Human Services Education in Iowa

Iowa is part of the heartland of America and has both rural and urban centers that have need of human services workers who want to give back to their community. Iowa needs human services workers in its hospitals, its universities, its school system, its mental health system and its government and non-profit agencies. Iowa has many needs that only a well-educated human services worker can provide. Whether it is in the form of private mental health practices or eligibility workers helping people get Medicaid coverage, you can give back to your community in Iowa by being a human services worker.

Few decisions in life have such far reaching consequences as your choice of careers. Therefore, this choice is one that deserves a lot of careful study and thinking. We here at are dedicated to bringing together lots of information to help in your decision making process. Our career overview section will give you information about some of the most common careers in human services. From job descriptions, impact on society, salary ranges to educational and licensure requirements we have a host of information that will help you make an informed decision. Below we will give you a few examples of some career choices based on your level of educational attainment.

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Once you have earned your Bachelor’s degree from an Iowa university or college human services program, you will be able to apply for one of following careers in Iowa:

  • Licensed Social Worker (Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE accredited school)
    • If you want to learn about licensure laws in Iowa check out our article here:
  • Behavioral management aide (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology)
    • You will most likely find work in one of Iowa’s 350+ school districts through the Department of Education, here:
  • Probation Officer (Bachelor of Sociology, Social Work, Psychology or Criminal Justice)
    • Working as part of the Justice System you will find that your most likely employer is the Iowa State Department of Corrections, here:
  • Rehabilitation Case Worker (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology)
    • The Iowa Voc. Rehab office hires many Rehabilitation Case Workers and has more information about careers with them here.
  • Community outreach worker (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology)
    • Many different kinds of organizations and agencies have Community Outreach Workers on staff to help them connect with their communities for example the Iowa non-profit, here.
  • Case Management Aide (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology)
  • Juvenile court liaison (Bachelor of Social Work, Sociology, Psychology or Criminal Justice)
    • The Case Management Aide assists Case Workers and Eligibility Workers with a variety of tasks and are usually employed by the Department of Human Services.
  • Child Life Specialist (Bachelor of Science, Child Life Specialist)
    • Iowa has 67+ major hospitals that are looking to employ Child Life Specialists to help children and their families adjust to the stresses of treating chronic or acute medical issues that children have.
  • Gerontology Specialist (Bachelor of Science, Gerontology)
    • The best places to look for work are in Iowa’s 67+ hospitals or one of their numerous long term care facilities.
  • Iowa Substance Abuse Counselor (Bachelor of Sociology, Social Work or Psychology)
    • In order to operate legally you will need to follow the state certification process as described here.

If you decide to go on and earn your Master’s degree from an Iowa college or university, you will be able to choose a career from one of the following jobs:

  • Licensed Master Social Worker (Master of Social Work from a CSWE accredited)
  • Marriage and Family Therapist (Master’s in Counseling, Psychology or Marriage and Family Therapy)
  • Child Welfare Case Manager (Masters in Business Administration, Social Work, Psychology or Sociology)
  • Licensed Independent Social Worker (Master of Social Work from a CSWE accredited school + field experience)
  • Social and Community Service Manager (Masters in Business Administration, Social Work, Psychology or Sociology)

To maximize both your earning potential and your array of career choices you will want to continue school until you have earned your Ph.D. Once you have your doctorate you will be able to pick and choose from the jobs available in your sector. In addition to all the previously mentioned careers, you can also do things like: leading a research team, joining a management team in a human services agency, teaching your discipline at a university or opening a private practice in mental health care. While the road is long and difficult, obtaining your Ph.D. will give you tremendous opportunities to excel.

In order to start your educational journey, you must first determine what your end career goal is. By browsing our database of career overviews you can learn about the various human services jobs available and also their educational and licensure requirements. Once you have found a job that has a salary range and job description you find appealing, you can use the educational requirements section to inform you of the kind of program you will need. You can then look at our school’s section to help you find an online or Iowa based school that has an accredited program that meets your educational needs. It is a wise idea to contact your chosen school directly as different schools have different application policies. One final point to consider is to make some kind of plan for your post-graduate field experience if you wish to have a career that involves advanced licensure.