If you’ve got an undergraduate degree in human services, sociology, psychology, or criminal justice and you want to make an even greater impact on society, a Master of Science in Counseling and Human Services is your stepping stone to higher-level leadership roles and a broader outreach.
Most people who pursue human services careers are driven by a desire to help others. An advanced degree not only qualifies you for some of the more in-demand positions our increasingly complex society necessitates, it helps you refine and deepen your skills so that you’re an even more effective advocate in your chosen field. While it’s rewarding and essential, human services is still a challenging field.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros.
Pro – The human services field is enormous, made up of numerous possible professions and functions.
The career field is wide open for a professional with a graduate degree in counseling and human services. The National Organization for Human Services explains:
“‘Human services professional’ is a generic term for people who hold professional and paraprofessional jobs in such diverse settings as group homes and halfway houses; correctional, intellectual disability, and community mental health centers; family, child, and youth service agencies, and programs concerned with alcoholism, drug abuse, family violence, and aging.”
Depending on specializations and licensure requirements, they can serve one-on-one as counselors or develop programs that help entire groups of people.
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Pro – You can tailor your interests to your career.
While you’ll share the common mission of all those who work in this field of improving the lives of individuals and communities, it’s possible to develop a concentration in an area that you feel especially passionate about.
Concentrations in Alcohol and Drug Counseling or in Clinical Mental Health Counseling could prepare you for licensure and counseling positions helping elderly, teens, minorities, the incarcerated, or people with intellectual disabilities. Other concentrations, such as one in nonprofit management, can prepare you for leadership positions in social work.
Pro – You bring all of your best traits and skills to work with you.
Your enduring desire to help others paired with your patient, understanding, and caring temperament lets you shine in a counseling or human services role.
In nonprofit management or even in a corporate role, your strong sense of responsibility, ability to find adequate resources, and knack for cutting through red tape to get your clients the help they need are assets that make you invaluable to employers. You’re a clear and effective communicator, and a top-notch researcher.
Pro – You never stop learning.
In an interview with Public Health Online, Jana Davis, BSW, MSW, LCSW, and current life coach noted:
“Education in this field never stops. When your line of work is people, knowledge will never be completed. I have a BSW and MSW. It was the beginning . . . As years went by post grad, I have learned a plethora of therapies. All LCSWs do. Not only do we require ongoing education credits to keep our license, but we also want to learn more ways to serve our clients.”
Pro – You can help make a big impact on a micro level.
If working on a small scale to benefit your own community is important to you, there are hundreds of ways to get involved and bring your unique vision to fruition locally—whether that’s as part of a social program or providing counseling services at a neighborhood halfway house.
Pro – There is no such thing as “a typical day” in human services work.
Because you’re working with individuals, families, or groups of people, you enjoy constant variety in personalities and daily tasks. You might be working with people challenged with physical, emotional, or financial problems in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, prisons, or community settings.
Pro – The job outlook is great for this field with expectations of rapid growth.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the following four professions will be especially in demand:
- Social Workers
Overall employment is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. “Employment growth will be driven by increased demand for health care and social services, but will vary by specialization,” explains the BLS.
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Employment is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026 as people continue to seek addiction and mental health counseling. This growth can also be attributed to states’ criminal justice systems requiring drug offenders to receive treatment and counseling instead of jail time as part of their sentences.
- Marriage and Family Therapists Employment is projected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026 due to the increasing use of integrated care.
- Community Health Workers and Health Educators
BLS projects a growth rate of 16 percent from 2016 to 2026 and notes it will be driven by efforts to “improve health outcomes and to reduce health care costs by teaching people healthy behaviors and explaining how to use available health care services.”
Pro – It’s incredibly rewarding to see your clients thrive and turn their lives around.
In her interview with Public Health Online, Davis said: “If you have a true calling for this, your life will be enriched on a spiritual level . . . you will see clients wake from depression, complete their goals, repair their relationships, heal the inner wounds of trauma and more . . . To bear witness to their pain and their progress is nothing short of that.”
Pro – Many schools offer 100 percent online human services master’s programs.
A totally online program provides a high amount of flexibility for adult students who are currently also working professionals. “Web-based programs typically follow the same rigorous curricula as brick-and-mortar options, leading to similar advancement opportunities for graduates,” notes U.S. News & World Report. The online format is also perfect for students with children and other family obligations.
Post University offers a 100 percent online Master of Science in Counseling and Human Services program to help you fulfill your potential in this vital field. We provide a practical and meaningful learning experience through an engaging online community that encourages critical thinking and real-world application of theory. Each course is taught by a professional faculty member, who brings years of expertise and leadership in the human services field into the virtual classroom.