The Human Services Professional

The human services professional is an individual who is driven to succeed in helping people and organizations perform at an optimal level. The human services professional must have an array of knowledge and a skillset that helps them understand people, both as individuals and within groups. This requires knowledge of a variety of factors in human behavior. The human services worker must be familiar with human development, how culture and society impact behavior and the influence of economic structures on human behavior. The human services worker can fill a variety of roles all of which are designed to create optimal patterns for the people and organizations that the human services worker serves.

The Human services professional must be able to show competency in the following areas: Knowledge of human systems and organizations, knowledge of the conditions that are conducive to the highest functioning in human systems, Being able to identify what types of interventions will help to bring about the highest functioning in a given human system, the ability to have a strategy to implement and analyze the effectiveness of interventions, consistency in the application of appropriate interventions, having excellent process skills to both plan and implement services.

By harnessing these competencies along with personal abilities in the form of communication and planning skills, the human services professional helps their clients to reach their goals and be happier, healthier individuals and more effective organizations. The human services professional can perform this task in a variety of setting from direct service, to planning and implementation of public policy or in a clinical setting.

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How Human Service Professionals are a Service to Society

Human service professionals assist individuals, families and members of groups and communities in renew their capacity to function as individuals and in society. The human services professional also helps individuals and organizations to reach peak efficiency by implementing interventions and services that help to ensure peak performance. Human service begins with an understanding of how interactions between individuals and groups or organizations impact the individual and help or harm their functioning and abilities to attain goals. Working with individuals or groups, human service professional’s work with individuals to understand and optimize their capabilities, ability to cope and problem solving skills to maximize their effectiveness. By helping the individual or organization implement structural changes through interventions and services the human services professional creates an environment where optimal results are most likely to occur.

Human Services Impact on Society

The impact a human services professional has on society is very significant. The impacts of the human services professional are felt throughout society from, to elder care, education, public policy planning health care and criminal justice. The human services professional performs a variety of critical services that makes the individuals and organizations they impact operate at a more efficient, healthier and safer level. The entire community benefits from the tremendous impact of the human services professional.

Types of Human Services Professionals:

The field of Human Services is vast and contains a wide variety of potential careers. We will briefly describe a few in order to illustrate the incredible diversity of this field.

Case Worker – Works with families who are in need of assistance to help remove any barriers they might have to their optimal functioning. This can include connecting families with resources and benefits in the community and through government or non-profit agencies to help create self-sufficiency.
Juvenile Court Liaison – Works with youth who are being processed through the justice system. The juvenile court liaison works as a liaison between the youth, the school and legal systems to help reduce the risk of recidivism and increase positive outcomes.

Child Welfare Worker – Works with families to create safe and healthy home environments with an emphasis on keeping families together. The safety of the child is the focus of the child welfare worker and is the primary consideration as any interventions or services are implemented.

Public Policy Analyst – The public policy analyst works to research, plan and implement public policies to increase the health, safety and economic functioning of the community.

Drug and Alcohol Counselor – The drug and alcohol counselor works with those who have substance abuse issues and their families. The goal it promote healthy outcomes by planning and implementing interventions and services for both the individual and their family to help heal from substance abuse and return the individual to society in a productive capacity.

Child Life Specialist – The child life specialist works with children and families of children who have chronic or acute health conditions that require extensive medical treatments. Through a variety of counseling and educational methods, the child life specialist helps the child cope with the sometimes invasive and challenging procedures of modern medicine to increase healthy outcomes and sense of well-being for both the child and their family.

There are many more careers in human services, and as you can see the field of possibilities is extremely diverse.

Education Necessary to Join the Human Services – Work Force

Most positions in human services require at least a 4-year degree and in some cases additional schooling is required. A bachelor of human services gives the student a solid foundation upon which to build additional knowledge and expertise in the field.

Bachelor in Human Services

bachelor’s degree in Human Services or Human Services Leadership  is usually required for many entry-level positions in this sector. By earning a bachelor’s degree the student will learn a variety of foundational knowledge and understanding about human development and human needs. With this degree the student will be prepared to immediately step into many entry level positions in direct services. By learning about the different environmental conditions that impact human development and help or hinder optimal functioning the human services student will gain an understanding of how to create the conditions necessary to achieve best case outcomes for the groups or organizations they work with.

Master in Human Services

A Master’s degree in Human Services will give the student an advanced understanding of their field. By providing an in-depth knowledge base about human services, the program prepares the student for work at the most advanced levels in the field. Earning a Master’s in Human Services can also be a step towards teaching human services in academia.

Working in higher education can include jobs such as higher education counseling and student affairs administration among other positions within the bureaucracy of the college or university. This degree will allow the student to have the maximum number of employment possibilities in the field of human services.

Range of Salary by Degree Level for Human Services Professionals

The salary ranges for human services professional varies greatly some examples based on specialty are listed below:

  • For Social and Human Service Assistants, the annual median Income is $37,610.
  • For Child, Family and School Social Worker, salaries range from a median of $48,500 to $65,380.
  • For Medical Social Workers, the annual median pay is $70,890
  • The average salary for Social and Community Service Manager on a nationwide basis is $97,410

Job Outlook for Human Services

According to the BLS employment for human service professionals is expected to grow by 25 percent in the decade 2010 to 2020. This is faster than the average for all occupations the BLS tracks. This growth is predicated on increased demand for health care and social services.

The demographic shift of baby boomers aging will result in increased demand for geriatric services and social services accessed by retirees. Growth will vary by specialty.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Human Services Professional Assistants reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed May 2023.