Five Great Careers in Human Services
- Case Manager
- Substance Abuse Counselor
- Youth Worker
- Gerontology Careers
- Child Protective Services
The most popular careers in human services don't change from year to year. This means your degree will be just as useful ten years in the future as it is right after graduation. If you want to help others improve their life through proven techniques, human services is the field for you. You'll combine social sciences like psychology and sociology with professional skills like organization, case management and writing. Here are five of the most common jobs you'll encounter as a human services graduate.
One of the most popular jobs for human services graduates is case manager. This role doesn't require a license or a bachelor's of social work (BSW), but it offers the chance to make a difference. You might work at an HIV/AIDS clinic, homeless shelter or school. You'll offer whatever support clients need, from a shoulder to lean in to assistance filling out Section 8 paperwork. You'll focus on the administrative side of helping clients keep their lives together. This is a great role if you're compassionate, organized and patient.
Substance Abuse Counselor
A degree in human services doesn't make you a licensed counselor, but you can still work in the drug and alcohol treatment field. You might start off as a case manager or assistant counselor. Common job duties are providing one-on-one guidance to clients, scheduling and facilitating support group meetings and community outreach. If you enjoy the job, you can earn a master's degree in social work (MSW) and become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). This will let you offer official therapy services to clients.
If you love teenagers or children, you can pursue a full-time career in youth services. With a bachelor's degree in human services, you'll be eligible for a management position. Common job titles include Club Director, Youth Fitness Specialist and Program Manager. You might work for a non-profit like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America or a government department. These roles often offer significant unpaid time off during the school year, which may be a benefit or a con, depending on your needs. Expect for your schedule to change between summer and school-year periods.
With advances in medical science, more Americans than ever are enjoying lengthy retirements. This means gerentology, or the study of the elderly, is a rapidly growing human services field. In this path, you might find yourself working in administration at a nursing home, creating health and wellness programs for baby boomers or serving as a geriatric case manager. You'll need patience and creativity to succeed in this field. Look for human services degree programs that offer a concentration or certification in gerontology or a related field.
Child Protective Services (CPS)
It's not the most popular job in the public consciousness, but working for your local Department of Child Services is an excellent entry-level human services job. You'll investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, connect families to community resources and testify in legal cases. As a government employee, you'll have a steady paycheck, great benefits and a clear career ladder. Some understaffed programs might offer tuition assistance, and you'll also qualify for income-based student loan repayment and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Forbes has a detailed article on how these programs work. Few people have the emotional resilience for this type of work, but those who do can't see themselves in any other position.
Related Resource: The 25 Best Bachelors in Human Services Online
Where will you work when you finish school? The most popular careers in human services are found in government offices and non-profit organizations.