“Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Have you always imagined yourself in a career that involves helping others? Are you a caring, patient, and compassionate person? If you have always been drawn to helping those in need, and you believe it is important to serve your community in your future, you may be meant to pursue the human services field. Those who complete a human services major in college can go onto fulfill impactful careers helping those suffering from inequity, disability, trauma, violence, socioeconomic challenges, and more.
The human services field is one that is growing. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment of social and human service assistants to grow 17% by the year 2030 – which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations. A 12% increase is expected for social workers, as well. More than 137,000 openings for these professions are expected to be added, on average, each year, for the next several years ahead.
Many of these openings are projected as a result from the need to replace workers who switch occupations or retire. In addition to the transfers and retirees leaving the field, the baby boomers are aging, and so the growing elderly population in the United States is developing greater health-related needs.
The future is bright for anyone interested in a human services major. Still you may be asking, what does a human services program entail? What can you do with this major once you graduate? Read on, as we break down the human services major description and why you may want to consider this path for future success.
What is “human services,” exactly?
Human services is a broad term rooted in the movement of helping others. It covers:
- Helping people meet their basic needs
- Preventing and solving problems as they arise
- Improving overall quality of life for others
The mission of the human services worker is to extend support to others – individuals, families, or communities – who are struggling, and to help them renew their ability to function properly in society once again.
Many professionals who set out for a career in human services feel called to help the homeless, the abused, the ill, and the disabled. If you are passionate about protecting and advocating for the well-being of others, the human services major is perfect for you.
What does a human services major entail?
While helping others may sound simple enough, there are many lessons to be learned – and skills to be acquired – before jumping into this field of work. A degree in human services can prepare you for what’s ahead. There are two paths one can take to kick off a career in human services: an associate degree and bachelor’s degree in human services.
With an associate degree in human services, you can gain the fundamentals needed to fulfill careers in case management, counseling, corrections, youth services, job coaching, and more. At Goodwin, associate degree students take on career-focused classes such as:
- Community Organization and Advocacy
- Foundations of Helping and Service Delivery
- Disability, Society, and the Individual
- Research in Human Services
A bachelor’s degree in human services expands upon these topics, and delves deeper into the field. You will gain the knowledge needed to assist people from all walks of life and those of all ages – from infants to seniors. In addition to the above, the curriculum includes courses like:
- Case Management: Principles and Practices
- Social Welfare Policy
- Crisis Prevention and Intervention
- Cross-Cultural Psychology
- Human Trafficking
- Research Methods
- And more!
The courses taught in a human services major, regardless of degree level, prepare students who want to make a positive impact on their community by providing them with the tools needed for success. Once you have successfully completed a program like this, you will be able to design personal intervention plans and programs that fit a person’s individual needs, evaluate information resources to best serve the community, and communicate ethically, responsibly, and effectively when working with others.
Some of the skills gained in a human services program include, but are not limited to:
What career options are there for a human services major?
Since many of the skills above are versatile soft skills, you may wonder what you can actually do with a human services degree. There are hundreds of choices when it comes to a career in this impactful field. There is also a wide range of roles and job settings to choose from, depending on your interests and career goals.
For example, if you have a passion for helping families and children in the foster care system, you may go on to work for the child welfare department of a government agency. If you have a passion for helping victims of abuse, you may choose to work alongside your local police department to assist with domestic violence cases. If you want to help those struggling with alcoholism or addiction, you may work in a substance abuse hospital or rehabilitation facility, helping people get on a path towards recovery.
Many graduates at Goodwin University go on to pursue the following roles:
- Case manager
- Corrections counselor
- Crisis advocate
- Job coach
- Probation officer
- Rehabilitation specialist
- Social service specialist
- Youth Worker
Flexibility to Pursue Your Goals
You may be ready to pursue a human services major, but are unsure about how to get started. Earning a degree can be challenging – especially when you are trying to maintain a job, family responsibilities, and personal interests. Goodwin University understands the need for flexibility, which is why there is convenience built into the human services degree programs. Classes are offered days and evenings. The majority of human services classes are available on-campus, while some are available online. Many students choose to follow a hybrid mix of in-person and online courses. The school offers 6 class starts each year, so you can apply at any time and the classes you need are available.
Whether you want to help homeless veterans, help guide troubled teens, or rehabilitate prisoners, the career options for human services majors are endless. This growing field needs well-qualified, compassionate professionals like you to step in.
Are you ready to jumpstart a major in human services? Learn even more about the program at Goodwin University by calling 800-889-3282 or visit us online to request more information.
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.