What is Human Services?

Human services is a broad and incredibly important field. It can be seen at work, touching lives, in public aligns as well as private environs and elsewhere. So, what exactly is the field of human services, and what does it do to help people? Read on for the scoop.

Basic Definition

Per the National Organization for Human Services: "The field of Human Services is broadly defined, uniquely approaching the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations." In other words, human services is a vast field of professions all working together to help people and communities in a variety of ways. In the following sections, we'll cover the specific roles of this industry in two parts: public application and private application.

Public Applications

The majority of human services applications take place in the public forum. "Public" here means that, generally, anyone can attain services simply by being a member of the greater community. In most cases, a central human services, or social services office, will handle most needs within a community or act as a conduit point for people to gain further access to those who can help with a particular situation.

So, what are some of the services and forms of assistance offered to people in the community through these public applications of human services? There are many, but a few of the better known examples include:

  • Elderly and Aging Services
  • Access to Medicine
  • Shelter Assistance
  • Assistance with Crimes and Abuse
  • Child Welfare Services
  • Food and Clothing Assistance
  • General Guidance and Life Planning Help
  • Insurance Assistance
  • Language Barrier Assistance
  • Community Integration Programs
  • Community Improvement Programs
  • Community Events

Private Applications

While most human services truly do take place in the public forum, there are still some instances of its important role in the private sector as well. "Private sector" here refers to those in a specific, private role or relationship not open to the general public. Those in this area work for private companies and organizations or simply seek services in the capacity of a private individual. Regardless of the person or organization of affiliation, however, the services offered in the private sector ultimately mirror those offered in the public sector.

Associated Jobs, Education, Skills

Working in the human services field does generally require some specific areas of knowledge or skills. Tops among these important skillsets are communication, organization, planning, and resourcefulness. While many of these skills are sort of self-realized with experience, many of them are also sharpened considerably via training and/or education.

As such, many working in this field are required to have an associate's or bachelor's degree at the very least. The most commonly accepted majors within these merits are human services, social services, public health, and psychology. Business administration and advocacy and social justice graduates are also frequently accepted depending on the specific role of hire.

As to the jobs found in this vast sector, there really are many to choose from. These range from medically-focused to strictly administrative in nature. A handful of those commonly found here include:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Office Manager
  • Human Resources Officer
  • Director of Services
  • Doctor
  • Attorney
  • Drug Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Family Therapist
  • Child Advocate
  • Translator
  • Accessibility Specialist
  • Case Worker, Social Worker

Related Resource: The 25 Best Bachelors in Human Services Online

In conclusion, this wide field helps countless people with any number of special needs, each and every day. Because of its wide utility in the community and further, there are also countless careers, educational services, laws, and more that are affected by this sector and its operations.