Human Services Education in California

By far the most populous state in the country, California has seemingly unlimited possibilities in the Human Services sector. With five of the 8 most populous cities in the US, California has a tremendous need for Human Services workers of all kinds. Whether you are working in an independent Psychology practice or as a School Social Worker, there are a wide variety of ways to help your fellow Californians as a Human Services worker. California has need for many kinds of Human Services and due to its large migrant and immigrant population from Mexico; it is wise to make time in your education to become fluent in Spanish. By becoming bilingual you will open many more doors of opportunity for yourself and expand the groups you can help provide services to.

Making an informed decision in your educational plans is a critical step towards realizing your career goals. While there are many different ways you can help your fellow citizens in California, having different degrees will yield very different career outcomes. For some being a Social Worker at one of California’s many hospitals might seem appealing. For others they might wish to carve their niche in independent practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Depending on your desired career you will have specific educational needs.

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Human Services professionals will find that with more advanced degrees more professional opportunities in a variety of areas become available. Whether you want to work in government, the private sector or as part of a non-profit a Human Services degree will help you to quickly find employment within the sector. The largest employer of Human Services workers in most states is the Public sector at the Federal and State levels. As part of your search for employment and understanding what kinds of jobs are available you might want to look at some of the following agencies to get a sense of what is available. One of the largest government employers of Human Services professionals is the California Department of Social Services. If you are interested in School Social Work or other avenues of working with children in one of California’s 9,846 schools, you may want to use the resource of the state’s Department of Education. At the Federal level you may find employment helping people attain housing through the California branch of the Department of Housing and Urban Development aka H.U.D.

We have compiled a database of schools, career over views including educational requirements and state licensing laws that you may find extremely useful in your decision making process. Below we have created a list of the various careers you might pursue in Human Services and their related degree requirements.

If you hold a Bachelor degree in a Human Services field, you are eligible to work in the following positions in California:

  • California Substance Abuse Counselor (Bachelor of Sociology, Social Work or Psychology)
    • Substance Abuse Counselors typically work within the private sector, but may find work within either the Justice System or through the Department of Social Services
  • Probation officer (Bachelor of Sociology, Social Work, Psychology or Criminal Justice)
  • Rehabilitation case worker (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology)
    • Here is a job description through the Department of Social Services that may be helpful in understanding this career as well as necessary experience and education.
  • Community outreach worker (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology)
    • This career is generally one that works for private organizations, non-profits or government agencies that are looking to create a dialogue with community members around a specific policy or product that the organization wants feedback on.
  • Behavioral management aide (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology)
    • Generally works with school aged children either within the school system or through private agencies.
  • Case management aide (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology)
    • This career specification from the Department of Social Services could be a useful resource for those considering this career.
  • Juvenile court liaison (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology or Criminal Justice)

With a Master’s in a Human Services field, you can qualify for the following positions. This is in addition to those listed under Bachelor’s degree (depending on field experience and licensing requirements):

  • Associate Clinical Social Worker (Master of Social Work from a CSWE accredited school)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Master of Social Work from a CSWE accredited school + field experience)
  • Child welfare case manager (Masters in Business Administration, Social Work, Psychology or Sociology)
  • Marriage and Family Therapist (Master’s in Counseling, Psychology or Marriage and Family Therapy)
  • Social and community service manager (Masters in Business Administration, Social Work, Psychology or Sociology)

For some, becoming an expert in their field of study is a goal they pursue with passion. Becoming a Ph.D. allows one tremendous opportunities in their field. From creating your own private Psychology practice, to teaching the next generation of Human Services students at one of California’s many universities and colleges, having a Doctorate means prestige and opportunity. While the road to a Ph.D. is long and challenging, it is also extremely rewarding.

All paths begin somewhere, and your journey towards the career of your dreams will start with gathering information to make an informed decision. We have created a valuable resource here at with the sole goal of helping students find the career and educational path to meet their goals. Browsing our database of job overviews along with educational and licensure requirements is one way of helping you to dial in on a career that fits your innate skills and talents. It is important to keep in mind that for many of the advanced licenses in Human Services there are not only educational requirements but also post-graduate field experience. You will need to take this into consideration when planning out your career.

Once you have decided on a career and know what education is required, you can use our database of schools to find the right accredited California college or university that meets your needs. You will want to contact your school’s registrar to find out about your schools particular application process. Keep in mind that most programs require you to apply several months in advance of when you would like to begin school. In addition to talking to your school, it is worth your time to see what student loans and grants might be offered. We wish you the best of luck in fulfilling you educational and career goals.