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Do you describe yourself as a passionate social advocate or a proponent of social justice? Then you may want to consider a human services degree program. The human service field focuses on studying human behavior, societal norms, and social change, and most professionals in this industry work to enact reform and improve the quality of life for the people in their communities.

What Is a Human Services Degree?

The human services degree is an interdisciplinary program often focused on social structures and how people in a given community interact with and benefit from those structures. Students who are enrolled as a human services major may explore the concepts of crisis intervention techniques, ethical decision-making, human development, interpersonal dynamics, and social justice reform.

Breaking Down the Human Services Degree

A human services degree program typically adopts an industry-focused approach within the interdisciplinary field of human services. Through such programs, students can cultivate practical skills enabling them to:

  • Gather data and analyze trends relevant to the human services field.
  • Recognize and address challenges affecting communities and individuals.
  • Formulate strategies to tackle issues of marginalization.
  • Deliver targeted services to various populations, mitigating biases, enhancing accessibility, and advocating for marginalized groups.

The Scope of a Human Services Degree

The scope of a human services degree program may vary depending on the chosen specialization or concentration. Institutions often provide students with opportunities to tailor their bachelor’s degree in human services by opting for one of several concentrations, such as:

  • Child and Family Studies
  • Counseling
  • Criminal Justice
  • Diversity, Social Justice, and Multicultural Practice

Why Pursue a Human Services Degree?

Pursuing a human services degree could allow you to combine your passion for serving others and improving your community with the practical skills needed for this field. Students often choose to major in human services because they are aware of the impact of social structures on a community, want to make a difference in their communities, and want to serve a population in a direct and impactful way.

The Importance of Human Services in Society

The field of human services studies the structure of society in depth and works to ensure everyone within a community has access to the resources they need. In a world that is working to become more inclusive and diverse, human services is increasingly critical. Within this field, professionals often work to identify marginalized populations, improve the socioeconomic health of a community, and ensure all people may enjoy a productive, high-quality life.

Potential Impact of Human Services Professionals

Human services professionals have a significant impact on society. Depending on your concentration and the skills you develop throughout your degree program, you may have an opportunity to:

  • Improve the quality of life for senior citizens in your community by advocating for elder care.
  • Create more efficient organizations and programs that address the needs of marginalized populations within your community.
  • Provide access to information about mental health and substance abuse resources, ensuring everyone in the community may get the care and support they need.

Career Opportunities With a Human Services Degree

As you work toward earning your human services degree, you could develop both the practical skills and soft skills required to work in the field. There is a diverse range of career opportunities within the human services industry, and students who pursue this degree may select a concentration that aligns with their interests and goals.

Job Roles in Human Services

Below are some job roles available in the human services field:

  • Substance abuse counselor – Substance abuse counselors are professionals who work with individuals suffering from addiction or substance abuse disorders or families affected by substance abuse disorders.
  • Mental health counselor – A mental health counselor works with clients suffering from mental health disorders, generally helping them develop coping mechanisms that allow them to live a healthier, more fulfilling life.
  • Community health professional – A community health professional typically works in the field of public health, supporting and advocating for communities that need improved access to healthcare resources.
  • Case manager – Case managers work directly with clients who need access to specialized services. A case manager may specialize in a particular area, such as elder care, child welfare, or healthcare.
  • Community outreach specialist – A community outreach specialist creates and implements programs that promote both physical health and emotional well-being.
  • Crisis intervention specialist – A crisis intervention specialist works with clients experiencing exceptionally difficult times, often helping them access the emergency services or resources they need.

Skills Needed for a Human Services Career

Students pursuing a degree in human services may find that the curriculum allows them to develop both the technical skills and soft skills needed in this field.

Essential Soft Skills for Human Services Professionals

Soft skills play a critical role in the human services realm, with professionals having to work directly with marginalized populations and people in crisis. Essential soft skills for human services workers include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Cultural awareness

Technical Skills Required in Human Services

Technical skills allow human services professionals to successfully develop and implement effective programming and provide impactful services to their clients. Some of the technical skills required in human services include:

  • Counseling techniques
  • Case management skills
  • Crisis intervention skills
  • Ethical decision-making

Choosing the Right Human Services Program

Choosing the right human services degree program could help you develop the specific skills you need to pursue your goals. As an interdisciplinary field, you may find some variances between human services degree programs, so it is important to select one that offers the concentrations or specializations you prefer.

Key Factors to Consider

Key factors to consider when choosing a human services degree program include:

  • The scope of the program’s curriculum
  • The available concentrations or specializations
  • The delivery of the program and whether it is offered online
  • The cost of the program
  • The amount of time it will take to complete the program

The Different Levels of Human Services Degrees

A human services degree may be attained at both the undergraduate and graduate levels:

Associate Degree in Human Services

An associate degree in human services is a two-year degree program that may provide students with an introduction to the skills required within this field.

Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services

bachelor’s degree in human services is a four-year undergraduate degree program that gives students a comprehensive overview of the industry. Post University’s bachelor’s degree program focuses on developing the core competencies required in the field—such as case management strategies, crisis intervention techniques, and social justice through counseling.

The Transition From Student to Human Services Professional

After studying advanced topics and earning their degree, graduates must begin the transition from student to professional.

Preparing for the Workforce

By selecting a human services degree program with a skill-focused curriculum, graduates may feel better prepared to enter the workforce. However, students also may focus on career development as they pursue their degree by working closely with a mentor, seeking out internship opportunities in the industry, and joining organizations that help build their professional network.

What Does the Future Hold for Human Services Graduates?

In a society that is becoming increasingly aware of the needs of all people, there is a real call for informed and skilled human services graduates. By opting for a degree program that allows you to choose a concentration aligned with your personal goals, you could be well-equipped for this field.

Earn Your Human Services Degree at Post University

At Post University, we offer a Bachelor of Science in Human Services, allowing you to select a degree program that aligns with your interest and skill level. Both human services degree programs focus on skill development, so you have an opportunity to develop the foundation needed to enter this dynamic field.

Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!

Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s programs and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.