Human services is a growing field, with the number of workers serving in social service occupations expected to increase 14 percent by the year 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Considering that the average growth for all occupations combined is only 7 percent, that makes this a great degree to earn as it means that there will be plenty of positions available for years to come.
But another positive aspect of earning a bachelor's degree in human services is that you can work in a wide variety of settings, enabling you to choose a path most suited to your interests and most satisfying to your heart. Not sure what those are? Here are a few of the top human services career tracks to consider.
The National Association of Social Workers explains that a social worker's number one goal is to "enhance human well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty." In other words, if you choose to become a social worker, you will have a career focused on helping clients find ways to improve their living situations so they can lead better and more fulfilling lives.
Family services advocate
Human services majors can also become family services advocates, a role that entails working with children and families who are going through difficult times. In some cases, this position may also involve helping parents learn how to best guide their children. The median salary for a family advocate is $33,387 per year, according to PayScale.
Child welfare specialist
Another role that involves working with children in tough situations is that of a child welfare specialist. This job title typically involves working with governmental agencies assigned with the task of protecting the welfare of children, sometimes requiring removing them from the home, whether temporarily or permanently.
If your interests lie in the healthcare field, you can use your human services degree to become a healthcare assistant. Many employers offer on-the-job training for various aspects of this type of career that are not always taught in typical human services classes—such as taking vital signs and giving injections—according to the BLS. Professionals who are analytical and detail oriented often do best in this particular role, as do those with good interpersonal and technical skills.
Would you like to help others figure out what type of careers would satisfy them to the core? You can do that with a human services degree if you choose to become a career counselor. Being the best career counselor you can be involves asking clients open-ended questions (versus sharing your opinion) and listening more than you speak, according to the National Career Development Association. It also requires giving those who come to you for help a safe space to explore their options and, if they need more help than you can give, not being afraid to refer them out.
Geriatric case manager
In March 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that, by the year 2030, one in five Americans will be old enough to retire. So, if you feel compelled to work with this older generation, connecting them to area resources (whether medical, financial, or in any other area), your human services bachelor's degree qualifies you to fill this role as a geriatric case manager.
Behavioral management aide
Sometimes it isn't so much a person's situation that is preventing him or her from achieving more in life as it is their chosen behaviors. This is especially true for children who lack the experience necessary to understand how their actions impact their lives. However, you can help change this as a behavioral management aide by working with clients to determine which behaviors are potentially dysfunctional, and then creating a plan to help them change them so they can live a better life.
Community outreach worker
If you have a heart for nonprofits or governmental programs designed to help others and want to work with them to 'get the word out,' becoming a community outreach worker may be the perfect role for you. In this type of position, you spend your days educating the community about the organization and its mission. Career Trend adds that, as an outreach worker, you may also be tasked with keeping data to determine how well an agency's programs work or asked to act as an advocate for individuals the organization serves.
As a rehabilitation caseworker, your primary duty is to help individuals overcome whatever obstacles are preventing them from enjoying independent living. This may include working with addicts to hone their life management skills as they battle drugs or alcohol, or it could involve helping someone take the steps necessary to return home after suffering a major injury, such as after having a car accident.
Human services majors can also work in the criminal justice field as a probation officer. The BLS explains that probation officers work with people convicted of crimes to determine their rehabilitation needs and connect them with area resources. You may also work with the court to ensure that your probationers are taking the steps necessary to live their lives on the right side of the law. Median pay for this position is $51,410 per year.
Domestic violence counselor
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that, every 60 seconds, approximately 20 Americans are abused by their partners. If you want to take an active role in trying to lower this number, working as a domestic violence counselor is an option to consider. In this role, you work with victims to help them better understand and cope with their individual situations. In some cases, you may also walk them through the legal system or work to connect them with area resources if they decide to leave their abuser.
With a human services degree, you can work in a number of different settings serving a variety of people. Now the only question you have to ask yourself is what setting and population is best suited for you. Once you determine this, you'll know which path is yours.
A Bachelor's in Human Services from Saint Leo
If you are seriously considering a bachelor's in human services from Saint Leo, this program can prepare you for a rewarding career in one of the above areas.