Do you enjoy working with people and have a strong desire to help others? Have you done community service work in the past? Do you feel fulfillment in lending your services to people in need?
Helping those who are at-risk or in need – homeless, abused, ill – lies at the core of human services work. If your mission is to protect and encourage the well-being of others, a career in human services may be the right path for you.
As a leading career college, we often hear many prospective students ask about the career options available upon completing a human services degree. The truth is, there is no one straight answer. Human services is, in a way, an all-encompassing field. There are hundreds of different positions you can fill with an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in human services, many diverse demographics you can work with, and a substantial amount of specialties you can pursue. For example, you can work with families in the foster care department of a government agency. You can work alongside the police department to assist with domestic violence cases. Or, you can work in a substance abuse hospital, helping addicts get on a path towards recovery.
Whether you want to work in a nursing home or high school, a hospital or homeless shelter, the career options for human services majors are endless. And with an increasing demand for human services workers, there is no doubt that this field is one brimming with opportunity.
Let’s take a closer look at five rewarding careers you can pursue with a human services degree.
1. Child Protective Services Specialist
Child protective specialists’ work revolves around child welfare. These professionals ensure the safety and well-being of children living in households where abuse or neglect may be present. They respond directly to incidences of child abuse and can be employed by local or state Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies. A specific type of social worker, child protective services specialists use a combination of social work and investigatory skills to communicate with children and their families. If you choose to pursue this career path, you will likely counsel families with poor parenting practices, identify resources for struggling families, and remove endangered children from their homes for the sake of a better life.
2. Community Outreach Worker
Community outreach workers are administrative professionals who coordinate educational, health, social, youth, training and other types of programs or services for the communities in which they work. These individuals work directly with people in the community who otherwise would not have access to their services. In essence, community outreach workers strengthen communities by linking them with the health and social services they need. These workers also help build relationships between groups within that community.
If you choose to become a community outreach worker, you will plan, develop, and coordinate events for fundraising and support. You may organize workshops and programs for volunteers or work with external organizations to provide the health and care your clients demand.
3. Gerontology Aide
Gerontology or geriatric aides are professionals who provide social services and care to the elderly. They work directly with elder clients to assist with day-to-day tasks. Gerontology aides ensure the comfort and capacity of aging individuals who are not able to fulfill their daily routines on their own. This may entail grocery shopping for a client, preparing meals for them, or completing household chores. Most gerontology aides work in the private homes of their clients, while some may provide services in hospitals, retirement communities, group homes, or non-profit facilities.
4. Life Skills Counselor
Life skills counselors, sometimes known as “life coaches,” helps other people find success in their private and professional lives. These counselors guide clients in discovering and establishing their goals in life. Often, this includes helping them to eliminate obstacles that stand in their way, sort through their ideas and ambitions, and determine the realistic steps needed to get where they need to go.
Life skills counselors also work with clients who are unable to manage everyday tasks on their own. If you choose to become a life skills counselor with your human services education, prepare for a diversity of clients. You may work with people with mental health issues, behavioral problems, disabilities, or homeless people who do not yet have the skillset needed to further their lives. In this career, you will be the person who helps them learn to get back on their feet and back on the path towards a normal life.
5. Rehabilitation or Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counselors and rehabilitation specialists are professionals who provide prevention education and treatment services to those battling drug or alcohol abuse. If you choose a career in substance abuse, you will have the option to work in a variety of healthcare environments, such as hospitals, clinics, and residential treatment centers. In this position, you will develop rehabilitation plans for your patients and monitor their progress. You will educate your clients on their treatment plan as well as services available to them and their families.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.