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Human Services Degree Offers Healthcare-Related Career Options


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What is human services? Human services encompasses a variety of fields, including some healthcare professions. Is a degree in human services a good option for you? Will you be able to obtain a stable career with a degree in human services? About.com Health Careers consulted with Julie Riley, Academic Department Chair at Kaplan University's College of Human Services to learn more about this interesting, versatile, and growing field of study.

What is Human Services? Brief Overview:

Riley: Often working with government agencies and not for profit organizations, a human services professional helps those in need in a variety of ways ranging from emotional support to providing research and information to help secure necessary resources.

Kaplan is not the first or only university with a program in human services, as there are several others across the country offering degrees at the Associate, Bachelor, and Masters level. Kaplan offers Human Services degrees at the Associate and Bachelor levels.

Careers and Settings for Which Human Services Prepares Students:

Riley: Human services degrees prepare graduates for many different careers, and from state to state and even county to county, job roles can vary. Some examples include patient advocates, social services case managers, intake specialists, court advocates, family advocates, elder advocates, eligibility specialists and grant writers.

Coursework and Curriculum for Human Services Degree:

Riley: At Kaplan, we follow the guidelines of the Council for Standards in Human Service Education and require courses that allow our students to gain the knowledge, theory, skills and values related to working in the field of human services. Examples of courses offered at Kaplan include: Applied Skills in Human Services, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Case Management, Crisis Prevention and Intervention, Advocacy for Children and Families, Social Policy, Social Problems, Social and Healthcare Issues in Aging.

Ideal Candidates for a Degree (and Career) in Human Services::

Riley: The best human service professional is someone that enjoys helping others. Being resourceful, creative, empathetic and a strong communicator are also important traits that will help an individual succeed in the field and solve problems for clients.

Advantages of a Career in the Human Services Sector:

Many human service professionals report that helping others is the most rewarding aspect of their work in the field. In addition, the human services arena is filled with opportunities for future professionals to guide their own career path through working and creating their own not for profit agencies. This field allows a professional to be creative and work toward a path that allows them personal satisfaction and the flexibility to create new programs and support for those in need. Finally, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the likelihood of growth in terms of career opportunities in human services is great.

Additional Information about Human Services:

Riley states that there is "tremendous opportunity across the field" of human services "in a variety of areas." For additional information, she encourages interested prospects to visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics .pdf document regarding human services studies.

Although human services is a relatively new field, graduates can be confident that their degree will not only be recognized, but needed by many employers in the non-profit, healthcare, and government settings. "Many industries that touch or are within the governmental and non for profit sector will be familiar with a human services degree, as these organizations often refer to human services professionals," Riley concludes.

If you are interested in a degree in human services, you may also be interested in a profession in case management or in social work, which is a related field of education.

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