A growing field within the health-related sector, "human services" is a career term encompassing a wide spectrum of job titles. At the completion of one to two years of study, individuals work as professionals in fields such as nursing, social work, mental health, counseling, rehabilitation, and gerontology. With additional education and certification, the technical or paraprofessional assistant may become a professional in a human services field and become involved in community and social planning.
Both direct and indirect services are provided for clients, individuals in need, and families in crisis. In this field, a strong desire to help others and to maximize their individual potential are valued characteristics to possess. You will learn about the many and varied roles of human service workers as well as the options available to them, such as community practicums of clinical field experience to further enlighten the possibilities for intervention.
Human services personnel work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, group homes, shelters, day programs, and offices. They also make home visits to check on clients and to confirm that the appropriate services are being administered. The number of employment opportunities available to skilled health care professionals is projected to increase significantly as compared with previous years (77 percent from 2000 to 2010*), because of high demand for social and human services--a need driven by a growing elderly population and a wider array of services available. Human service workers will also continue to be highly valued for their expertise in providing services to pregnant teenagers, the homeless, individuals with substance abuse problems, and the mentally and physically challenged.
Graduates may transfer to four-year institutions in such fields as counseling, social work, social welfare, mental health technology, gerontology, and human services. While a bachelor’s degree may not be required for entry into this occupation, employers often seek individuals with relevant work experience or education beyond high school. Formal education is usually required for advancement. It is recommended that students communicate early with both their Howard Community College advisors and the four-year transfer institutions to facilitate transfer of credits.