What Are Some Career Options in the Field of Human Services?

Many jobs in social services and counseling fall under the heading of human services. Read on to discover some human services careers and their requirements, salaries, and expected growth. Schools offering Human Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is Human Services?

Human services is a field of work that exists to provide assistance for people and to improve the overall quality of life for society. There are many types of human services jobs, and most of them typically involve working with specific populations in need, such as the homeless, mentally ill, or neglected children.

Human Service Career List: Descriptions, Requirements, and Salaries

It is possible to break into human services jobs without degrees. Depending on what an individual wants to do, however, there are many jobs that require a bachelor's or even a master's degree. Below are some human services careers with job descriptions, education requirements, and salaries.

Social Workers

Social workers are individuals who help people and communities with certain needs. There are different types of social workers, such as:

  • Clinical
  • Child and Family
  • School
  • Healthcare
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The job duties will differ depending on what type of social work an individual pursues. For example, child and family social workers help families in need of food or housing assistance, or they may find new homes for neglected or abused children. Healthcare social workers help people with illnesses readjust to life after being diagnosed or hospitalized.

Overall, social workers assist people in difficult situations and advocate for services that will help them. Social workers need at least a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field and a license, depending on the state. Clinical social workers need a master's degree in social work and a license to practice.

Social and Human Service Assistants

Like social workers, social and human service assistants can work in different specialties with different populations. They work under the supervision of social workers, psychologists, and other professionals in the field. These assistants research and coordinate services that will help clients.

They also help the clients apply for these services and other benefits, call clients to follow up with their treatment plans and ensure their needs are being met adequately. They can work with many populations, such as immigrants, the elderly, and children. Social and human service assistants need at least a high school diploma or equivalent and will usually receive on-the-job training.

Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation counselors provide individual and group counseling to people with mental, emotional, physical, or developmental disabilities. They work with these people with the goal of getting them to live as independently as possible. They evaluate their clients' abilities, skills, experiences, and interests to provide them with services such as career training or medical care.

Additionally, they advocate for the understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities to avoid discrimination by employers and lawmakers. Rehabilitation counselors usually need a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling and a license to practice.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists provide social services to criminal offenders or ex-convicts to assist them in readjusting to life outside prison and making sure they obey their parole conditions. There are several types of these professionals such as:

  • Probation Officers
  • Parole Officers
  • Pretrial Services Officers
  • Correctional Treatment Specialists

These professionals may supervise and guide people on probation to make sure they're not a danger or help parolees with finding housing and jobs. They may also determine if a defendant is safe enough to be allowed into society before their trial or plan rehabilitation and education programs for inmates and parolees alike. To specialize, an individual can become a juvenile probation officer if they wish to work with young offenders.

Addiction Counselors

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, otherwise known as addiction counselors, work with individuals and groups to guide them in finding healthy coping mechanisms for stressors that trigger their addiction or disordered behavior. They may use 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and help clients rebuild their professional lives and personal relationships. Addiction counselors need at least a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field and a license for private practice, although requirements vary by state.

Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counselors give treatment to individuals, groups, couples, and families to help them cope with mental illnesses and stressful situations. They may deal with clients who have anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem, or are going through grief. They can also help with emotional issues and relationship problems and may work with specific populations such as college students. Becoming a mental health counselor usually requires a master's degree in mental health counseling or a related field and a license to practice.

Job Type Education/Additional Requirements Average Salary (2018) Job Outlook (2018-2028)*
Social Workers Bachelor's or master's degree in social work, state license $49,470* 11%
Social and Human Services Assistants High school diploma/equivalent, on-the-job training $33,750* 13%
Rehabilitation Counselors Master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or related field, license (varies by position and state) $35,630* 10%
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists Bachelor's degree in criminal justice or related field, training, certification test (varies by jurisdiction) $53,020* 3%
Addiction Counselors Bachelor's or master's degree in psychology or related field, state license for private practice $40,037** (2019) 22% (for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors)
Mental Health Counselors Master's degree in mental health counseling or related field, license for private practice $41,264** (2019) 22% (for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors)

Sources: *Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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