Human Services Degrees

The Advantages To Earning A Human Services Degree

Earning a human services degree offers students the ability to increase knowledge and training necessary to assist people of various backgrounds and ages based upon health and human development. Human services degree programs offer students information related to the public and private sectors of the field and specialized knowledge regarding behavioral sciences, psychology, human services policies, the application of human services, management, community organization, and human development. Human services programs offer students knowledge based in sociology, cultural diversity, psychology, child and adult development, social research, and philosophy. A degree in human services provides students the tools they need to understand the theories, practices, and operating principles of public and private service provision.

The increasing demand for colleges and universities to extend instruction beyond campus grounds, to reach students managing work and family obligations, has caused many institutions to develop innovative online programs. Online programs offer students virtually the same educational experience as their traditional, on campus counterparts. Online courses also offer the added advantages of a more personalized degree and increased flexibility in course scheduling. Online courses generally consist of groups of 25 students or less with 24 hour access to course materials and instruction. Online classes also provide students with increased access to instructors and other students through one on one interactions via Internet chats. Many students find online programs are one of the most efficient and affordable means of expanding education necessary to propel personal and professional goals.

What Students Learn Within A Human Services Degree Program

Human services degree programs offer students the skills, knowledge, and instruction necessary to advance to a number of careers within the field. Most human services professionals are required to possess a minimum of an associate degree to qualify for entry level employment in the field though most employers tend to prefer candidates with a bachelor degree.

Many students begin studies within a two year program to gain a basic understanding of the field. Associate level courses generally include: introduction to human services, careers in the helping professions, introduction to psychology, internship in human services, composition and research, intermediate algebra with trigonometry, writing about literature, introduction to philosophy, psychology of personal adjustment, introduction to speech, introduction to computing concepts and applications, introduction to sociology, U.S. government 1900 to present, helping process and crisis intervention, abnormal psychology, human biology, counseling and case management, introduction to sociology, management and administration of human services, death and dying, American national government, social gerontology, and human services practicum. Graduates who complete associate degree programs may advance to entry level employment or continue studies within a higher degree program.

Bachelor degree programs in human services offer students an expanded knowledge of the field and the ability to specialize skills within liberal arts fields. Bachelor level courses include: introduction to human services, introduction to helping skills and process, culturally sensitive human services practice, cultural diversity, crisis intervention, counseling theories and techniques, management and administration in human services, human services internship, chemical dependence: treatment and management, families in crisis, criminal justice, children’s services, psychiatric rehabilitation, community inclusion for people disabilities, serving and surviving in human services, technology and human services, community and organizational change, contemporary policies and issues in serving children, advanced counseling in human services, expressive psychotherapies, residential programs, expressive psychotherapies, residential programs, outdoor recreation as a therapeutic tool, assessment and case management, special populations in human services, legal issues in human services, contemporary issues in human services, advanced crisis intervention, theories and processes of groups, human services internship II, and human services capstone. Graduates who complete bachelor degree programs may advance to employment or complete master’s degree studies.

Master’s degree programs offer students the ability to refine education and qualify for administrative positions within the field. Courses within a master’s program in the discipline of human services administration include: history and foundations of human services systems, sociology of human services, human services ethics and diversity, contemporary issues in human services administration, strategies for human services program planning, human development through the life cycle, human services policy, program evaluation and policy analysis, human services leadership and supervision, administrative decision making in human services agencies, applied research methods in human services, economic foundations of applied accounting and finance, the future of leadership and management, financial modeling, business strategy and planning, project management, leadership and change management, field practicum in human services administration, unleashing and sustaining innovation in organizations, and research practicum: program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Graduates from master’s degree programs may advance to employment or continue studies within doctoral degree programs.

Doctoral degree programs allow students to be considered experts within the field through specialized courses, research, and training. Doctoral level courses include: leading change in human services; epistemology of practice knowledge; advanced study in research methods in public service; quantitative and qualitative research methods; action research methodology; research design and knowledge generation; survey research methods; multivariate statistics; public service leadership; program development and management; strategic planning and organizational effectiveness; critical analysis of historical and philosophical themes of the profession; ethics and decision making in human services; advanced communication skills for human services leader; social and behavioral science: the knowledge base for human services practices with individuals, families, and groups; social and behavioral science: the knowledge base for practice with large target systems: macro human services practice; comparative social work practice models; doctoral comprehensive examination; dissertation courseroom and research. Graduates with doctoral degrees may advance to a number of upper level positions in the field of human services.

Prospective Jobs For Graduates With Human Services Degrees

Graduates who complete studies within human services degree programs gain the skills and knowledge necessary for employment as vital professionals within the health and human services field. Many graduates advance to employment within the public or private sector dependent upon level of education, area/s of specialty, related work experience, and geographic location. Graduates who complete degrees in human services generally advance to a range of employment options in government, educational, mental health, or public policy organizations. Graduates who complete associates degrees often work within entry level positions as drug and alcohol intake assistants, medical assistants, assistant social workers, outreach workers, case management assistants, mental health technicians, life skills instructors, or as assistants in literacy volunteer programs.

Graduates with bachelor degrees often advance to employment as addiction or mental health counselors, child welfare specialists, family services advocates, social workers, health care assistants, correctional treatment specialists, legal mediators, career counselors, disability specialists, or program coordinators. Graduates who complete master’s degree programs often gain employment within specialized or administrative positions as drug and alcohol treatment therapists, child services managers, community outreach administrators, human services managers, human services program implementation specialists, human services researchers, counseling services administrators, community counselors, human services counselors, or with additional training, school district administrators .

Salary Range For Human Services Degree Graduates

Human services graduates have varied earnings based upon factors like: level of education, area of specialty, related work experience, organization of employment, and geographic location. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports earnings for social and human services assistants range from $21,860 to $34,590 annually. As with most occupations, graduates who continue education, specialize training, and gain work experience often have higher earnings than graduates with less education, training, and experience. Additionally, graduates who work within state or local government agencies, educational settings, and drug and alcohol treatment facilities often have higher salaries than those who work in private or residential facilities. Associate degree graduates who work as substance abuse treatment assistants earn $24,290 to $39,490 annually. Graduates with bachelor degrees who work as child, school, or family social workers generally earn $31,040 to $52,080 annually. Graduates employed as health educators upon earning their master’s degree have earnings ranging from $33,170 to $60,810 annually. Graduates with doctoral degrees who work as administrators of community outreach programs earn $62,170 to $104,120 annually.

Career Outlook And Advancement Opportunities For Human Services Degree Graduates

Human services programs offer graduates the training and knowledge necessary to perform a variety of jobs within the field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports job growth in the field of human services will increase by 23% through 2018 at a much faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations. Factors like an aging population, geographic location, and increased demand for mental health professionals as well as drug, alcohol, and substance abuse treatment professionals will increase the demand for social and human services workers. Additionally, job growth within private social service agencies is expected to increase as many state and local governments contract services from private organizations to reduce budgets and cut expenditures.

Graduates who specialize training in child services, substance abuse treatment, elderly care and gerontology, criminal justice, organizational management, health services administration, and medical or public health, often find increased employability. Additionally, graduates will find increase job opportunities in rural areas. Most graduates with associate’s or bachelor degrees gain employment within entry level positions and advance to positions with less supervision, greater responsibility, and higher salaries upon meeting educational requirements, adequate licensing, and acquiring work experience. Most non profit organizations, government agencies, and private companies require candidates to complete studies within master’s degree programs and gain work experience to advance to administrative or specialized positions. Many graduates with master’s or doctoral degrees begin employment as program managers, administrators, or supervisors of pubic, private, or non profit human services organizations or social services programs. Many advance to positions as directors or leave the field to work as instructors within colleges and universities upon gaining necessary work experience and additional education, specialization, or licensing.

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