What Can I Do With a Human Services Degree

Social Services / Non-Profit

Areas

  • Administration and Planning
  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Program Evaluation
  • Policy Development
  • Volunteer Coordination

Employers

  • Public welfare agencies
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Private social service agencies
  • Group homes
  • Religiously affiliated organizations
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers

Strategies

  • Social services are designed to provide support for poor, disabled, ill, elderly, or juvenile clients.
  • Volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, battered women homes, literacy programs, or other social service agencies to gain relevant experience and demonstrate interest.

Criminal Justice / Corrections

Areas

  • Counseling/Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Youth Services
  • Victim Assistance

Employers

  • Prisons and correctional facilities
  • Courts
  • Police departments
  • Probation and parole offices
  • Victim services organizations

Strategies

  • Human services workers in corrections focus on rehabilitating clients and assisting victims.
  • Obtain experience by volunteering at a corrections facility or a victim services organization such as a rape crisis center.

Gerontology

Areas

  • Advocacy
  • Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Programming
  • Public Policy

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing and retirement homes
  • Senior centers
  • Hospice

Strategies

  • Gerontology involves working with older adults, healthy or ill, and their families.
  • Become involved with programs or organizations designed for senior citizens.

Child Welfare

Areas

  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Service Coordination

Employers

  • Public or private child welfare agencies
  • Adoption agencies
  • Foster care organizations
  • Day care centers and nursery schools
  • Recreational facilities (i.e., YMCA or YWCA)
  • Head Start programs

Strategies

  • Child welfare workers strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children through interventions and programming.
  • Volunteer at day care centers, children's shelters, camps, YMCA/YWCA, Scouts, or other agencies that aid youth and children. Take additional courses in child development or early childhood education.

Developmental Disabilities

Areas

  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Policy Development
  • Rehabilitation

Employers

  • Community residential homes
  • State and local agencies
  • Medical facilities
  • Mental health organizations
  • Schools
  • Employment agencies
  • Vocational Rehabilitation

Strategies

  • Human services workers specializing in this area help people with disabilities to adjust to and lead productive lives.
  • Volunteer at special needs camps, child care centers, schools, or hospitals to gain experience. Gain experience with and knowledge of a variety of disabilities.
    Obtain specialized training in areas such as sign language or assistive technology for additional opportunities. Earn a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling for opportunities in Vocational Rehabilitation.

Health Care

Areas

  • Case Management
  • Counseling
  • Program Development
  • Administration
  • Rehabilitation

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Community health centers
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Public health programs
  • Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
  • Nursing homes
  • Group homes
  • Hospice

Strategies

  • Human services workers in health care facilitate the medical and emotional treatment of patients.
  • Volunteer in health related settings such as hospitals or the American Red Cross to gain experience. Supplement curriculum with course work in nursing or health.
    Complete appropriate prerequisites for entrance into professional programs such as occupational therapy, physician's assistant, or physical therapy.

Administration

Areas

  • Management
  • Policy Development
  • Planning

Employers

  • Family service agencies
  • Child welfare departments
  • Social service agencies
  • State mental health departments
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Probation departments
  • Public interest groups
  • Local, state, and federal government

Strategies

Administrators are involved with planning, budgeting, public relations, management, fund raising, and other crucial operating responsibilities that keep an organization functioning. Obtain a master's degree in social work or related field for additional opportunities. Gain management experience through internships, part-time employment, or leadership in relevant student organizations. Supplement curriculum with course work in areas such as public relations, advertising, accounting, or management.

Education

Areas

  • Teaching
  • Interpreting
  • Case Management
  • Student Affairs

Employers

  • Universities and colleges
  • Public (K-12) school systems
  • Private (K-12) school systems
  • Human service agencies
  • Private learning centers
  • Free-lance tutors or consultants

Strategies

Human services graduates working in education focus on providing instruction for a wide range of students including children with disabilities as well as adult community members. Learn American Sign Language and manually coded forms of English for specialized opportunities. Volunteer in schools or programs that serve disabled children. Obtain appropriate teacher licensure for public school teaching opportunities. Earn a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, mental health counseling, school counseling, social work, or college student personnel. Seek campus leadership positions such as peer mentor or resident assistant. Obtain a doctorate degree for teaching and research opportunities in colleges and universities.

Business and Industry

Areas

  • Human Resources
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Public Relations
  • Corporate Giving
  • Development
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Financial Counseling

Employers

  • Business firms in various industries
  • Developers of educational products
  • National foundations and associations

Strategies

Graduates of human services programs may apply their skills and knowledge in the private sector of business and industry.

Earn a minor in business or related field. Develop computer skills particularly with spreadsheets, databases, word processing, and desk top publishing.
Gain experience through part-time jobs, summer jobs, and internships in business environments.

General Information

  • A bachelor's degree in human services prepares individuals for entry-level positions in the helping professions.
  • A master's degree in counseling, social work, occupational therapy, or related field, in addition to appropriate professional licensure, is usually necessary to provide therapy and for advancement to supervisory or administrative positions.
  • Complete practicum experiences and internships to determine suitability for the helping professions and to gain exposure to various practice settings and clients.
  • Candidates should possess empathy for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an interest in social change.
  • Gain experience with a diverse range of clients and client systems including individuals, families, groups, communities, and minorities.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer

** Related majors available or major offered under a different name at Niagara.