psychology.
  2. Bachelor’s degree programs provide students with more in-depth training as well as access to additional opportunities and advanced positions in the human services field. These degrees include classes like Introduction to Human Services, Community Organization and Advocacy, Disability, Society, and the Individual, and Human Services Internship.

Goodwin University’s Human Services degree options prepare students to:

  • Conduct interviews and counseling
  • Perform intakes and assessments
  • Practice with professionally recognized ethics, values, and cultural competencies
  • Provide case management
  • Provide effective advocacy to in-need populations
  • Understand the psychology of individuals and groups

Human service professionals use the concepts they learn in both degree programs to help clients overcome challenges and obstacles in their lives and, in doing so, make a meaningful difference in their community and the world.

What types of careers are available in health and human services?

Health and human services careers are in high demand for skilled, trained, and qualified candidates. Let’s look at what that looks like more specifically by exploring some jobs and careers these graduates pursue.

All salary information reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Careers in health

Healthcare careers are best fit for those wanting to address issues in healthcare and healthcare management as they help people to live longer and healthier lives in jobs like:

  • Dental hygienists ($81,400): Provide preventive dental care and educate patients on oral hygiene
  • EMTs and paramedics ($36,680): Provide emergency medical care in pre-hospital settings
  • Health information technologists ($58,250): Manage patient medical records and ensure the secure flow of health data
  • Occupational health and safety specialists ($78,750): Promote safe working environments and investigate workplace hazards
  • Pharmacy technicians ($37,790): Assist pharmacists with dispensing medication and maintaining patient records
  • Registered nurses ($81,220): Deliver direct patient care, administering medication, monitoring vital signs, and documenting medical history

Careers in human services

If you are passionate about helping others through social services such as crisis interventions, client advocacy, domestic violence cases, and navigating addictions or developmental disabilities, a degree in human services offers those opportunities and more with job opportunities like:

  • Child, family, and school social workers ($47,390): Provide support to children and families facing challenges such as poverty, abuse, and neglect
  • Mental health associates and counselors ($49,710): Offer support and counseling to individuals facing mental health challenges
  • Probation officers ($59,860): Supervise individuals on probation or parole, ensuring they comply with court orders and receive necessary support
  • Rehabilitation counselors ($39,990): Assist individuals with disabilities in achieving vocational and personal goals
  • Social and community service managers ($74,240): Oversee social service programs and provide resources to vulnerable populations

How to launch a career in through career-centric health and human services programs

Pursuing a prospering career in health and human services starts with the right education. The type of degree you pursue will be specific to your interests, aspirations, and goals as a prospective health and human service professional.

At Goodwin University, we offer a variety of programs and resources to help you build a successful career such as our:

All programs at Goodwin University prepare students to achieve great things in their careers with flexible degree plans and scheduling options, affordable education, financial aid opportunities, and comprehensive support services.

A career in health and human services allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of others and our world. Whether you’re drawn to the direct impact of patient care, the advocacy of social work, or the community-building power of public health, this field offers a multitude of fulfilling paths.

Contact us for more information and start your journey at Goodwin University. We’re ready when you are!